New Hampshire Digression

Voters in New Hampshire mysteriously changed their minds about who to vote for in the last 24 hours before the Tuesday primary, defying nine polls showing a double digit lead for Barack Obama; but (even more mysteriously) only in those precincts using Diebold optical scan voting machines. See The Brad Blog. And Check the Votes. The pundits were working overtime to explain the unexplainable – Hillary showed emotion, more women showed up, Barack’s young voters stayed home, they showed up but voted for (Edwards or McCain take your pick), etc. all without any evidence. When Karl Rove of all people shows up to explain Hillary’s miraculous comeback, (in the Wall Street Journal, no less) red flags go up all over the place. Is Karl, master of character assassination and wedge issues politics, now secretly working for the Clinton campaign? Or are the Republicans simply trying to ensure that divisive Hillary is the Democratic nominee?

Diebold AccuVote Optical scanner highlighting notorious Memory Card accuvote.jpg

Here is a sample blog entry from Black Box Voting (Bev Harris’s group) following the New Hampshire Primary

Sunday the New York Times Magazine featured an article by Clive Thompson Can You Count on Voting Machines? The article paints a rather benign view of the machines and their vendors, does not even mention Bev Harris and her group’s work, and worse makes no mention of the many successful lawsuits against the machines. Thompson claims there is no evidence anywhere of fraud or tampering, flying in the face of massive evidence to the contrary and mounting numbers of mysterious outcomes. The article concludes that optically scanned, voter marked ballots are the best available system but neglects to point out that manual recounts of optical ballots are almost never done, making them as vulnerable to tampering as any other form of electronic counting.

And so, inevitably, controversy rages about the New Hampshire primary outcome. Kucinich is asking for a Recount. Even the Republicans are getting into the act. Yet here, finally, is an ideal opportunity for voting machine advocates to put the system to the test. Diebold, who are complaining that the machines give them terrible publicity, should sponsor a manual (no machines involved) recount of those optical ballots for both the Republican and Democratic primaries. So few people voted in this small state that the time and cost of a manual recount shouldn’t be prohibitive. Also the stakes are still low enough (this is only the second primary) to keep outside pressures to a minimum. If a manual recount confirms the machine counts, it would go some ways to reassuring a very nervous public that something is not seriously amiss with these machines.