New Hampshire officials insist there will not be repeat of Iowa debacle: 'You can't hack a pencil'

Election staff trained by state experts – not political parties

Andrew Buncombe
Friday 07 February 2020 19:32 GMT
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Officials in New Hampshire have sought to reassure voters there will be no repeat of the chaos that befell Iowa, even as dozens of party workers scrambled to collate and publish results from the midwestern state.

As the Iowa Democratic Party announced it was extending to next Monday the deadline for campaigns to call for a recount or recanvass of this week’s vote, officials in New Hampshire defended the integrity of their voting system ahead of Tuesday’s poll.

Speaking to the media on Thursday, the state’s attorney general, Gordon MacDonald, said the authorities would be using more than 6,000 local election workers trained by the secretary of state’s office, rather than political parties. He said on election day, inspectors from the attorney general’s office would visit each of the state’s 300-plus polling places and will have a team of lawyers on hand and a hotline for reporting problems.

“The 2020 presidential primary will take place against the backdrop of New Hampshire’s long history of conducting elections that are fair, with complete integrity, well run and with a very high level of voter participation,” he said, according to NBC News.

As officials in Iowa continued to try and get to the bottom of what precisely went wrong on Monday night, when the state Democratic party made use of an untested App to collate results and it failed to work properly, New Hampshire’s secretary of state repeated his often repeated comment, that it is impossible to “hack a pencil”.

Bill Gardner said in New Hampshire, “the voter marks the ballot with a pen or pencil. You can’t hack a pencil”.

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The state’s Democrats have also expressed confidence.

Party Chairman Raymond Buckley said in Iowa officials were seeking to obtain three different numbers.

“We’ve never had an issue with the New Hampshire primary,” he said, according to the Union Leader.

“This is our 100th year of having the primary, and if there’s ever any issue we can do a recount.”

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