Town: No ballot review needed

  • Jaffrey's Select Board spoke to resident Deborah Sumner during Monday's meeting. Sumner was asking if the board would let her recount two races from the November 2016 election. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Thursday, March 16, 2017 6:44AM

Jaffrey’s Select Board has stood pat on its opinion to not allow a Jaffrey resident to to review ballots from the November 2016 election.

Deborah Sumner met with the Select Board on Monday to discuss the possibility of reviewing ballots from the governor and U.S. senate races from November, on the grounds that the ballot counting machines could have been tampered with. All three selectmen gave their opinion, echoing their lack of support for Sumner’s hand-count request. 

“Unless there is some reason for a recount, we will not have one,” said Select Board chair Don MacIsaac. “We have no evidence that a recount is needed.”

Sumner didn’t agree with the board’s opinion, saying the evidence of potential fraud was in the ballots, hence her reasoning for the recount. Sumner said the recount could be used as a potential deterrent to ensure that people would not attempt to mess with the voting machines. 

“When I talk to ordinary people, they understand it,” said Sumner. “It’s a computer, it’s a good idea to do a check.”

MacIsaac pointed out that the machines are checked before voting and there has been no evidence of tampering in the past. Furthermore, MacIsaac and the other selectmen took issue with Sumner’s request, saying it was built on the premise of conspiracy theories and could undermine public trust in town government. 

“I’ve never seen a reason to doubt the outcome of the computer results,” said Selectman Frank Sterling. “Anytime we’ve done a recount, things have been right on the money.”

The board accepted a $20,000 asset management planning grant after a public hearing. The grant money, which will be paired with $25,000 in town funds, will pay for an asset management plan for the town’s vertical water assets, which includes the Water Department’s facilities. 

DPW Director Randy Heglin said at the meeting that the town completed a similar study in 2014 for the Water Department’s horizontal assets, which includes the department’s infrastructure. The plan will help the department prioritize upgrades and will include a 10-year plan. The grant is a NH DES grant. 

Selectmen decided not to have any increases in the town’s water or sewer rates this year. For the past two years, the town had increased the water rates by two-percent and the sewer rates by one-percent. 

No abutters showed up for a discussion on the potential Cheshire Road discontinuance, which is a warrant article on this year’s ballot. D.D. Bean and Sons Director Mark Bean told the board that if the road isn’t discontinued, his company might not be able to get insurance on the road as the road and tunnel underneath it are in a state of disrepair. Bean said repairs would be expensive to bring the road up to snuff. 

The board met with resident Randy Christmas, who is asking the town to create a plan or policy specific to drainage. 

The board told Christmas that the Planning Board will work to create a plan or policy, but admitted that it might not be all that high on the board’s priority list at this time. 

Nicholas Handy can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or nhandy@ledgertranscript.com. He is also on Twitter @nhandyMLT.