HB554 (2020) Detail

Relative to the duty of the moderator to verify the device count.










AN ACT relative to the duty of the moderator to verify the device count.


SPONSORS: Rep. DesMarais, Carr. 6; Rep. Porter, Hills. 1; Rep. Huot, Belk. 3; Rep. W. Pearson, Ches. 16; Rep. Belanger, Hills. 27; Rep. Marsh, Carr. 8; Sen. Hennessey, Dist 5; Sen. Bradley, Dist 3


COMMITTEE: Election Law






This bill authorizes a moderator to conduct a verification count of machine-counted ballots.


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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.






In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Nineteen


AN ACT relative to the duty of the moderator to verify the device count.


Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:


1  New Sections; Duty of Moderator to Verify the Device Count.  Amend RSA 659 by inserting after section 60 the following new sections:

659:60-a  Authority of Moderator to Verify the Device Count.

I.  The moderator may, at his or her discretion, conduct a verification count of ballots processed in one or more federal or statewide races or constitutional questions by one or more electronic ballot counting devices used in his or her jurisdiction.  The verification count shall be conducted publicly in accordance with RSA 659:63 and following the procedures in RSA 659:64 through 659:67 and RSA 659:69.  After the polls are closed, but before the results are announced in accordance with RSA 659:70 and in a time frame consistent with RSA 659:75, the moderator shall publicly and randomly select at least one electronic ballot counting device in use for at least 90 percent of the time on election day and in at least one contested federal or statewide election or constitutional question for inclusion in the verification count.  If there is only one ballot counting device in use in the district over which the moderator has jurisdiction, that device shall be used.  If no device was in use at least 90 percent of the time at the polling place, then combined devices totaling at least 90 percent usage shall be included in the verification count.  All ballots tallied by the electronic ballot counting device that is randomly selected for the verification count shall be segregated in a box or boxes provided by the secretary of state.  

II.  The moderator, with his or her assistants and with the aid of the selectmen and clerk, in open meeting, shall visually inspect each ballot counted by the electronic ballot counting device and count the number of votes cast for each candidate for the selected federal or statewide office or constitutional question.  The moderator shall then compare the verification vote count with the vote count generated by the electronic ballot counting device.  

III.  If the moderator finds discrepancies between the electronic ballot count device count and the verification count, the moderator shall announce the results of both the verification count and the electronic ballot counting device count and shall direct the clerk to use the verification count when completing the election return.  The clerk shall inform the candidates for the office involved of the discrepancies identified, and the candidates shall have the opportunity to request a recount under RSA 660.  The moderator shall report discrepancies greater than one percent to the secretary of state.

IV.  After the completion of the verification counts, the ballots shall be sealed and transported to the clerk for storage in accordance with RSA 659:95.

V.  The secretary of state shall develop a procedure for investigating discrepancies, oversee the investigation of discrepancies reported under paragraph III, and, if necessary to address the reason for the discrepancy, review the contents of the memory cards used during the vote count for the office or constitutional question.  The secretary of state shall determine if changes in the ballot design, the voting instructions, or the electronic ballot counting device programming are needed to remedy the identified discrepancies, and shall publicly report and publish on the department of state's website the results of the investigation and provide a copy of the report to the standing committees of the house and senate with jurisdiction over election law and to the attorney general for consideration of possible legal action.  Investigations and reports conducted pursuant to this paragraph shall be completed within 90 days of the election.

VI.  No person who is disqualified under RSA 658:24 or RSA 659:58 from the handling of marked ballots and the counting of votes shall be eligible to participate in the verification count.

659:60-b  Role of City Clerk.  In a jurisdiction overseen by a city clerk, the city clerk shall perform the duties assigned to the moderator under RSA 659:60-a, and the ballot counting device to be verified shall be randomly selected from all ballot devices in use under the jurisdiction of the city clerk.

2  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.


HB554 at GenCourtMobile
HB554 Discussion

Action Dates

Date Body Type
Jan. 29, 2019 House Hearing
Feb. 12, 2019 House Exec Session
Oct. 31, 2019 House Exec Session

Bill Text Revisions

HB554 Revision: 7476 Date: Jan. 15, 2019, 1:06 p.m.


Date Status
Jan. 3, 2019 Introduced 01/03/2019 and referred to Election Law HJ 3 P. 19
Jan. 29, 2019 Public Hearing: 01/29/2019 11:30 am LOB 308
Feb. 12, 2019 Executive Session: 02/12/2019 11:00 am LOB 308
Retained in Committee
Aug. 29, 2019 Subcommittee Work Session: 08/29/2019 01:00 pm LOB 308
Sept. 12, 2019 Subcommittee Work Session: 09/12/2019 01:00 pm LOB 307
Sept. 24, 2019 Subcommittee Work Session: 09/24/2019 10:00 am LOB 307
Oct. 31, 2019 Executive Session: 10/31/2019 11:00 am LOB 308
Committee Report: Refer for Interim Study (Vote 20-0; CC) HC 50 P. 6
Jan. 8, 2020 Refer for Interim Study: MA VV 01/08/2020 HJ 1 P. 38