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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 2/6/16

Media Sets Up Another "Comeback Kid" Scenario for Clinton in Diebold Country, NH

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In 2008 Barack Obama was leading Hillary Clinton by 13 points before the New Hampshire primary, when miraculously Hillary came from behind to pull a "comeback kid" routine for the media. Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich was so concerned at disparities in the voting results between Clinton and Obama that he formally requested a recount, which, with no secure chain of custody of the ballots, told voters little more about the veracity of the results.

Kucinich noticed that an interesting pattern had emerged. Clinton did markedly better in districts where the votes were counted by New Hampshire's Diebold optical scan machines, which are used to count 80% of the votes in the New Hampshire primary. The computer security trade journal SC Magazine wrote that:

"According to the watchdog Election Defense Alliance, Clinton received 52 percent of the vote from the state's 236 optical-scan machines, and Obama garnered 47 percent. Those results were reversed in the districts that used hand-counted ballots."

The primary voting system in NH does not allow the public or the campaigns to inspect ballots as they are counted, or to confirm the totals from any particular box of ballots after they are counted. All observers of the count are required to stand "behind the rail," in election parlance, too far away from the ballots to see what they say. The ease of hacking a Diebold machine is the subject of numerous documentaries.

Democratic Party officialdom is overwhelmingly packed with Hillary supporters.

Now, Boston's WHDH Channel 7 is floating a possible "re-run of the comeback kid," after taking its own poll which shows results different from almost every other poll taken. The WHDH poll claims Sanders has suddenly lost 3 points of his 20 point lead, three days before the primary, while Clinton has gained 4 points. In the words of the WHDH reporter, this places Clinton "just fifteen points behind Sanders." (italics mine.) Based on its poll WHDH announces that "Hillary Clinton is surging, and Bernie Sanders is flirting with free-fall."

A 2012 report by the nonprofit Verified Voting Foundation rates New Hampshire's vote totals verification procedure as "inadequate." The report "Counting Votes 2012" states that:

New Hampshire is rated inadequate because it has no state requirement for conducting post election audits, despite having auditable systems in all jurisdictions statewide.

What is little-noted by the major media is that, for all the significance attached to the New Hampshire primary, it is nearly impossible to determine who actually won. A campaign can only request a recount if he or she comes within a 1.5% margin of winning, in other words, a virtual tie. A paper trial exists which preserves all the ballots, but these can be viewed only by securing a NH Superior Court order.

A saying often attributed to Josef Stalin runs: "It's not the people who vote that count. It's the people who count the votes." Given past history and WHDH's markedly unprofessional and unwarranted boosterism for the Clinton candidacy, the Sanders campaign should already be sitting on the steps of Superior Court.

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Ralph Lopez majored in Economics and Political Science at Yale University. He writes for Truth Out, Alternet, Consortium News, Op-Ed News, and other Internet media. He reported from Afghanistan in 2009 and produced a short documentary film on (more...)

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