by Ed Naile

Last Wednesday I went to State Archives on Fruit St. for the Executive Council/Dave Wheeler recount. When Dave calls, I go. That’s my motto.

For three hours or more about 40 people were packed elbow to elbow for the Kabuki Recount Theater. We all had to wear masks and had a security check at a back door for forehead temperature.

So, in we go and watch the video paper shuffle.

After the inevitable outcome, (Dave still won) I went to the Red Apple Buffet in Concord to stave off starvation. Upon entering, a young lady at the front desk asked me to write down a name and phone number. I did as I was asked. I wrote down a name and phone number. Whoever collects, and possibly reads these mandatory lists is in for a treat.

Back to Fruit St. and Kabuki Recount Theater.

I went outside to the parking for a bit and collected photos of the out-of-state registered cars.

My, my, a lot of people were interested in this recount.

There were cars from: the federal government – P7915818, Utah, New York, Virginia, Wisconsin, Ct., Alabama, and a small pickup from Alaska.

But no one collected a “list” of people and their phone numbers, attending the recount? What good is having all these people in the same room sharing air if you don’t create a list – especially out of state attendees?

This means a struggling Chinese buffet in Concord would be subject to intense scrutiny if someone says they caught COVID-19 after eating at the buffet. There were way less customers at the buffet than the recount.

On the other hand…

Politically active individuals attending the Kabuki Recount Theater were free to possibly go home “unlisted” for Thanksgiving, unburdened by the thought they would get caught crossing state lines, possibly infected from a packed house of activists in Concord, NH.

One other thing that always gets my attention…

While most everyone was crowded around some screens looking at contested ballots a gentleman from Archives was adding up the tally sheets on a single computer screen under the watchful eyes of about four people.

This where a simple mistake in addition can change everything in a close recount.

Next to the guy adding up the tally sheets from each recount station was Secretary of State Bill Gardner – on the phone. On the phone? Was this a call from or to someone inside the Kabuki Recount or to or from an outside recipient?

Beats me.

Gardner seemed intent on watching the guy adding up the tally sheets.

Maybe it was Bill Gardner ordering a pizza?

If Bill Gardner was calling the press with results, let’s say, I would hope a call like that was public – so no mistakes would be made.

I would have liked the opportunity ask, under RSA-91A for a copy of the public list taken in a public place. You know in advance the answer to that one by now.

As usual, I am probably barking up the wrong trees.

There are most likely really, really, good reasons for letting out-of-state recount observers take off for home after a close contact meeting in a public building and making private calls smack dab in the most crucial part of a Kabuki Recount.

In twenty years of observing NH elections I have heard all kinds of plausible answers. Some of them occasionally make sense.