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Garry Rayno: Something Smells in the Manchester Ward 6 House Race

In case you missed it, InDepthNH published a column by Garry Rayno about the Manchester Ward 6 election and the recount process that followed, in which Republican Secretary of State David Scanlan took extraordinary steps to ensure an additional recount for a Republican candidate after an initial recount flipped the seat in favor of a Democrat.

Read the full column here.

Key Excerpts:

  • The recounts for House races have a particular significance this year with a nearly evenly split House between Republicans and Democrats.

  • That Democrats did as well as they did — their candidates received more votes than Republicans — is amazing as the House is gerrymandered to favor the GOP even more than it did the last decade.

  • The sad part of this is Republicans do not need any help tilting the scale in their favor and that is what they received in the Secretary of State Dave Scanlan’s decision to “continue” the recount of Hillsborough District 16 race for two House seats.

  • Being somewhat cynical after spending more than 25 years at the State House, I wonder how and why the Ward 6 race in Manchester was selected for an audit or reconciliation which looks at the votes cast in the ward, the votes for governor, and the over votes, where a voter votes for more candidates than seats, or under votes, by not voting on one or more races on the ballot. Someone needs to answer the question.

  • She notes she does not have evidence to prove Scanlan’s presumption, but says it is reasonable and instead quotes from a 1970 state Supreme Court decision saying the will of the people voting to select their representative is more important than whether an election officer has followed all the statutes.

  • “The issue is: What is the legally expressed choice of the voters,” [Judge Ignatius] quotes from the Nickerson v. Aimo decision.

  • In other words, the Secretary of State has no legal standing to do what he is doing or did, but in the interest of free and fair election the will of the people is the final say.

  • Republicans were quick to criticize Democrats for “not wanting all the votes to be counted,” but don’t think for a minute they would have acted any differently if the results were reversed.

  • And it is clear, there was some — for lack of a better term — hanky panky to ensure the Manchester Ward 6 ballots were selected for the Hillsborough County audit after the recount results were known.

  • Ultimately the will of the Ward 6 voters will be determined, but it sure appears to be an attempt to recount the race until you get the results you want on the Republican side.

  • Voter fraud and election integrity have long been sound bites of Republicans. It may not be fraud, but there is something that does not smell right — integrity — about this situation and the smell is not emanating from the Democratic side.

  • Republicans do not want a 200-200 tie in the House because that is not to their advantage. It is far more likely a few GOP House members might be willing to join with Democrats to prevent what went on the last two years, while Democrats are not about to jump ship given the antics of the 2021-2022 Republican controlled House.

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