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NH Secretary of State Tries to Remove AG oversight of SoS

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NH Secretary of State Bill Gardner by

The following letter to the editor written by Jan Sevene was published in the Keene Sentinal.

Dangerous actions on voting rights

Posted: Sunday, February 5, 2012 8:00 am

Dangerous actions on voting rights

I read with much concern Steve Gilbert's column titled "The shameful actions of our NH Legislature" (The Keene Sentinel, Jan. 22).

Those raising concerns as you have are often met with a disturbing, uncaring attitude by those voting "yea" or "nay," if there is a response at all. This behavior, and the mounting questionable proposed bills, is a dark cloak descending over our democracy, particularly over one major element, a piece that assures our right to self-govern and defines us as a democracy--the voting process.

An example is the proposed HB 1664-FN, which if passed will transfer "responsibility for election law enforcement from the attorney general to the secretary of state."

Is this the fox in charge of the chicken coop?

If passed, it will set a dangerous precedent -- one more method to disfranchise citizens from the voting process, and cause us to gasp at the thought of the growing lack of checks and balances in our local, state and federal governments.

This proposed bill not only comes at a time when we are facing a presidential election, but as we witness a growing number of serious questions surfacing throughout our country about our existing vote counting process.

In New Hampshire, we are already dealing with an unconstitutional method of counting 90 percent of our votes: voting machines that operate with secret software and a concealed vote count, ignoring our constitutional right to an open and observable vote count.

Add the fact that our ballots have been exempted from the Right to Know law, rendering our "paper trail" meaningless, and together we have a vote counting process vulnerable to undetectable tampering. If this is not scary enough, imagine these machines counting votes to amend our Constitution.

Common sense questions the wisdom of allowing the Secretary of State's office to take control of every aspect of election law enforcement, when its encouragement of the use of these machines currently ignores the N.H. Constitution it has taken an oath to uphold.

Your recommending that voters, voting in November, "pay attention today," was once sound advice, but unfortunately the playing field has changed.

Electronic voting machines are nothing more than computers, capable of being programmed by whoever controls the software. Our current system leaves us wide open for the possibility of vote tampering.

What we are observing now is the worst fears of our Founding Fathers -- the inability of citizens to exercise complete oversight of their voting process.

These Founding Fathers knew that vote counting, under the watchful human eyes of all the citizens, was the only way to protect and maintain control over the precious votes.

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