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We need to eliminate secret vote counting, not a recount

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New Hampshire's primary delivered a "surprise" upset victory to Senator Hillary Clinton, contradicting all pre-election poll predictions and even the facts on the ground, which showed Senator Obama with a strong lead and enthusiastic overflow crowds at every New Hampshire appearance.

Political pundits in the corporate media and citizen journalists in the Blogosphere alike are all asking the same question: What happened in New Hampshire?

It's pretty easy to see what happened in New Hampshire: We had an election for which 81% of our ballots were counted in secret by a private corporation, and this resulted in an outcome that is called into question.

That's what happened.

No recount is going to change this. What will change this is to get rid of corporate controlled secret vote counting in our elections.

New Hampshire holds exemplary elections in 45% of our polling places; elections where our paper ballots are counted by hand by our neighbors in full public view with 100% citizen oversight and checks and balances. These hand count elections, of which New Hampshire is the “hands down” expert, provide the only method known today that can guarantee open and honest elections. These are elections where every ballot, every vote, every mark made by the voter, is observed and tallied in full public view with multiple sets of eyes watching and checking and balancing each count.


New Hampshire already knows how to fix this problem. For the past four years, New Hampshire citizens have been asking the State to fix this problem, but the State has thus far refused. We don't need a recount now. What we need now is for the State to reconsider and implement procedural and legislative solutions to guarantee open and honest elections.

A recount won’t provide any significant benefit to the cause of free and fair and open elections. Bringing back full citizen oversight and checks and balances to all New Hampshire elections is the only way to avoid having any more questionable election outcomes in the Granite State.

Beginning with our state Founders, civil rights activists have been fighting for open elections as the mechanism to protect our freedom and democracy. The New Hampshire Constitution mandates we sort and count our votes in open meeting. The New Hampshire Right to Know law, citing our Constitution, declares that the government derives its power from the people and therefore all government processes and information must be fully accessible to the people.

The United States Bill of Rights similarly asserts that the government derives its power from the people, who have the right to "alter or abolish" said government if it fails to act in our favor. Our right to "alter or abolish" peacefully comes through open and honest elections.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 mandates observable vote counting.

But despite this long history of grassroots activism in support of free and open elections, New Hampshire has turned the majority of our elections into privatized affairs with no citizen oversight whatsoever.

Now activists around the nation are calling for a recount. In New Hampshire the manual recount has always been held as justification for holding elections in which more than 80% of our ballots are counted in secret by private corporations.

Does this logic hold up? Will a recount rectify the problem before us?

I say no. The problem before us is that we have outsourced the most precious thing in our democracy: the counting of our votes. And in New Hampshire, we have outsourced more than 80% of our votes to a private corporation counting those votes in secret, and, as it turns out, that private corporation has a convicted drug trafficker on its executive team to boot. A recount does not solve this problem.

Proponents and apologists of the privatized and computerized corporate elections often justify computerized elections saying how “easy” it is to corrupt a hand count election. They say, “But you can always swap out the ballots to get the count you want!”

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Nancy is best known as a national leader in the voting rights movement for her seminal work exposing the dangers and fallacies in various election reform efforts past, present and future. She serves on the Board of Black Box Voting, and is (more...)
 

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The problem is that we are in a "damned if yo... by Bob F on Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 11:25:10 AM
There is no burden of proof required to change ele... by John Sanchez Jr. on Saturday, Jan 12, 2008 at 8:10:06 AM
the largest issue here is having an electoral proc... by Better World Order on Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 1:58:21 PM
Let's help the people doing them and use them ... by Tyrant on Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 4:23:43 PM
A recount of possibly, and probably, spoiled Ballo... by Better World Order on Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 10:22:13 PM
Please note, Ms. Tobi, that this is not as persona... by Tom Murphy on Friday, Jan 11, 2008 at 11:44:12 PM
Tom, I was hoping you'd be able to offer reaso... by Better World Order on Saturday, Jan 12, 2008 at 1:59:11 AM
"Can you give us evidence that the many docum... by Tom Murphy on Saturday, Jan 12, 2008 at 5:03:05 AM
Tom, that would be very helpful if you posted link... by Better World Order on Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 4:45:50 AM
As I pointed out in a reply to an earlier comment ... by John Sanchez Jr. on Saturday, Jan 12, 2008 at 8:24:00 AM
I respectfully disagree with you interpretation of... by Tom Murphy on Saturday, Jan 12, 2008 at 11:31:14 AM
If you truly believe that the burden of proof shou... by John Sanchez Jr. on Saturday, Jan 12, 2008 at 5:53:52 PM
And the end result of hacking a pencil is a sharpe... by John Sanchez Jr. on Saturday, Jan 12, 2008 at 6:01:09 PM
Let's move on with regard to the Bush presiden... by Tom Murphy on Saturday, Jan 12, 2008 at 9:55:29 PM
Emotions can run rather hot when confronted with a... by Sam Adams on Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 12:38:14 AM