Derry 2016

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Deborah Sumner

Nov 1, 2016, 11:34:10 AM11/1/16

Public documents re: recent Secretary of State action taken against Derry Moderator

1. The Derry Moderator informed Town Council in mid-August that she was planning to conduct an election night hand count of the computer.

2. Audit procedure described and Audit Notice (see attached files)

3. Letter  (Sept. 12, 2016) from Deputy Secretary of State Scanlan (see attached)

4. Moderator's response of Sept. 12, 2016 (See attached)

5. Moderator's email of Sept. 14 to David Scanlan, describing results. (see attached)

6. Oct. 20, 2016 letter to Derry moderator from Secretary of State and Attorney General (see attached)

7. Union Leader article of Oct. 20, 2016

8. Informed citizen's Letter to editor

9. Keene Sentinel article of Oct. 26, 2016

10. The following communication was sent to the Attorney General (and editors of several newspapers) in an attempt to clear up the confusion about Assistant Attorney General Stephen LaBonte's response to a group of Keene citizens. It includes a legal opinion (not included here) that concludes, "Authority to audit is a function necessarily implicit in the broad responsibility placed on election moderators by existing laws, and no further law is required for the performance of that function."

Sent Oct. 31, 2016 to Trent Spiner, Executive Editor Union Leader


Re:  Derry moderator Mary Till

Below a letter just filed with the NH AG office.
I believe you will find it of interest. NH law and 2014 Election Manual clearly contradicts your recent editorial opinion criticizing Mary Till for her audit of a voting computer’s tabulations.The attached legal analysis by Peter Espiefs, Esq, further supports the legality of Ms. Till’s audit.

We here in Keene are looking forward to your corrected reporting on this issue.  It’s time we don’t take everything that may come down from the Secretary of State’s office as gospel truth.


Gerhard Bedding

Office of the Attorney General/Election Law
33 Capitol Street    Concord, NH 03301-6397
Telephone: (603) 271-3658 or 1-866-868-3703        Fax: (603) 223-6229

Dear Mr. Buonamano,
I am writing you on behalf of a large group of Keene citizens (70+ petition signatures) working toward selected hand-count audits of computer vote counts, as advised by the NH Electronic Ballot Counting Device AdvisoryCommittee, November 30, 2009: “Over the long run, public confidence relies on the state and local history of accuracy, security, transparency, and reliability in the ballot counting process. One of the most effective and least expensive ways to achieve these goals is to conduct random hand counted audits of tabulator counts immediately after the election.”  Our group includes several lawyers and former or current NH House members. One of the lawyers wrote a legal opinion which I attach to this letter. 

Public support for auditing here in Keene, as evidenced by a Sept. 10th, 2015, City Council committee meeting and several editorials in the Keene Sentinel, has been clear and strong.  After we were advised by Stephen LaBonte (March 8th, 2016) ) that the City of Keene “did not have the statutory authority” to audit, we realized that the authority for such audits lies solely with the moderators under current NH law. So, we are pursuing that avenue and count on persuading one or more moderators in Keene to audit at a future date. 

The legality of such audits by moderators is clear: RSA 659:60 and also RSA 659:63. The 2014 NH Election Manual states on p. 40: In recent elections, some moderators have been asked to conduct a second count (hand count) of certain races on election night. Moderators may use their discretion as to whether or not they will conduct such a count on election night.

Audits to verify computer tabulations have been done for many years by moderators of Amherst, Brookline, Danville, Hollis, Londonderry, and Milford with full knowledge of the Secretary of State’s office.  On Nov. 2, 2010 Assistant Attorney General Matthew Mavrogeorge wrote: “Election night hand counts are legal for any polling place, including those that have vote counting machines. …. Moderators are given significant authority to determine what procedures at their polling place are necessary to ensure an accurate count.” (Response to an email from Deborah Sumner)

Of course we were interested to hear that Derry’s moderator Mary Till had used her authority and discretion, as described in the 2014 Election Manual, to conduct an audit of one machine in the Derry primaries.  But now we are deeply concerned about the recent actions taken by the Secretary of State to deny Derry’s moderator Mary Till her clearly stated authority to verify a computer’s vote count. 
Replying to William Gardner’s claim that she conducted an illegal recount, Mary Till said: “What I did was audit one race on each ballot on one machine just to make sure the machines were working properly.”

Mary Till used the authority given to her by NH law and we here in Keene are asking you to confirm that she was fully within her right to do so. We expect a timely response from you.


Gerhard Bedding,

Audit Procedure.pdf
Audit Notice.pdf
Scanlan Letter 9:12:16.pdf
Town Moderator response to Scanlan 091216.pdf
SOS & AG letter 102016.PDF
Espiefs Statement.pdf
SB109 Written Testimony .pdf
Request for independent investigation10:19.docx
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