OpEdNews Op Eds

UPDATED Obama-Clinton: remarkable opscan v. handcount results

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

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com

UPDATED  JANUARY 14, 2007

Correction of EDA’s previously reported statewide anomaly

On January 10, 2008, analysts at the Election Defense Alliance (EDA) reported that based on the official results on the New Hampshire Secretary of state web site, there was a remarkable relationship between Obama and Clinton votes, when you look at votes tabulated by op-scan v. votes tabulated by hand in a head-to-head contest between the two candidates: 

.

.

Table follows:

INCORRECT AS PREVIOUSLY REPORTED:  New Hampshire 2008 Democratic Primary Analysis  (using voting method data as-of November 22, 2007)

CategoryVotesClinton vs. Obama percentage
Clinton:  statewide optical scan tally91,71752.95%
Obama:  statewide optical scan tally81,495 47.05%
 
Clinton: statewide hand-count tally20,889 47.05%
Obama: hand count23,509 52.95%
 

EDA has subsequently learned that the list of hand-count voting districts in New Hampshire that it used in its initial analysis on January 10, 2008 was outdated; shortly after that list was downloaded  a revised list (1) was published by the New Hampshire Secretary of State with fourteen hand-count precincts converted to Diebold optical scan.[1]  

While the actual difference between Obama and Clinton hand count and optical scan margins are not a mirror image of each other to four decimal places as we had initially believed, the undeniable fact is that Obama appears to have carried the hand-counted tally statewide, while Clinton carried the optical scan statewide tally, by almost exactly opposite margins remains a remarkable result.    

Whenever the outcome of an election is strongly correlated with the method of voting – given the well-known vulnerabilities of the specific model of Diebold equipment in use – additional investigation is warranted.  This is especially urgent when the margin between two candidates for ballots counted by hand conforms to the margin between two candidates reflected in  hand-count optical scan vote is so far apart - and the hand count matches the pre-election polling so precisely. Our analysis has continued, and additional findings will be published separately. 

CORRECTED New Hampshire 2008 Democratic Primary Analysis  (using voting method data updated on November 26, 2007)

Head to Head

Clinton v. Obama Pre-election polling

CategoryVotes

Head to Head   Clinton vs. Obama  percentage

Clinton:  statewide optical scan tally95,84352.73%

Real Clear Politics (2)Average[2] 

1/5 – 1/7/08: 

Clinton 43.9%Obama 56.1%

Obama:  statewide optical scan tally85,910 47.27% 
 
Clinton: statewide hand-count tally16,767 46.75% 
Obama: hand count19,097 53.25% 


1 -  Voting method information was downloaded November 22, 2007 but was subsequently updated November 26, 2007. The fourteen locations shown as switching from hand count to optical scan for the 2008 primary were: Carroll County (Moultonborough, Ossipee, Tamworth); Cheshire County (Fitzwilliam); Grafton County (Campton, Plymouth); Hillsborough County (Hillsborough, New Boston); Merrimack County (Newbury); Rockingham County (East Kingston); Strafford County (New Durham); Sullivan County (Claremont Wards 1, 2 and 3).  The net effect was to reduce the hand-count vote and increase the optical scan vote in each county.

2 - See Real Clear Politics for a summary of five public polls from 1/5 to 1/7/08, Obama = 38.3%, Clinton = 30.0%. Head to head percentages were calculated as:  Clinton = 30/(30+38.3) and Obama= 38.2/(30+38.3)

 ORIGINAL ARTICLE FOLLOWS  - see correction above

Analysts at the Election Defense Alliance (EDA) have confirmed that based on the official results on the New Hampshire Secretary of state web site, there is a remarkable relationship between Obama and Clinton votes, when you look at votes tabulated by op-scan v. votes tabulated by hand:

Clinton Optical scan 91,717 52.95%
Obama Optical scan 81,495 47.05%

Clinton Hand-counted 20,889 47.05%
Obama Hand-counted 23,509 52.95%

The percentages appear to be swapped. That seems highly unusual, to say the least.

EDA and others are proceeding with intra and inter-county results and demographic analysis to better understand what this extremely unusual "coincidence" may indicate. The work to understand what really happened in New Hampshire is far from complete.

In the meantime, what are we to make of all this?

On the one hand, everyone has heard of the unanimous verdict of both private and public opinion polls leading up to the New Hampshire primary, showing Obama with about a 10% lead. And a report on Brad Blog today quotes Chris Matthews on "Hardball" who saw a comparable lead for Obama - about 8% - in the media's "unadjusted" New Hampshire exit poll.

On the other hand, it is a fact that the specific models of Diebold op-scan and central tabulators currently in use to count votes in New Hampshire have been proven, by multiple public demonstrations, to be wide-open to insider manipulation through a variety of mechanisms. Some exploits involve computer programs, and others, simple proximity to the central tabulator or precinct scanner.

So there is an undeniable possibility that the optical scan vote in New Hampshire could have been manipulated by insiders at the outsourced companies that run the election there, or by anyone with hand-on access to the voting and tabulating machines.

One recourse might be to recount the paper ballots by hand, but as we saw in Ohio in 2004, in the absence of a secure chain of custody the accuracy of any after-the fact recount of optical scan and hand-count ballots remains problematic - and the clock is ticking.

I've met some of the people who run elections in New Hampshire and I know that they are proud of their state's historic committment to fair elections. When I testified there last year to their State House Subcommitee on Voting Equipment, I advocated New Hampshire adopt the Universal Ballot Sampling hand-count audit protocol, a statistically-robust way of checking the accuracy of optical scan voting and central tabulation systems. If only the state had chosen to implement that simple and universal hand-count audit protocol for the 2008 primary, these lingering questions about the accuracy of the official count could be have been examined independently.

New Hampshire, and most other states still - unbelievably - run their elections with equipment and procedures so open to insider manipulation that they would lead to serious civil or criminal liability if comparable systems were allowed to run, in any bank in America.

If we can't simply return to the best system of voting, hand-counted paper ballots, why can't we at least put in place the capability for an independent citizen-run verification of the accuracy of our computerized voting equipment on election night?

If you have faith that the Diebold equipment is accurate, you are left only with the supposition that many voters in New Hampshire lie to exit pollsters or are secret racists - and the ones who do so also vote on optical scan equipment.

I think New Hampshire is a better state, and we're a better nation than that; and I'd like to know why the people who run our elections think it's acceptable that I can't prove it.

 

Bruce O'Dell is a self-employed information technology consultant with more than twenty five years experience who applies his broad technical expertise to his work as an election integrity activist. His current consulting practice centers on (more...)
 

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

Go To Commenting
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

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; , Add Tags

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

UPDATED Obama-Clinton: remarkable opscan v. handcount results

Pull the Plug on E-Voting

Holt's HR 811, A Deceptive Boondoggle -- 10 Blunders to Fix

An Exit Strategy for Electronic Voting

Pull the Plug on E-Voting, Part 2

Computer security expert who testified to NH Legislature, holds State accountable

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  
22 people are discussing this page, with 38 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

you make complex matters so easy to understand.&nb... by Joan Brunwasser on Thursday, Jan 10, 2008 at 5:06:13 PM
HRC is a backup option for the NEO-CON'S if th... by Christopher London on Thursday, Jan 10, 2008 at 5:36:48 PM
One explanation I heard for the discrepency is tha... by Robert Sargent on Thursday, Jan 10, 2008 at 5:44:57 PM
The possibility that there may be demographic fact... by Bruce O'Dell on Thursday, Jan 10, 2008 at 6:02:59 PM
In addition to what you added sir, I would like to... by Rev. Robert Vinciguerra on Thursday, Jan 10, 2008 at 8:41:21 PM
OK. perhaps not "universal".  But i... by Bruce O'Dell on Thursday, Jan 10, 2008 at 11:21:07 PM
If Hillary can only win core Democratic votes... by Diamond E. on Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 6:00:46 AM
It sounds as though the question at issue is being... by PrMaine on Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 8:45:50 AM
Ok, Rev Rob,"And, the only reason why he won ... by Jami on Thursday, Jan 10, 2008 at 9:34:34 PM
I, too, had my suspicions about the Diebold optica... by Skeeter Sanders on Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 5:04:27 AM
I would be willing to consider simple voter dynami... by Bruce O'Dell on Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 10:12:28 AM
Interesting. At no time in your reply to my post d... by Skeeter Sanders on Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 1:29:52 AM
IF THERE IS OR WAS VOTER FRAUD WHAT GOOD DOSE IT D... by RICHARD SHADE on Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 5:18:36 AM
The obvious implication here is that GOP machines ... by martinweiss on Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 8:30:19 AM
From a couple of comments on Brad Blog ... ... by Bleeding Heart Liberal on Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 9:56:16 AM
So far very little mention on DU and nothing on DK... by David Mills on Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 10:24:42 AM
It's hard to both do this work and publicize i... by Bruce O'Dell on Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 12:11:50 PM
TIA is also banned both places, but we both know p... by David Mills on Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 1:29:09 PM
I found the same numbers here. But this poster did... by David Mills on Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 2:27:04 PM
http://mparent7777-2.blogspot.com/2008/01/nh-race-... by David Mills on Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 2:28:25 PM
to some of the comments...Well, a horse can be lea... by steve scheetz on Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 11:15:00 AM
Your bank comparison says it all.  And if onl... by W. Christopher Epler (Bill) on Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 12:49:49 PM
Thanks, I appreciate the kind words!  As we p... by Bruce O'Dell on Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 3:40:46 PM
It seems that we only closely examine election res... by Jerry Henderson on Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 12:56:31 PM
citizens don't.... by David Mills on Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 1:32:17 PM
... by Michael Morris on Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 1:12:43 PM
Here is a simple tool for comparing machine vs. ha... by John on Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 2:01:28 PM
Even the Corporate Dems are afraid of Edwards.&nbs... by Phred42 on Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 2:31:58 PM
We're focusing first on Democrats, and first o... by Bruce O'Dell on Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 3:36:38 PM
I may be dense, but it seems to me that the demogr... by Spinoza on Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 8:50:27 PM
The last post was my first post here and I did n... by Spinoza on Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 9:58:26 PM
First -- forget the actual votes and deal solely w... by David Mills on Saturday, Jan 12, 2008 at 10:16:22 AM
Re your conclusion that: "The best infer... by Bevin Gilmore on Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 2:22:19 PM
Rocketoo:The numbers are okay. It's the names ... by Bevin Gilmore on Saturday, Jan 12, 2008 at 6:40:16 AM
Clinton Optical scan 81,495 47.05% Obama Optical s... by steve scheetz on Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 12:44:52 PM
Considering the corrected tabulations and the fact... by Spinoza on Tuesday, Jan 15, 2008 at 12:49:38 AM
What do we do when it happens again, say in florid... by steve scheetz on Wednesday, Jan 16, 2008 at 9:03:26 AM
Interesting discussion but mute.  For the dem... by Robert A. on Friday, Jan 18, 2008 at 11:54:05 PM