Prior to the 2010 midterm elections New Hampshire citizens, concerned that the optical scanning machines used in their towns concealed the vote count from the public, asked their local election officials to instead conduct public hand counts.
It is perfectly legal in New Hampshire to do public hand counts of ballots instead of running them through the concealed computerized count. After all, the NH Constitution clearly states that votes shall be sorted and counted in open meeting, in public.
The local election officials turned to the New Hampshire Secretary of State for guidance in how to respond to the request made by voters in their community.
Referring to NH citizens as "special interest groups", the Secretary of State said in a memo to local election officials: "where special interest groups are maneuvering to pressure moderators into conducting hand counts, caution should be used." The memo indicated that ceding to citizen requests for public vote counts could cause "the loss of the integrity of the election itself." The full memo is appended below.
During the last three decades the NH Secretary of State has personally overseen the proliferation of unconstitutional concealed vote counting. Today computerized vote counting tallies roughly 90% of the votes cast by NH citizens.
In New Hampshire (and all of New England) these computers are programmed by a sole source vendor by the name of LHS Associates. Ken Hajjar, LHS Associates vice president, is a convicted felon, a former cocaine trafficker.
In its second line of business, LHS does data mining, collecting demographic information about the very same voters and communities for whom LHS is programming election results. Combining its two areas of business, LHS Associates data mining might help identify community voting trends.
It's common knowledge by now that voting machines can easily be programmed to flip election results so votes for Candidate A are counted instead for Candidate B. If I want to rig an election, I might be interested in the demographic data collected by LHS Associates and I might be very interested in the programming of voting machines in those neighborhoods not particularly friendly to my candidate.
While the NH Secretary of State is concerned that citizen oversight and public vote counts are dangerous to election integrity, NH citizens are more concerned about LHS Associates programming our election results, NH's system of concealed vote counting, and the fact that statutory checks and balances designed to preserve our election integrity are neither followed nor enforced by NH's Secretary of State. And more often than not, these checks and balances are intentionally undermined and removed through legislative and policy actions endorsed and implemented by the NH Secretary of State.
NH's Secretary of State has a long-cultivated aura of respect and authority, resting principally on his three decades-long role in preserving NH's hold on its "first in the nation" primary. The Primary brings in millions of dollars to the NH economy and propels its winner into the general election with buckets full of NH Primary Winner Cash. Nobody in NH wants to publicly question the integrity of its Secretary of State because there is simply too much cash at stake.
There are lots of things to be concerned about when it comes to the NH Secretary of State and how his office conducts elections in the Granite State. For more information about this, see Bev Harris's recent article about NH's election trap doors
and my article from 2008 providing background on NH elections
And in the BlackBoxVoting.ORG NH forums
The NH Secretary of State's memo to local election officials is cited below.
October 27, 2010, 3:27 pm
To: Linda Guyette (Peterborough Town Clerk), and town clerks in Jaffrey, Rindge and Swanzey
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