Candidates Demand Vote Recount In NH


That’s the question a lot of people are asking this week. Investigative reports were already being posted on Brad Blog and the night of New Hampshire’s primary election which revealed a troubling disparity between the results of votes counted by hand compared to ballots tallied by machines.

Surprisingly, it is not Barack Obama who is now asking for a recount, although he is certainly the candidate who would have the most to gain if the results actually favored him over his opponent Hillary Clinton. Instead, the request comes from two lesser-known candidates: Democrat Dennis Kucinich and supporters of Republican Ron Paul.

The New Hampshire Secretary of State’s office says it will conduct a hand recount of the votes in both the Republican and Democratic primaries starting next Wednesday after receiving formal requests from two candidates this week.

On Friday, Albert Howard, an obscure candidate from Ann Arbor, Mich., who appeared on the Republican ballot and received 44 votes in the primary, hand-delivered his recount request and a down payment of $2,000 to the statehouse in Concord, N.H.

And Dennis Kucinich, an Ohio Congressman and presidential candidate, sent a letter to the New Hampshire Secretary of State asking for a recount of the Democratic ballots. Mr. Kucinich’s letter cited “unexplained disparities between hand-counted ballots and machine-counted ballots.”

Both Mr. Kucinich and Mr. Howard, whose Web site lists making “computerized voting illegal in all 50 states” as a top campaign issue, will have to come up with the money to pay for the recount.

A sample of Brad Blog’s reporting on this, which so for has been outstanding:

Kucinich says that he’s calling for a “recount”. While it may seem a quibble, the fact is that until now, 80% of New Hampshire’s ballots have been “counted” only by a hackable, prone-to-error, Diebold optical-scan machine. The systems were entirely programmed, serviced and controlled by one somewhat less-than-reputable company (LHS Associates). The machines are the very same model shown being hacked in the Emmy-nominated HBO documentary Hacking Democracy, in which the results of a live mock election were flipped via the gaming of the machine’s memory card.

Unedited footage of that live landmark hack from December of 2005, as well as rare footage of LHS Associate’s President John Silvestro, can be seen here. And more deep background on LHS and their troubling, and exclusive control over New Hampshire’s ballots is posted here.

We’ve put the words “count” and “recount” in quotes, given what we know about these machines, and given the fact that approximately 80% of the New Hampshire ballots have not actually been counted or examined by anyone. To our knowledge, only Diebold optical-scanners were used for tabulating those ballots, without any secondary cross-check or audit, to ensure accuracy. In other words, until now, 80% of New Hampshire results have been “faith-based”. The other 20% or so of the ballots were counted by hand at the polling place on Election Night.

We would also caution Kucinich and his team to closely inspect the chain of custody for the ballots in question, and what has happened to them, and the vulnerable op-scan memory cards, since the election two days ago, during the period that concern has been widely expressed about the seemingly anomalous results of Tuesday’s election. It’s important that the chain of custody be both secure, fully logged, and transparent.

Nancy Tobi of New Hampshire for Democracy, a Granite State election integrity watchdog group, previously noted her concerns in earlier discussions about the possibility of hand counting the state’s op-scan primary ballots.

“We have no control over the ballot chain of custody and we have learned the pain from the 2004 Nader recount, in which only 11 districts were counted, chosen by a highly questionable person, and then nothing showed up,” she wrote recently. “Now all we hear is how the Nader recount validated the machines. A candidate asking for a recount may well be a tool used to ‘prove” everything was okay and then that candidate will be further discredited,” she warned.

Finally, Kucinich mentions one of the reasons for the count is the “unexplained disparities between hand-counted ballots and machine-counted ballots.” Indeed, there are disparities between the hand-counted and Diebold counted ballots, as we reported last night. Hillary Clinton seems to have received a full 7 point advantage in Diebold precincts, versus hand-counted ones.

However, as mentioned last night, that disparity doesn’t necessarily indicate anything in and of itself. There could be any number of reasons to explain it. For example, it’s the smaller and more rural precincts who count by hand, where the larger towns use Diebold/LHS Associates to count. It could well be that Obama is more popular in smaller towns, and Clinton in larger.

We do note, however, the following rather remarkably anomalous result which was reported late this afternoon by analysts from the Election Defense Alliance (EDA). As noted by one of the researchers, IT Consultant Bruce O’Dell:

Analysts at the Election Defense Alliance (EDA) have confirmed that based on the official results on the New Hampshire Secretary of state web site, there is a remarkable relationship between Obama and Clinton votes, when you look at votes tabulated by op-scan v. votes tabulated by hand:

Clinton Optical scan 91,717 52.95%
Obama Optical scan 81,495 47.05%

Clinton Hand-counted 20,889 47.05%
Obama Hand-counted 23,509 52.95%

The percentages appear to be swapped. That seems highly unusual, to say the least.

O’Dell notes the group is “proceeding with intra and inter-county results and demographic analysis to better understand what this extremely unusual ‘coincidence’ may indicate.”

You can find earlier BRAD BLOG coverage of concerns regarding the New Hampshire Primary election results — and the speculation of the pundit and MSM world on why the pre-election polls must have been wrong, while entirely avoiding the question of whether the reported election results were actually validated — indexed on this Special Coverage item here.

As most election integrity advocates already know, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. wrote an outstanding investigative article on election fraud two years ago, exposing many of the dirty tricks employed by Bushists to steal the 2004 election. The question many are now asking is: would the Democrats do the exact same thing this year?

Perhaps they would — after all, corruption knows no party lines — but the bigger question we should be asking ourselves is: if vote counts in New Hampshire are found to be skewed on both sides, who do we blame for the theft?

Who or what entity is the “hidden hand” with a vested interest in manipulating both the Republican and Democratic party votes in the nation’s first primary? A do-or-die primary, if you will, for at least two top establishment candidates – Hillary Clinton and John McCain. Or perhaps a more plausible question is: were both parties sabotaging the will of the voters to ensure victory for certain candidates who desperately needed a win?

That is what makes this New Hampshire primary recount so interesting. Unlike what happened in 2000 and 2004 where the accusation was that Republicans stole the elections, this time we can see puzzling irregularities on both sides. Neither the Republican nor Democratic results seem to add up properly. This may not be a partisan issue after all.

We are now talking about a citizen’s basic right to vote and the expectation that it will be counted correctly. Each and every citizen, regardless of party or candidate, has that right.

Your thoughts? Should the New Hampshire vote be fully investigated for the sake of election integrity? Should some, if not all, of the candidates join together and support a recount to assure the American people they believe in the integrity and transparency of the vote and that they have nothing to hide?

Copyright Excerpt copyright 2008 All Rights Reserved.



Filed under election 2008, hillary clinton, impeach Bush

8 responses to “Candidates Demand Vote Recount In NH

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  3. Jordanger

    One would think that Barack Obama would have an interest in a recount. The fact that he hasn’t eveb said anything about the recount make me feel that he’s probably complicit.

  4. Ralph O'Brien

    Not to have a recount is injustice. No way did Clinton win and Paul got more than 8% of votes. It is just dividing this country more!

  5. Arlene Montemarano

    The results of this primary are really a distraction from the real issue. What we should all examine carefully is the system used to get there. Unless there is complete wide open transparency of the casting and the counting of ballots at the precinct where the votes originate, the system is not safe. Bev Harris and others stress “chain of custody”. If that is lost at any point, the process is compromised. The casting of votes in New Hampshire is open, the counting on optical scan machines is not. That is the point at which the chain of custody is lost.

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