There's a History of Suspected Vote Fraud In NH - Forget 'Official Recounts', Do Citizen Audits
By Lynn Landes 1/10/08
There are plenty of reasons not to trust New Hampshire election results, particularly regarding Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama (see:http://ronrox.com/paulstats.php?party=DEMOCRATS). And, rumors are flying around that Ron Paul may be considering a request for a recount.
My advice to Paul, Obama, and others? Don't waste your time. Instead, audit New Hampshire's election results in select precincts where the results appear particularly suspect.
If candidates or voters stand a chance of uncovering vote fraud, they must do this themselves. They can't trust New Hampshire election officials to conduct an honest recount. And, they certainly shouldn't trust the Democratic or Republican organizations to take any action, either.
Consider, Clint Curtis (ClintCurtis.com). Curtis, from Florida’s 24th Congressional District, was the first Democratic candidate to conduct a Citizen Audit. What is a Citizen Audit? It's an effort by candidates and/or citizens groups to verify election results by asking citizens to sign affidavits stating for which candidates they voted. In Clint's case, he discovered that the official election results of November 2006 differed from his audit in the five precincts canvassed, by an average of 16%! He took this information to the Committee on House Administration, chaired by Philadelphia Democrat, Congressman Robert Brady, whereupon the entire committee, both Democrats and Republicans, unanimously voted not to investigate!
Consider New Hampshire's much ballyhooed recount system, where election officials claim that they almost never find any problem with the voting machines. But they wouldn't, would they? After all, their recount system is after the fact, after the polls have closed and ballots have been transported to a central facility. It's a system that allows plenty of time to substitute real ballots with fraudulent ones. It's also interesting to note that New Hampshire does not conduct election day audits at the polls, as a rule. Now that's something that stands a chance of discovering fraud or errors.
And, consider New Hampshire's own history of producing questionable election results. Remember Howard Dean? In a 2004 article, Questions Mount Over New Hampshire's Primary, I wrote, "Martin Bento published online an interesting analysis of New Hampshire's election results based on the voting systems used. It's been getting a lot of attention." According to Bento's analysis of state data, Howard Dean's loss to John Kerry had a disturbing correlation to how votes were counted. Below are the percentages by which Kerry’s vote exceeded Dean’s, grouped by tallying method.
|VotingTechUsed ||% Margin of Victory|
of Kerry over Dean
But, suspicion of vote fraud in New Hampshire's presidential primary goes back further. In George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, by Webster G. Tarpley & Anton Chaitkin, they wrote, "When Bush had arrived in Manchester the night of the disastrous Iowa result, Sununu had promised a nine point victory for Bush in his state. Oddly enough, that turned out to be exactly right. The final result was 38% for Bush, 29% for Dole, 13% for Kemp, 10% for DuPont, and 9% for Robertson. Was Sununu a clairvoyant? Perhaps he was, but those familiar with the inner workings of the New Hampshire quadrennials are aware of a very formidable ballot-box stuffing potential assembled there by the blueblood political establishment. Some observers pointed to pervasive vote fraud in the 1988 New Hampshire primaries, and Pat Robertson, as we shall see, also raised this possibility. The Sununu machine delivered exactly as promised, securing the governor the post of White House chief of staff. Sununu soon became so self-importantly inebriated with the trappings of the imperial presidency as reflected in his travel habits that it was suggested that the state motto appearing on New Hampshire license plates be changed from "Live Free or Die" to "Fly Free or Die." In any case, for Bush the heartfelt "Thank You, New Hampshire" he intoned after his surprising victory signaled that his machine had weathered its worst crisis. http://www.tarpley.net/bush22.htm
I've been advising (sometimes begging) candidates and activists to conduct audits (or Parallel Elections), since 2005. In 2006, I e-mailed every Democratic congressional candidate urging them to audit. Last summer, I went to the Democracy Fest in New Hampshire for the same purpose. The conference was sponsored by Democracy for America (DFA). According to their website: "As the chair of Democracy for America (DFA), Jim Dean is committed to carrying on what his brother, Governor Howard Dean, started - strengthening grassroots participation; and the recruitment and election of fiscally responsible and socially progressive candidates to all levels of government. This is a long-term investment that will pay off if we are willing to stand up for what we believe in and support candidates at every level of political office."
At the conference Clint Curtis, Judy Alter, myself, and a few other activists met with Jim Dean. We requested that he give our effort some much needed publicity by adding our information to the curriculum, or at least posting something on his website. We pleaded our case, pointing out that if candidates didn't verity the vote count, what was the point of running for office? Although polite, Jim Dean has, thus far, refused our request. You would think he would know better, given his own brother's history.
I received the same reaction a few months later at the Claim Democracy Conference in Washington, DC. It was another effort dedicated to candidate training. And their organizers, like Jim Dean, also acted like they had never considered the idea of checking up on the vote count in any other way, but to request an official recount.
So, here we are again...in the dark as to what really happened. Let me be clear about this. Vote fraud is not just about the machines. Election integrity is about complete and total transparency. As long as we vote by absentee (first allowed in the 1870's), secret ballots (introduced in the 1880's), and voting machines (in the 1890's), voters and candidates alike will be sitting ducks for vote fraud. Our only good option, right now, is the Citizen Audit. So, let's do it!
Lynn Landes is the publisher of TheLandesReport and a freelance journalist who writes about politics, health, and the environment
Lynn Landes is a Philadelphia-based writer, researcher, and activist in the fields of politics, health, and the environment. Her articles and opinions have been published in several books, films, and online publications.