CONCORD, NH — A New Hampshire judge on Tuesday declined to prevent the secretary of state from reviewing a recount that helped bring the House of 400 closer to an even split.
Unofficial tally after Election Day showed 203 Republican winners and 197 Democrats, but the final balance of power has yet to be determined pending the recount.
In Manchester’s Ward 6, early results showed Republican MP Larry Gagne defeating Democrat Maxine Mosley by 23 votes. A recount last week gavebut Foreign Secretary David Scanlan later said the recount would continue this week as there was a discrepancy between the number of ballots counted during the recount and the ballots counted during a separate examination.
This prompted Mosley and Democratic Senate Chair Donna Soucy to file a lawsuit seeking an emergency dismissal order. But a judge denied her request Tuesday morning, ordering the state to review all votes cast in the race.
In her order, Merrimack County Superior Court Judge Amy Ignatius said Democrats have the law on their side, but that “this extraordinary circumstance requires an atypical remedy.”
“Normally the defendant does not retain the power to review a recount of an election. This matter is different from ordinary circumstances,” she wrote.
The judge cited a previous Supreme Court ruling that said the key question was not whether an election official obeyed the law, but “what was the voters’ legally expressed choice?”
“A review of the recount table is required to ensure that the expressed will of Manchester Ward 6 voters is heard and that the candidate with the most votes gets a seat,” Ignatius said.
Democrats had argued that Scanlan declared Mosley the official winner after the recount and that state law only allows a second recount if an audit shows an error of more than 1%, which was not the case here. Scanlan argued that he had ordered a “continuation of the count” and not a “recount” and that the announced vote counts would not be official until all reconciliation efforts were completed.
Republican New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu released a statement following the verdict.
In an attempt to undermine the will of Manchester Ward 6 voters, the New Hampshire Democratic leaders have engaged in appalling, hypocritical and outrageous behavior to prevent all legal votes from being counted. I thank Minister Scanlan and the Court for protecting the integrity of our elections and ensuring that voters’ voices are heard fully.
Control of the House of Representatives has changed in six of the last nine elections, most recently in 2020 when Republicans won a 26-vote majority.