Eight of the 16 requested recounts in New Hampshire’s general elections have been completed, and thus far not a single outcome has changed.
On Thursday, two state representative races were recounted. The first – Rockingham 7 – took nearly 6 hours and ended with a strange result by N.H. recount standards.
Julius Soti originally finished fourth in the race, earning the final State Rep seat for Windham, the sole town in the district. He bested Democrat Kristi St. Laurent by just 24 votes.
But during the hand recount, the numbers changed drastically, with each Republican candidate gaining around 300 votes. Soti gained 297, Bob Lynn gained 303, Rep. Charles McMahon gained 298, and Rep. Mary Griffin gained 299. The Secretary of State, Bill Gardner, surmised this was likely due to a human error in either adding the totals on election night or transcribing the final results in their remittance to the Secretary of State’s office.
Kristi St. Laurent eventually lost 99 votes on the recount, while her three fellow Democrat candidates gained 21, 28, and 18.
In the end, Julius Soti held on to the fourth spot and final spot, his victory margin growing from 24 to 420.
Per the Secretary of State, New Hampshire law allows for only one recount in any given race. If a candidate wishes to challenge the results further, they would have to file an appeal with the Ballot Law Commission. Gardner says that it’s possible the Commission could mandate a second hand recount to reconcile results.
The second Thursday recount was for the State Representative seat for Strafford-7, a Rochester ward. Republican Harrison deBree was down 10 votes heading into the afternoon. Representative Timothy Fontneau (D-Rochester) held on to his seat with a final victory margin of just four votes. deBree picked up 7 through the recount while Fontneau gained one. The final tally was 1409-1405.
Previous recount results include:
–Wednesday, the state completed the final Senate recount – District 12 – where former Senator Kevin Avard (R-Nashua) held an 805 vote lead over Senator Melanie Levesque (D-Brookline).
Avard prevailed 17,534 to 16,729 after both gained 57 votes in the process, leaving the margin unchanged.
State Representative Joshua Adjutant (D-Bridgewater) fended off a recount challenge from Kendall Hughes (R-Grafton) for the seat representing Merrimack County District 17, leaving the current House makeup at 213 GOP – 187 Dem, with 9 recounts to go. The final numbers will be updated here on Thursday morning after the Secretary of State’s office updates the totals online.
Tuesday saw a second state Senate race recount. Denise Ricciardi (R-Bedford), the first time candidate for Senate, originally prevailed over Senator Jeanne Dietsch (D-Peterborough) by 409 votes. Half-way through the recount, Senator Dietsch canceled the hand tally after Ricciardi grew her margins in both Dietsch’s home town of Peterborough and Ricciardi’s hometown of Bedford.
In Merrimack House District 17, Dennis Soucy (R-Concord) requested a recount after falling 193 votes short on election day. After hand recounting, both candidates picked up seven votes apiece. Rep. Sofia Wazir (D-Concord) will keep her seat for the ’21-’22 session with a final margin of 193 votes, 1209 to 1016.
On Monday, Gary Daniels (R-Milford) affirmed his victory over Shannon Chandley (D-Amherst) for state Senate District 11. Prior to the recount, Daniels led by 198 votes, 17,457 to 17,259. After recounting all four towns over 8 hours, Daniels prevailed by 159 votes, 17,493 to 17,334.
In most recounts, ballots are counted that machines missed – ballots on which voters placed an ‘X’ over the circle, used another marking style, or circled the names of their preferred candidates. The machines, which are very reliable in New Hampshire, miss these un-ordinary markings.
Daniels picked up 36 new votes and Chandley picked up 75, but the final result remained the same.
Nashua’s Ward 7 recount results did not change either, with Charlie Hall (R-Nashua) only gaining 3 on Melbourne Moran Jr. (D-Nashua.) Moran Jr. was victorious by 18 votes on the final tally for the third State Rep. seat in that district 1,805 to 1,787.
The remaining recounts are, as scheduled:
Friday, November 13, 2020
9:00 a.m. – State Representative – Hillsborough District 15
9:00 a.m. – State Representative – Hillsborough District 19
1:00 p.m. – State Representative – Hillsborough District 16
Monday, November 16, 2020
9:00 a.m. – State Representative – Sullivan District 9
2:00 p.m. – State Representative – Merrimack District 20
Tuesday, November 17, 2020
9:00 a.m. – State Representative – Hillsborough District 4
2:00 p.m. – State Representative – Sullivan District 2
Wednesday, November 18, 2020
9:00 a.m. – Executive Council District 5