Brentwood NH House election result in doubt after 27 ballots found

BRENTWOOD — Twenty-seven unopened absentee ballots could tip an election in Brentwood, where the New Hampshire House of Representatives race was decided Monday by just 15 votes.

A recount conducted Thursday in Concord initially confirmed the victory of Democrat Eric Turer with 1,213 votes for the Rockingham County State House District 6 seat, surpassing incumbent Republican State Representative Melissa Litchfield’s 1,198 votes. However, an examination of the voting material by the secretary of state revealed that the 27 absentee ballots were never opened or counted.

The result, when resolved, could have an impact on which party has the majority in the House, which the Republicans have by a very narrow margin.

“Because these 27 ballots have the potential to change the outcome of this race, the Ballot Law Commission will be asked to order that these ballots be counted,” according to a statement from Secretary of State David Scanlan on Thursday.

Democrat Eric Turer and State Representative Melissa Litchfield.

Scanlan’s statement said the absentee ballot materials were sealed in boxes by Brentwood election officials and transferred to the secretary of state’s office. The 27 unopened ballots were marked “vote” on the control list and the clerk’s absentee ballot list, but the absentee ballots were not removed from the envelopes, cast or counted.

Anna Fay, a spokeswoman for the secretary of state, said the office does not know at this time why the ballots were not removed from their envelopes.

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