Judge orders Manchester Ward 6 state representative’s recount to continue

Nov. 22 – CONCORD – A judge on Tuesday granted Foreign Secretary David Scanlan’s request to continue the recount of a state representatives race at Manchester Ward 6.

Scanlan wanted to extend the recount, convinced that not all ballots had been properly checked.

In a nine-page decision, Superior Court Judge Amy Ignatius called Scanlan’s belief that a stack of 25 ballots for Republican candidates was improperly handled “a likely explanation” for the need to continue the recount.

“The greatest weight must be given to a full and lawful count of the votes cast in determining the will of the people,” wrote Ignatius.

In his first public statement on the controversy, Gov. Chris Sununu criticized the New Hampshire Democratic Party for trying to block Scanlan’s plan.

“In an effort to undermine the will of voters, NH Democrat leaders have engaged in appalling, hypocritical and outrageous behavior to prevent all legal votes from being counted. Thank you @NHSecretary Scanlan and the court for protecting the voters’ voice and the integrity of our elections,” Sununu said.

After a recount last Monday, retired school counselor Maxine Mosley defeated Republican Rep. Larry Gagne by one vote for one of two House seats at Hillsborough County House District 16.

On November 8, Gagne defeated Mosley by 23 votes.

The total for the top pick in that race, Republican Rep. Will Infantine, fell 18 votes after the recount, while Gagne received 22 votes fewer. Mosley received two votes at the recount.

The composition of the New Hampshire House according to previous counts is 200 Republicans, 199 Democrats and a tie yet to be decided.

Bill Christie, the attorney for the New Hampshire Democratic Party, had argued that if Scanlan won this case, it would lead to endless litigation over close elections in the future.

“Their assumption is they want to keep counting until the Republican wins,” argued Christie.

Ignatius said that both candidates suffered “minimal, if any” prejudice because neither took the oath of office.

“This extraordinary circumstance calls for an atypical remedy,” said Ignatius.

Colin Booth, communications director, said the New Hampshire Democratic Party was “disappointed” by the judge’s decision but encouraged that the decision shows this legal challenge is appropriate.

“One thing is clear from this decision – Secretary Scanlan acted outside the law. From the beginning, this case was about the integrity of our elections. The courts concurred with our arguments that the Secretary of State failed to comply with the statutes and exceeded his statutory authority and should not have taken the action of requiring an additional recount,” Booth said in a statement.

“That is why we are so disappointed that the Merrimack Superior Court finds this an exceptional circumstance and will now allow a second recount after the Foreign Secretary declared a winner in the Manchester Ward 6 race eight days ago.”

After last Monday’s first recount, Scanlan had declared Mosley the winner, but further reconciliation efforts by his office cast doubt on all the ballots had been accounted for during the recount.

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