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Tools to help examine Maine's controversial rollback of gay rights

By       Message Bev Harris       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   2 comments

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View Ratings | Rate It Headlined to H3 11/6/09

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This week, Maine rolled back gay marriage rights, just as California did last year with Prop 8. Many of our members have contacted us to request information on how to investigate the Maine election. Here are some tools, and you don't need to live in Maine to dig in.

Maine election jurisdictions are municipalities, not counties, and there are about 535 of them. Most of the Maine population votes on Diebold(bought by ES&S) scanners of the type we hacked in "Hacking Democracy." Some of the Maine population votes on ES&S Optech scanners. Some Maine residents have their votes hand counted.

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ALL MAINE VOTING MACHINES ARE PROGRAMMED BY A SINGLE OUTFIT IN MASSACHUSETTS, called LHS Associates. I wouldn't hire those guys to walk my dog. One of the key people is a convicted felon. The other -- well, you be the judge, here he is interrupting a New Hamsphire legislative hearing on YouTube:

One of the first things citizens can do is to compare hand count to machine count locations for results. Also, compare the ES&S locations to the Diebold. Maine has perhaps the most voter-friendly recount system in the United States. I believe it's about $10,000 to hand count the whole state. So that's another option -- if anyone decides to go for that, let me know. As most of you know, Black Box Voting has experience in tracking chain of custody on these things.

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It's darn hard to even find which municipality uses which system, so Black Box Voting obtained this from the Maine Secretary of State. Here is a link to a spreadsheet that breaks out each municipality by system used:
(1,238 KB)

In the New Hampshire 2004 primary, the Accuvote (Diebold) and Optech (ES&S) machines reportedly got very different results. Maybe one is harder to rig than the other, I dunno. New Hampshire then dumped all its ES&S machines and now has only LHS Associates-programmed Diebold Accuvote machines owned by ES&S -- because, of course, ES&S bought Diebold so it's all one monopolistic vendor now. In Maine, they still use two different machine models. And all of New England handed control of the programming over to LHS Associates.

In case you're wondering about what's going on with the antitrust investigation of the ES&S monopoly move, the US Dept. of Justice wrote to Black Box Voting to let us know they are looking into it and that if they determine that the acquisition has a negative effect on competition, they'll squash it. Case law indicates this can be done after the fact.

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Bev Harris is executive director of Black Box Voting, Inc. an advocacy group committed to restoring citizen oversight to elections.

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