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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 6/18/10

Open letter to NH citizens regarding our elections

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BY Deborah Sumner

Dear Citizens of New Hampshire,

The Secretary of State's office and many legislators consistently say that state recounts show the AccuVote to be accurate. But what does "accurate" mean to them? The examples below show the answer.

The more important question is, how accurate do we citizens expect the vote count to be in our town or city and in our state? (And beyond that, in our nation?") And with computer-based machines counting our votes, how do we know how accurate the count is?

We have begun having that conversation in our communities. I invite you to join the discussion and involve your election officials (most, it seems, who are not aware of any concerns about the voting machines) and individuals representing various political viewpoints. Informed decision making, "democracy," is what our soldiers are fighting and dying to defend in foreign lands. We owe it to them and their families to make sure we're doing our part here at home.


Deborah Sumner

Jaffrey, NH

Why NH Needs to Conduct Hand Count Checks of AccuVote Machines

To Ensure:

  • Electronic totals are accurate.
  • Citizens can make informed decisions about how to count votes in their city/town.
  • Compliance with state law: votes will be sorted and counted in open meeting (NH Constitution Article 32); counting of votes will be public (RSA 659:63); tampering with electronic ballot counting devices or software is a felony (RSA 659:42).

Manual counting may reveal attacks such as counter or candidate swapping, error in totals, election data, and ballot layout. It can also counter an attack timed to prevent detection during pre-election testing.(1)

Some Discrepancies Since 2006

State Representative recounts ranged from one candidate losing 151 votes (Rockingham 4, 2008) to two gaining 51 votes each (Merrimack 9, 2006)(2).

2006 US Representative race in Amherst: hand count added 58 votes for Bass, 33 for Hodes. New total =4,676, more than 4,635 ballots cast.

Presidential Primary 2008:

  • New Ipswich: 1,316 machine vs.1,190 hand count total for listed Republican candidates. Democratic votes matched except Richardson (27 machine, 77 hand).(3)
  • Manchester, Ward 11 reported 1,341 Democratic votes for president, 1,268 votes for vice president. Totals = sum of votes cast + write-ins + undervotes/overvotes. Totals for these two races on the same ballot should be equivalent.
  • Manchester (Democratic, 12 wards) reported 148 ballots with no vote. Difference between ballots cast and total votes indicate 243 ballots recorded no vote (129 from Ward 3). Two wards reported 23 more votes than voters.
  • Manchester, Ward 3 reported 1,292 Democratic votes, 1,360 voters and 1,403 ballots cast. It reported two numbers for ballots received, 1,299 and 1,612. Recount=1,282 votes.(4)
  • Manchester (Republican, 12 wards): Difference between ballots cast and total votes indicate 197 recorded no vote (98 from Ward 3). Three wards reported 32 more votes than voters.

Poll Discrepancies

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