Could someone have messed with the vote in New Hampshire?
That is what some people are wondering, after looking closely at the totals in the votes for surprise Democratic primary victor Hillary Clinton, and for Barack Obama, who placed instead of winning as all the polls had predicted he would. And thanks to candidate Dennis Kucinich, we are likely to find out. Kucinich today filed a request, and a required $2000 fee, to order up a manual recount of the machine ballots cast in the state.
Polls taken as late as the day before the Tuesday vote showed Obama up by 10 to 15 points over Clinton, whom he had just beaten the week before in Iowa, but when the votes were counted, Clinton ended up beating Obama in New Hampshire 39.4 per cent to 36.8 per cent. In a replay of what happened in Ohio in 2004, exit polling reportedly also showed Obama to be winning the New Hampshire primary.
When that's not what happened, shocked polling firms and surprised pundits, all of whom had been expecting a big Obama win, were left stumbling for explanations for the Hillary comeback from an 8 per cent drubbing in Iowa (even the Clinton campaign, whose own internal polling had predicted her defeat, were at a loss). Explanations ranged from her teary eyed final public appearance before primary day and some sexist heckling she had received, to dark talk about a wave of hidden racism in the voting booth.
But there were anomalies in the numbers that have some people suggesting something else: vote fraud.
What has had eyebrows raised is a significant discrepancy between the vote counts done by voting machine, and the ones done by hand.
In New Hampshire, 81 per cent of the voting was done in towns and cities that had purchased optical scan machines from the Diebold Election Systems (now called Premiere Election Solutions), a division of Diebold Corp., a company founded by and still linked to wealthy right-wing investors. In those towns, all voting was done on the devices, called Accuvote machines, which read paper ballots completed by voters who use pens or pencils to fill in little ovals next to the candidate of their choice. The ballots are then fed into, read, and tallied by the machines. The other 19 per cent of voting was done in towns that had opted not to use the machine, and to use hand-counted paper ballots instead.
The machine tally was Clinton 39.6 per cent, Obama 36.3 per cent - fairly close to the final outcome. But the hand-counted ballot count broke significantly differently: Clinton 34.9 per cent, Obama 38.6 per cent.
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