General News

At the NH Recount: Holes Hidden In Plain Sight

By (about the author)     Permalink
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com

Become a Fan
  (5 fans)
Posted on Sunday, January 20, 2008 - 5:50 am:

Edit Post

Delete Post View Post/Check IP Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)


The "seals" are not seals. The "chain of custody" is not a chain of custody. Ballots being transported by the "state police" are actually transported by Butch and Hoppy, who are not employed by the state police. Butch and Hoppy's real names are not really Butch and Hoppy.

In New Hampshire, it's all hidden in plain sight.

If you are on the home page of Black Box Voting, click "more" to see a brief photo essay for how this all works.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bev Harris
Board Administrator
Username: Admin


Post Number: 7518
Registered: 12-2004

Best of Black Box? N/A
Votes: 0 (A keeper?)

Posted on Sunday, January 20, 2008 - 5:54 am: Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

"Butch" and "Hoppy"



"Butch" is on the left, "Hoppy" is on the right.

This is the van that "Butch" and "Hoppy" drive. These two men pick up all the ballots in New Hampshire from more than 230 locations and bring them to one central location for the recount.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bev Harris
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 7519
Registered: 12-2004

Best of Black Box? N/A
Votes: 0 (A keeper?)

Posted on Sunday, January 20, 2008 - 5:58 am: Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

They are followed by a single state trooper.




"Butch" has a real name: Armand Dubois. He doesn't like to be photographed and in video after video, he ducks out of the shots. He wears a baseball cap and dark glasses. At one point he said "you're taking a picture of me?"

Perhaps he's shy, but this is an evaluation of chain of custody, which includes knowing the names and background for people who ride around the state inside a van containing the ballots for the presidential primary election.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bev Harris
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 7520
Registered: 12-2004

Best of Black Box? N/A
Votes: 0 (A keeper?)

Posted on Sunday, January 20, 2008 - 6:04 am: Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

According to "Butch", the real name for "Hoppy" is Peter, but we do not yet know the last name. "Hoppy" is not camera shy, but we would like to know his real name and background. (Do not post personal or speculative information here. It will be removed. E-mail privately to crew@blackboxvoting.org )



"Hoppy"



aka "Peter"
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bev Harris
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 7521
Registered: 12-2004

Best of Black Box? N/A
Votes: 0 (A keeper?)

Posted on Sunday, January 20, 2008 - 6:05 am: Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

If photos appear as broken link, right-click and choose "show picture" -- this is a timing issue with our forum software and some computers and connections may experience this problem. Right click, show picture. That solves it.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bev Harris
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 7522
Registered: 12-2004

Best of Black Box? N/A
Votes: 0 (A keeper?)

Posted on Sunday, January 20, 2008 - 6:44 am: Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Ballots are contained in a variety of cardboard boxes, with a few metal boxes thrown in from certain parts of Manchester. The New Hampshire secretary of state's office, which provides the labels for the boxes and provides the ballots for all the towns, claims they leave the decision up to the towns as to how to secure their ballots.



When people ask about the security of using old, used cardboard boxes to transport and store the official ballots for the presidential primary election, New Hampshire state officials quickly frame the issue as one of "frugality" and paint the problem over with rustic charm.



That doesn't address the problem. The random nature of the boxes enables both accidental and deliberate chain of custody breaches.

If the state of New Hampshire can provide the ballots and tell the towns what labels to use, they can tell them what container to store ballots in, or at the very least, publish guidelines for this.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bev Harris
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 7523
Registered: 12-2004

Best of Black Box? N/A
Votes: 0 (A keeper?)

Posted on Sunday, January 20, 2008 - 7:02 am: Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Originally, the ballots were to be delivered to the state archive warehouse without notification to the public as to when they would arrive, and without permitting the public to photograph or videotape the ballot intake process.

The team assembled by Black Box Voting objected to this and insisted on public access to view the incoming ballot boxes and the intake process. We prevailed, at least temporarily.

So they have been bringing the ballots in the front door, taking them through the counting room, out the back door, through the electronically key-coded door into the archive warehouse, down the hall inside the key-carded warehouse, placing them in what they call a "vault" which is actually a small room with a lock that can be opened by a single key.


Ballots being transported from "vault" to counting room

Other items besides ballots have been kept in the "vault" as well:



Items left in ballot vault after transporting ballots, held in "vault" overnight, to the counting room.

Two other observations about the state archive warehouse:

They use the same bar code identification system for all items.

There are no windows and no way to observe what is going on in the warehouse. It has two loading bays in addition to the electronically key-carded door, and the counted ballots are NOT stored in the "vault" but rather, on shelves like all the other documents. Here is a photo of the loading bays:



As ballots are being transported back and forth to the warehouse "vault" and being counted in the counting room, boxes are being loaded and unloaded from the loading bay behind the building.



Shelves inside warehouse.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bev Harris
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 7524
Registered: 12-2004

Best of Black Box? N/A
Votes: 0 (A keeper?)

Posted on Sunday, January 20, 2008 - 7:10 am: Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Ballot boxes photographed while being removed from the "vault":





Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bev Harris
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 7525
Registered: 12-2004

Best of Black Box? N/A
Votes: 0 (A keeper?)

Posted on Sunday, January 20, 2008 - 7:19 am: Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Secretary of state Bill Gardner has several assistant and deputy secretaries of state. The assistant secretary of state in charge of ballots and ballot chain of custody is David Scanlan.

Here is David Scanlon (far end) moving a ballot cart with state archive employee Brian Burford.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bev Harris
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 7526
Registered: 12-2004

Best of Black Box? N/A
Votes: 0 (A keeper?)

Posted on Sunday, January 20, 2008 - 7:25 am: Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Ballot box closeups:











Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bev Harris
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 7527
Registered: 12-2004

Best of Black Box? N/A
Votes: 0 (A keeper?)

Posted on Sunday, January 20, 2008 - 8:04 am: Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The box below was shipped from the secretary of state TO the town clerk. The pinkish label is a shipping lable and so is the label next to it saying "deliver to":



The rebuttal provided by state and archive employees to concerns about the particular slit shown above is that the label on the top is the only thing that counts.

I'll post a closeup photo of the top label further down. On the top label are the signatures of the selectmen and information about location and information about the ballots inside.

I chose the above photo because it provides a clear image of the SHIP TO labels and also shows the label on the box top that is said to secure the ballot box. I cannot tell from this photo whether the clear tape is on top of that label or underneath it, but let's give the benefit of the doubt and assume the label on top is further secured with clear plastic tape.

This is not a chain of custody. There is absolutely no way for any observer to tell whether the clear plastic tape (if it's over the top label) was affixed on the night of the election, by the town clerk after the election, by Butch and Hoppy or a person they met enroute, or in the vault in the middle of the night.

It is easy to get distracted with off-topic questions like "are you accusing Butch and Hoppy?" or to take at face value someone's statement that the tape was put there on election night.

THAT IS NOT A CHAIN OF CUSTODY.

The only item that even remotely resembles a chain of custody is the signed label on the top of the box. Since we have no idea when the other tape was put on, or who affixed it, that tape cannot be considered part of the chain of custody.

Furthermore, this taping of the label was not a consistent practice from box to box or town to town.

I think we can all understand that the town clerk would slit open the end of the box to retrieve shipped ballots.

That explains the slits that ONLY slit the two original shipping labels.

That doesn't answer the chain of custody questions revealed by the above slit. The questions raised by the above photo in my mind are:

1) Can someone get their hand into the slit?

2) Was the box slit secured by tape or anything when it came out of the van?

3) Was the box slit secured in any way at the town before pickup?

4) Is there any record of what the box looked like on election night and also, before pickup? In other words, do the signatures even match, is the tape in the same places.

5) If there is no tape securing the label at the top, it would be the ONLY thing securing the box since the sides are slit. If this label is removed, does it leave telltale evidence?

6) Does the slitting of the labels upon receipt of original ballots explain all openings on all ballot boxes?

Let's look into that a little further.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bev Harris
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 7528
Registered: 12-2004

Best of Black Box? N/A
Votes: 0 (A keeper?)

Posted on Sunday, January 20, 2008 - 8:16 am: Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Here is a ballot box that has been opened for counting.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bev Harris
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 7529
Registered: 12-2004

Best of Black Box? N/A
Votes: 0 (A keeper?)

Posted on Sunday, January 20, 2008 - 8:19 am: Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Here is a ballot box that has been counted. It has both the lable affixed at the town with the selectmen's signatures on it, and a new label affixed to show it has been counted.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bev Harris
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 7530
Registered: 12-2004

Best of Black Box? N/A
Votes: 0 (A keeper?)

Posted on Sunday, January 20, 2008 - 8:38 am: Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Here is an empty ballot box with the top label attached. The ballots are in the process of being counted. As Anthony Stevens, from the sec. state office, watched I checked to see whether the labels on the top of the boxes leave any mark if you remove and reaffix.













They stopped my experiment after I had peeled about two inches.

I now call these labels "Post-Its".

It is important NOT to allow referring to these labels as "seals" because they are not seals, they are removable labels. When writing about the chain of custody in New Hampshire, we should not refer to the boxes as being "sealed" by these labels, which are in many cases the only line of defense when the end of the box top is sliced.

These are labels. Not seals. A "seal" actually "seals" the container. These labels do not seal it.

The person with responsibility for making sure the seals are actually seals is Assistant Secretary of State David Scanlan. He chose labels that are not seals.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bev Harris
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 7531
Registered: 12-2004

Best of Black Box? N/A
Votes: 0 (A keeper?)

Posted on Sunday, January 20, 2008 - 8:44 am: Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I asked Scanlan if he believed the ballot boxes were secure when slit at the end. He said the boxes are secure because of the label on the top. Here's a hand in the slit. You decide if you are comfortable with this.

He was referring to what I call the "PostIt" note.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bev Harris
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 7532
Registered: 12-2004

Best of Black Box? N/A
Votes: 0 (A keeper?)

Posted on Sunday, January 20, 2008 - 8:49 am: Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

After seeing the condition of the ballot boxes coming out of the vault, I was curious about the condition of the boxes as they were unloaded from the van. The photos below are of ballots unloaded from the van during the early afternoon of Thursday, Jan. 17:







Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bev Harris
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 7533
Registered: 12-2004

Best of Black Box? N/A
Votes: 0 (A keeper?)

Posted on Sunday, January 20, 2008 - 8:52 am: Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Let's have a closer look at that last box coming out of the van:



Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bev Harris
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 7534
Registered: 12-2004

Best of Black Box? N/A
Votes: 0 (A keeper?)

Posted on Sunday, January 20, 2008 - 8:59 am: Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Pat and Manny, the representatives for Kucinich, did not go back to the ballot vault with me. To the best of my knowledge, the only people who went back there were the Hillary Clinton observers.

The Kucinich representatives have said they are comfortable with the chain of custody. I did not see them take a single photograph, nor did I see them lodge any protest about this.

Republican ballots were also brought in, to the best of my knowledge, WITHOUT notifying the Republican candidate who has paid for a recount.

The next series of photos will be from the towns we visited to capture photos of the condition of the ballot boxes before they were loaded into the van. I will do that in a separate thread, perhaps later, and open this thread for discussion now.

In New Hampshire, the ballot chain of custody is a bunch of broken cardboard boxes with a post-it on top.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Bev Harris
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 7535
Registered: 12-2004

Best of Black Box? N/A
Votes: 0 (A keeper?)

Posted on Sunday, January 20, 2008 - 9:00 am: Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)


Okay, done for now. More later.

 

click here

 

http://www.blackboxvoting.org

Bev Harris is executive director of Black Box Voting, Inc. an advocacy group committed to restoring citizen oversight to elections.

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
4 people are discussing this page, with 5 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

Good work, Bev. Whether elections are stolen by co... by martinweiss on Monday, Jan 21, 2008 at 11:16:28 AM
in reported results.  How can we possibly tru... by Rady Ananda on Monday, Jan 21, 2008 at 11:32:48 AM
Given the statistical insignificance between the v... by Tom Murphy on Monday, Jan 21, 2008 at 3:54:13 PM
You are either naive to a degree that defies compr... by Mr M on Monday, Jan 21, 2008 at 5:49:28 PM
And yet, you failed to answer my ignorant but simp... by Tom Murphy on Monday, Jan 21, 2008 at 10:40:44 PM

 

Tell a Friend: Tell A Friend


Copyright © 2002-2014, OpEdNews

Powered by Populum