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Tales from the 2006 New Hampshire Recount

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From the 2006 NH Recount stories:

These days, we hear so much about flaws in our voting systems. The letter
below from Steve Spratt, candidate for NH House, about the recount process,
is very heartening. On election night, he lost to fellow Democrat Shirl
Garhart by four votes. After the recount, they tied!

To all,

I am assuming all of you know the results of yesterday's recount. Shirl and
I wound up with a tie. At the end of the proceedings a call was placed to
the Secretary of State and the response was that it was now in the hands of
the legislature.

What really counts and what made me continue to feel proud to be a resident
of New Hampshire was the manner in which the recount was handled. From my
earliest years visiting my family's home state to my last 30 plus years as a
resident I have always believed that this was a special place. Yesterday
confirmed that belief at the highest levels.

Shirl and I were treated to a process that could best be described as
honorable. We were given complete control, within the stipulated rules, in
terms of challenges, breaks, the pace and flow of the count, etc. The teams
went out of their way to accommodate our newness to the task. In between my
two long meetings today I left a message for Dave Scanlan, the Deputy
Secretary of State, thanking him for his oversight. He insured that what
could have been a confusing and angst producing day, was instead a painless
and informative one.

When we arrived we were given the rules. (no writing instruments, no
touching of the ballots, the extent to which we controlled the process,
etc.). For the rest of the day Dave walked from team to team answering
questions and making determinations where they were needed. Each team of
counters also answered any of our questions and were more than happy to
suspend the count for any reason until concerns were resolved.

All in all it was a great day to be a citizen. Given the climate we have had
to endure over the last 6 years this reminded us that there are still those
who are committed to the integrity that lies at the heart of our democracy.
As I walked down the halls during the break I couldn't help but think that
this was what it means to 'serve the people'.

I'll end on a thoughtful note. On one occasion during a pause in the
proceedings I ran to put quarters in the parking meter. Not paying attention
I turned right and wound up on the opposite side of the building from where
I had intended. Meeting two men who arrived at that location, at the same
time, I explained what I was involved in and asked if there was any place
right nearby where I could get additional quarters. Their immediate response
was to say "Right here!" as they both reached into their pockets and gave me
all the quarters they had. It is at such moments that we are reminded of why
we do what we do.

Steve Spratt

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