Democrats sue New Hampshire election recount

The New Hampshire Democrat Party has filed a lawsuit to stop a recount for a statehouse seat, arguing that election results should stand even if they’re wrong.

In the lawsuit, filed Nov. 18, Democrats are seeking a permanent injunction against further scrutiny of race results between Republican Larry Gange and Democrat Maxine Mosley for one of the seats of the New Hampshire House of Representatives in Manchester, the state’s largest city .

Democrats argue that state law prohibits further scrutiny of election results once the Secretary of State has declared a winner.

“At the end of the recount, Democrat Maxine Mosley was declared the winner by the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State’s statement of Mosley’s victory was posted on the Secretary of State’s website,” the complaint reads.

Republicans called the lawsuit a desperate move by Democrats to overcome the Republican seat over the 400-seat House that emerged from the midterm elections.

“If the split were bigger than the current 200-199 House seats, I doubt there would be a lawsuit,” New Hampshire Republican Party attorney Bill O’Brien told The Epoch Times.

Democrats are already facing the loss of another seat with a recount for a Statehouse seat where candidates receive an equal number of votes. If the New Hampshire Ballot Law Commission cannot break the tie, a vote by the newly installed Legislature will decide the outcome.

O’Brien, who is a former speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, said the secretary of state never declared a winner in the race, only releasing results before a discrepancy was discovered when the secretary of state conducted an audit of the gubernatorial race in the same district .

Mosley called for the first recount after poll results showed Gagne beat her by 23 votes.

The recount gave Mosley a one-vote lead. However, when Scanlan’s office conducted an audit of the district’s gubernatorial results, Republicans found that the audit returned 25 votes that were not included in the original tally in the Gagne-Mosley race.

When the discrepancy was pointed out, Scanlan agreed that more audits of the race needed to be conducted, a conclusion that has been criticized by Democrats.

“It is unfortunate that Secretary Scanlan is clearly ignoring the New Hampshire electoral code, but we will do everything we can to protect the integrity of our elections,” Colin Booth, communications director for the New Hampshire Democratic Party, said in a statement.

The Democratic Party cites two laws that it says make the Secretary of State’s declaration of election results final, “subject to only a limited basis of appeal” to the New Hampshire Ballot Law Commission.

O’Brien said it would be unconstitutional for votes to be counted independently of any law that Democrats are arguing under. “Even if the law reads as they think it does, and even if the secretary of state announces the results and posts a winner on his website, voters still have the constitutional right to have all of their voters counted,” he said.

Senate Minority Leader Donna Soucy is named as a plaintiff in the lawsuit alongside Mosley. O’Brien said the Republican Party will file its response Nov. 21, along with a countersuit against Democrats.

The Democrats’ lawsuit was filed by Shaheen & Gordon, a law firm owned by U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s (DN.H.) husband, Bill Shaheen. Bill Christie, who is married to Democrat New Hampshire Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington, is also representing the Democratic Party in the lawsuit.

According to Scanlan’s office, the review of the election results has been postponed until Nov. 22 pending the court’s ruling on the Democrats’ motion to bar any further review of ballots in the race. The lawsuit is pending in Merrimack County Superior Court.

The issue sparked debate on social media over the weekend, with Democrats and Republicans accusing each other of damaging the integrity of the election and reviving old debates from the 2020 presidential election that many Republicans believe were the result of were electoral fraud.

Alice Giordano

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Alice Giordano is a former news correspondent for The Boston Globe, Associated Press and the New England Bureau of The New York Times.

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