FAQ on SB 109(Amended)
What does SB 109 do? SB 109 as amended, proposes to clarify moderators' authority to randomly and openly conduct a verification count of machine-counted ballots, after polls close, but prior to attesting to the accuracy of the vote. This bill provides a method for moderators to comply with the duties they take an oath to uphold in Part 2, Art. 32 of the NH Constitution, state law, and the right of the people to an accurate vote count. SB 109 as amended provides an opportunity for moderators to assure themselves and voters that the machine count is accurate.
Does SB 109 require moderators to perform a verification count? No. The moderator may, at his or her discretion conduct a verification count of machine-counted ballots.
Aren't the vote-counting machines used in NH secure from intentional or unintentional tampering? Although the actual vote-counting machines used in NH are not connected to the internet directly, the secret proprietary software programmed onto the memory cards for each election can receive undetectable, intended and unintended viruses or malware from the programming computer owned and operated by a private industry - which can then infect numerous voting machines once inserted.
Would SB 109A require multiple changes in our election laws? SB 109A is consistent with all currently existing election laws.
How does the Moderator choose which machines and which races to verify? The amended version of SB 109 states that if the moderator chooses to do a verification count, the machines and races to be counted MUST be publicly and randomly selected - such as with the roll of a die, or picked out of hat. Under the amended version, no one person, not even the moderator is free to select a particular machine or race for the verification count.
Does SB 109A change any requirements regarding "pre-election testing" of vote-counting machines? SB 109A in no way, changes any requirements with respect to "pre-election testing" as described under current law.
Who would be authorized to conduct the verification count? There are many references in current law (RSA 658:5, 658:7, 658:14, and 659:58) to the right and duty of the moderator to appoint as many election officials as deemed necessary. The assistants referred to in SB 109A would be sworn in under RSA 658:7 at which point they become election officials. Nothing in SB 109A changes any of these laws.
Does SB 109A affect voter intent on ballots? SB 109A does not address the issue of voter intent therefore, RSA 659:64 would remain the governing statute of who decides voter intent.
Is a verification count the same thing as a recount? No. RSA 660:1 through RSA 660:31 describes the process for recounts. SB 109A clearly states that candidates are free to request a recount under RSA 660 whether or not their race is involved in a randomly selected verification count. Verification counts have the potential to reduce requests for expensive recounts.