ALL Diebold, ALL the Time - It's the NH Primary
It's the New Hampsnhire Primary
"1st in the Nation" with Corporate Controlled,
Secret Vote Counting
Introduction. The more things stay the same, the worse they smell
- By Michael Collins - "Scoop" Independent News - Washington, D.C.
Tomorrow's New Hampshire primary represents a major turning point in the presidential primaries. We've got the rising star of Obama, the stunned Clinton camp, and the populist efforts of the fast moving Democrat, John Edwards, just off a 9% increase in the national polls. At this juncture, the Republican race is less compelling unless you happen to be John McCain or Mitt Romney.
Does Obama's highly favorable corporate media image stack up against reality? Is this the end of Hillary, or at least the beginning of the end? Can Edwards kick in the door with a strong showing and demand coverage? Will Ron Paul embarrass Giuliani by edging him out for fourth?
We'll never know for sure.
Why? It's been nearly eight years since the debacle of Florida and nearly six since the miracle Chambliss win against Cleland. Surely we have reliable, verifiable voting systems in place? It's been almost four years since the nationwide disaster of the 2004 election with irregularities still emerging.
Hasn't all this been fixed?
You'd think so. But, the answer is definitely no. Votes are still taken by voting machines produced by vendors highly sympathetic to the Republican Party. The machines are still off limits to those who want to examine how they operate and observe real vote counting. And good luck if your candidate loses and there's fraud or voting machine problems suspected.
You're out of luck. You can't hire outside experts to look at the mission critical software in the optical scanners (Sec. 1.5). You'll have a great deal of difficulty examining the paper records with voter marked choices. Don't count on seeing any recounts either. Almost all the states have high hurdles before you can request and get one of these simple verification tools (See Appendix 2).
Even with a relatively accommodating state like New Hampshire, only candidates can request a recount, but recounts are almost unheard of in presidential primaries. Citizens are not allowed to request and get recounts in the "granite state."
We may have 'paper records' with the paper forms counted by New Hampshire's optical scan voting machines, all made by Diebold. We surely don't have access to those forms unless there's a recount. The presence of 'paper records' with optical scans means nothing if citizens can't examine them directly; if citizens can't request and get a recount quickly. It's all in the hands of the candidates and parties despite the fact that the election belongs to the citizens.
Here's voting rights activist Nancy Tobi with an incredibly succinct analysis of New Hampshire's primaries and the 81% of votes counted by Diebold optical scanners.
NH: "1st in the nation" with corporate controlled secret vote counting
81% of New Hampshire ballots are counted in secret by a private corporation named Diebold Election Systems (now known as "Premier Election Systems"). The elections run on these machines are programmed by one company, LHS Associates, based in Methuen, MA. We know nothing about the people programming these machines, and we know even less about LHS Associates. We know even less about the secret vote counting software used to tabulate 81% of our ballots. People like to say "but we use paper ballots! They can always be counted by hand!"
But they're not. They're counted by Diebold. Only a candidate can request a hand recount, and most never do so. And a rigged election can easily become a rigged recount, as we learned in Ohio 2004, where two election officials were convicted of rigging their recount. (Is it just a funny coincidence that Diebold spokesman is named Mr. Riggall?)
We need to get the count right on election night. Right now, nobody in New Hampshire, except the programmers at LHS Associates and Diebold Election Systems, knows if we are getting it right or wrong. Our state officials and representatives know this. They learned all about it when computer security specialists Harri Hursti and Bruce Odell testified before the legislative subcommittee on e-voting in September 2007 (Hursti's testimony is shown in this video). Scientific reports about the vulnerabilities and risks with Diebold optical scanners have been available since 2003.
We love our state. It takes courage and strength to admit where we are going wrong and to fix it. May our state officials and representatives find that courage and strength soon. Before we lose the other 19% of our votes.
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Appendix 2: Recount Triggers
Below find a summary of the electionline.org survey (p. 3) on recounts across the country.
Candidate-initiated recounts: Losing candidates: 14 states, recounts only if race is very close; 25 states, requests allowed whatever outcome, usually with a cost per ballot.
Voter-initiated recounts: In 11 states, voter requests honored for candidates or ballot initiatives. In 7 states, voter requested recounts for ballot initiatives only.
Close election: 16 states have automatic recounts when the race is within 1%.
Automatic recounts: California, Kentucky, New York and West Virginia sample a small percent of ballots to check voting machines.
No recount provisions: Hawaii and Mississippi. Depends on litigation.