(CNN)A local clash over the audit of state legislative vote totals in a New Hampshire town of 14,000 has turned into one of the flashpoints in the attempts of former President Donald Trump and his supporters to cast doubt on the outcome of the 2020 election.
The stakes, in terms of election outcomes, are low: A recount found that decades-old machines in Windham, a town north of Boston, undercounted votes for four Republican state legislative candidates by about 300 votes and showed 99 more votes for a Democratic candidate than had actually been cast. However, the four Republicans still won the seats they sought, and the Democrat lost.
The episode in Windham — which erupted into a battle over how an audit is conducted and who is hired to perform it — has illustrated how Trump and his supporters are seizing on every possible opening to falsely claim that the 2020 presidential election’s outcome was tainted by widespread fraud.
Corey Lewandowski, the one-time Trump campaign manager and Windham resident, said at an event with proponents of the audit recently that he has discussed the town’s audit with Trump.
“This isn’t just about the town of Windham,” he said. “We’re seeing things take place across this entire country.”
Trump himself soon weighed in, after his supporters packed into a town selectman meeting to finalize the selection of an auditor for the state legislative races.
In a statement earlier this month, he congratulated “the great Patriots of Windham, New Hampshire for their incredible fight to seek out the truth on the massive Election Fraud which took place in New Hampshire and the 2020 Presidential Election.”
Why audit Windham’s results
The discrepancy came in a race for the state legislature in which the top-four finishing candidates would win seats. All four Republican candidates won, but Democrat Kristi St. Laurent finished in fifth by just 24 votes and requested a recount.
That recount, conducted in mid-November, revealed an alarming result: The four Republicans should have each had about 300 more votes, and St. Laurent should have received 99 less votes.
In a statement following the recount, the town of Windham said that what happened “is not obvious.” It said its vote-counting machines have been in use since the mid-1990s and were last updated in 2010.
“There is a significant human element in conducting New Hampshire elections, and a simple human error impacting the count one way or the other cannot be ruled out. However, jumping to conclusions of what caused the disparity at this point is mere speculation and conjecture,” the town said at the time.
Lawmakers passed and Republican Gov. Chris Sununu signed a measure in April authorizing the audit of Windham’s results. At the time, Sununu insisted that it
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