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The Winning Ticket: Hillary and Diebold in 2008

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“Its not who votes that counts. Its who counts the votes.” Joseph Stalin

Something doesn't ring true about Hillary's “upset” victory in the New Hampshire primary. It just doesn't pass the smell test. All the exit polls showed Clinton trailing Obama by significant margins. In fact, in the Gallup Poll taken just days before the election, "Crocodile tears" Hillary was down by a whopping 13 points. Her “turnaround” was not only unexpected, but downright shocking. The results for the rest of the candidates--excluding Clinton and Obama---were all within the margin of error. Clinton was the only anomaly. Surprise, surprise.

If this election had been conducted in any other country in the world, the Bush administration would have immediately dispatched an independent team of election observers and demanded a recount. But not in the good old USA, where stealing elections is replacing baseball as the national pastime. Would it surprise you to know that (according to Black Box Voting) the Marketing and Sales Director of the company that tallies the votes (LHS) “was arrested, indicted, and pleaded guilty to "sale / CND" and sentenced to 12 months in the Rockingham County Correctional facility, and fined $2000.” That would be LHS Sales Director Mr. Ken Hajjar. Here's an excerpt from Bev Harris's Black Box Voting web site:


“The Diebold ballot printing plant at the time we got records on the overages (that is, more ballots than needed for election; MW) was being run by a convicted felon who had spent four years in prison on a narcotics trafficking charge. No, not New Hampshire's voting machine programming exec Ken Hajjar, who cut a plea deal in 1990 for his role in cocaine distribution. This was another convicted felon, John Elder, who ran the Diebold ballot printing plant; he's now an elections consultant.” ( http://www.bbvforums.org/cgi-bin/forums/board-auth.cgi?file=/1954/71260.html )

Still feel confident about the election results?

Then why not spend 5 minutes perusing this you-tube demonstration that shows how anyone with a screwdriver and a brain the size of a walnut can transform a 'humiliating defeat' into a miraculous Clintonesque “comeback”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PiiaBqwqkXs

The you-tube video also shows LHS's owner defending the dubious record of his optical scanning hardware in court. The reader can decide for himself whether we're dealing with a man of impeccable integrity or another flannel-mouth opportunist who has enriched himself at the expense of our basic democratic institutions.

Bradblog's Dori Smith reports that Sales Director “Hajjar totes memory cards around in the trunk of his car and defends the practice of swapping out memory cards during the middle of elections.” (http://www.bradblog.com/?p=5320) Nice touch, eh?

Smith also adds this revealing tidbit:

"Other LHS staff members we spoke with, including Mike Carlson and Tom Burge, provided similar comments. They said they would open machines up during an election and swap memory cards as needed. This is illegal under Connecticut law and Deputy Secretary Mara told us she has since informed LHS that such actions were in violation of Connecticut election laws.”

http://www.bradblog.com/?p=5320

“So what's all the fuss? I'll just slip this little card in the slot and---Lookee here---Hillary's a winner; just like I figured.”

Activist Nancy Tobi provides a great summary of the back-room machinations in her article “Democracy for New Hampshire” which came out the day after the primary:

“81% of New Hampshire ballots are counted in secret by a private corporation named Diebold Election Systems (now known as "Premier"). 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.”

Good job, Nancy.

Does it seem to you, dear reader, that we could save the taxpayer a lot of money and trouble by just returning to the “old system” of letting 9 judges on the Supreme Court chose our leaders? Why do we continue with this pointless sham?

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Mike is a freelance writer living in Washington state.

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