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New Hampshire to make recounts more difficult

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New Hampshire to make recounts more difficult
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Posted by Bev Harris on Sunday, April 6, 2008:

You may comment on this article here:
http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080406/COLUMNISTS12/ 213410867/-1/columnists&disqus_reply=306159#comment-306159

Nashua Telegraph - April 6, 2008, by Kevin Landrigan

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Getting recount may get harder

Albert Howard, you could be the last also-ran candidate for president
to get a statewide recount of the primary vote.

The Ann Arbor, Mich., Republican received only 44 votes in the primary
on Jan. 8, but New Hampshire law allows any finisher to request a
recount. Those who don’t come within 3 percent of the winner have to
pay for it.

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As The Sunday Telegraph first reported, Howard got the $60,000 to make
the request from an online fundraising effort led by a hard-core North
Carolina supporter of GOP candidate Ron Paul, a Texas congressman.

After getting only 2 percent, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, of Ohio, paid more
than $20,000 to count about 30 percent of the Democratic presidential
ballots here.

Both recounts led to a flurry of sometimes hysterical, Internet-driven
charges that New Hampshire’s ballot custody standards somehow left the
state ripe for abuse.

Secretary of State Bill Gardner has supported a late-emerging
amendment to raise the bar for a recount request. It would be added to
a measure (SB 492) dealing with filling vacancies on primary ballots.

Sen. Jackie Cilley, D-Barrington, sought the bill, which allows the
party to fill a vacancy if a candidate jumps from one office sought to
another that’s also vacant.

Cilley did just that, recruited at the eleventh hour to drop her bid
for the House in 2006 and instead to run for the Senate seat she now
holds.

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Originally, the thought was to permit only those who get at least 25
percent of the vote to seek a recount. This was lowered to 9 percent,
but only for presidential candidates, because that’s the threshold for
candidates to get delegate votes.

Rep. Shawn Jasper, R-Hudson, is squarely behind the change and is
optimistic both parties will embrace this reform.

"It’s just ridiculous how much time and effort Bill’s office had to
engage in to satisfy the ludicrous recount requests we had," Jasper
said. "This sets an appropriate standard any candidate has to meet to
be considered credible enough to get a recount."

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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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