Embattled Windham Town Clerk Nicole Merrill, whose office made national headlines for what the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s office described as a “fundamentally flawed” handling of the 2020 general election, is canceling her own reelection bid just two weeks before Election Day.

According to a copy of her resignation letter obtained by NHJournal, Merrill is not seeking reelection and will be leaving office in two weeks. She cited health effects stemming from a Jan. 12 accident as a primary reason.

“After recent medical visits, testing evaluations, and self-reflection, and because of the unknown healing time associated, I do not know when I would be able to return to my full capacity, and returning too prematurely would be detrimental to my recovery,” Merrill wrote Wednesday. “Effective March 12, 2024, my current term shall end so that the town can plan accordingly.”

On Thursday, Deputy Town Clerk Hannah Davis announced she, too, will be resigning on March 12 – the same day Windham will be holding its town elections. Davis cited “intense pressure” and “lack of support given by leadership” as her reasons for leaving the post.

Neither Merrill nor Davis responded to requests for comment from NHJournal. However, several Windham elected officials told NHJournal on background many local residents still resent the officials’ handling of the 2020 election and other subsequent controversies.

“There are some people in this town who still believe it was a conspiracy,” one elected official said. “They just can’t believe it was just incompetence.”

The “conspiracy” involved a State House race in which a recount resulted in a shift of more than 300 votes for some candidates than in the original tally. Then-President Donald Trump seized upon news of the discrepancy as he attempted to make the case that the 2020 election was afflicted with widespread fraud. As a result, Windham became a central story in the post-2020 “Stop the Steal” movement.

In the end, a forensic audit found the issue was several hundred absentee ballots that had been machine-folded as part of the mailing process. “That folding machine, leased by the town for other purposes, did not fold ballots along the score lines between vote targets, where the ballots were designed to be folded,” according to the audit. “Instead, it often folded ballots through vote targets in the state representative contest, which the scanners interpreted as vote attempts a substantial fraction of the time.”

In January 2022, following a lengthy investigation into Windham’s mishandling of the 2020 general election, the state announced it would be appointing a monitor to oversee the 2022 September primary. In a sharply worded letter signed by Attorney General John Formella and then-Secretary of State William Gardner, both wrote that town officials “cut corners.”

Those shortcuts included an “uncalibrated folding machine,” resulting in miscounted ballots and the use of only six test ballots “instead of the recommended 50.”

Following the state’s announcement of an election monitor, Merrill told NHJournal she was looking forward to working with the state to address the matter. But the town’s management of the 2022 September primaries only raised more eyebrows.

The results Windham reported on election night were different from the results the town provided the Secretary of State’s office. Days later, the town reported three different totals for the same elections: one from election night, one on the town’s website, and one from the hand recounts.

“The votes they need to count are the ones that elected these [expletives] who run their elections,” one frustrated GOP state legislator told NHJournal at the time. “They’ve got to go.”

And now Merrill and Davis are going.

Town Administrator Brian McCarthy did not immediately respond to a request from NHJournal for comment. According to his administrative assistant, McCarthy is away from the office this week, which happens to be the Granite State’s school vacation week.

Merrill’s would-be opponent for reelection is Planning Board member Jennean Mason.

Her campaign motto? “Restoring Election Confidence.”