WINDHAM, N.H. — Everything, even chirping crickets, is potentially suspect in the massive conspiracy
to steal Donald Trump
's 2020 election
One such insect was audibly present in an overnight video of an empty room last month during an audit of discrepancies in a town's state House
races that New Hampshire
officials were conducting, and this, according to some of the former president's ardent supporters, meant the review could not be trusted.
“We were in a locked room on a military
base with a state police
guard outside, but apparently the room is breachable if a cricket can get in,” said Kristi St. Laurent, the Democratic
candidate whose November loss triggered a recount
and a subsequent audit that has focused on a faulty ballot-folding machine that generated phantom votes
St. Laurent initially lost one of Windham's four state House seats by only 24 votes, but in the recount, Republicans
picked up some 300 votes each, while she lost 99 votes — which Trump supporters
and the former president have pointed to as yet another example of the "massive fraud" that allowed the election to be "stolen" from him.
“Congratulations to the great Patriots of Windham, New Hampshire for their incredible fight to seek out the truth on the massive Election Fraud
that occurred in New Hampshire and the 2020 Presidential Election
,” Trump wrote on May 6 on his now-defunct blog
are watching in droves as these Patriots work
tirelessly to reveal the real facts of the most tainted and corrupt Election in American history
,” Trump added.
The actual audit, however, revealed something far more mundane: creases caused by a device used to fold absentee ballots so they could fit into envelopes interfered with the vote-tabulating machines. Windham's state House races – in which voters
cast ballots for four candidates – were affected far more than other races due to the way the crease happened to fall on the ballot.
“Nothing today shows evidence of fraud. Nothing today shows evidence of digital manipulation of machines,” Harri Hursti, a Finnish computer scientist hired by state officials to participate in a three-person audit team, said on May 27. “Right now, this appears to be a case of a perfect storm where so many things happened in order to have this discrepancy.”
Hursti's analysis, which came after a painstaking two-week review that included a simulation using newly folded ballots, is not enough for Trump's supporters, who continue to raise other issues, such as why a livestream of the room where the ballots were stored went down for 90 minutes one night, and how that cricket got into the room.
“I thought the audit would clear things up, but it actually raised more questions in people’s minds,” said Bruce Breton, a Windham town selectman and Trump supporter who unsuccessfully pushed the town council to appoint a conspiracy theorist who is currently participating in Arizona
’s audit as the town’s appointee to the three-member group.
“It was literally a shell game. The audit was a disaster,” said Marylyn Todd, a Trump supporter and founder of the New Hampshire Voter Integrity Group, who volunteered as an observer for the Windham review and is now advocating for a statewide audit.
Election experts have mocked the Arizona audit for including procedures such as studying Maricopa County
ballots under UV light and attempting to determine whether they contain bamboo fibers, which is allegedly an indication that they were smuggled in from China
That hasn't stopped Trump supporters from demanding similar audits in other states
won narrowly, such as Wisconsin
, and they're planning another rally next week to demand a statewide audit in New Hampshire.
“It’s been really crazy, but then again, I’ve been feeling like I’ve been living in Maricopa County for quite some time,” Valerie Roman, chair of the Windham Democrats
“The stuff they're complaining about now is so random and ridiculous,” St. Laurent added, joking that if the ballot-folding machine had processed all of the votes in the election, not just the absentees, she might have finally won a seat in the state legislature after a half-dozen tries.