Friday, January 11, 2008

Experts skeptical of N.H. ballot-count conspiracy theory
Email|Print| Text size – + By Beverley Wang
Associated Press Writer / January 11, 2008
CONCORD, N.H.—Hillary Rodham Clinton did better in New Hampshire precincts where presidential primary ballots were counted by machine and Barack Obama did better where ballots were counted by hand.

more stories like thisThose results have prompted speculation, spread on blogs, of ballot-machine tampering in Tuesday's primary and led presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich -- who got less than 2 percent of the vote in Tuesday's Democratic primary -- to ask for a re-count.

Kucinich said he doesn't expect to benefit personally, but the integrity of the election will be questioned until the discrepancy is explained. Meanwhile election analysts say the pattern goes back at least two primaries and can be attributed to many factors, but fraud is not one of them.

An analysis by The Associated Press' Election Research and Quality Control service found that Clinton led Obama by about 6 percentage points in machine-counted towns, where she earned 53 percent of the vote and Obama earned 47 percent. Obama led Clinton by about 8 percentage points in hand-counted towns, where he earned 54 percent of the vote and Clinton earned 46 percent.

Joe Lenski, executive vice president of Edison Media Research, one of two firms that conduct election exit polling for The AP and television networks, said those numbers fit the pattern.

"Since Florida 2000 there've been all sorts of theories out there, about Florida in 2000 and of course about Ohio in 2004. And I think certain people who are dissatisfied with the results are going to jump to this conclusion in any race that they're not satisfied with," Lenski said Friday. "And they're looking for one piece of evidence that's going to be convincing."

"If you do a little more statistical digging, you find out that this isn't proving what they think it's proving. It's a pattern that's been around for years," he said.

In 2008, 2004 and 2000, towns and cities using ballot-counting machines skewed toward Democratic primary winners Clinton, John Kerry and Al Gore, while those where ballots are hand-counted went to second-place finishers Obama, Howard Dean and Bill Bradley.

Related BBV Forum discussion

Had to post this excellent analysis. V. Kurt... Jan. 15, 2008

(NH) Experts skeptical of N.H. ballot-count conspiracy theory

I see "black box voting" as a response that was created over a long period of time to a very real set of problems. It is NOT new. DRE voting goes back to at least the early 1980's. Opscan and punchcard voting is even older.

The problems:

1) Paper ballot elections had been "rigged" so often that SOMETHING had to be done. Hand counts were corrupted in literally HUNDREDS of ways.

2) The people to run elections WITHOUT technology started to evaporate. Paper ballot elections with a proper chain of custody requires FAR more people than presently get involved. (Actually, they died or retired and were not replaced.)

Both of these problems have a common parent. Historically, the ability to make selections about elections has ITSELF been determined by political patronage, and it mostly still does. Does Blackwell matter vs. Brunner? Does McPherson matter vs. Bowen? Of course.

But over time, AT THE PRECINCT LEVEL, there is a reduction of patronage influence. It is no longer true that a party committeeman appoints a precinct election official in MOST of the country. Parties used to appoint the people they wanted in precincts precisely TO ENSURE that there was a "thumb on the scale", and there usually was.

Technology elections (to use a ollective term for anything other than HCPB) arrived PRECISELY to deter fraud and have elections when people were less available, especially honest ones. There are LOTS of people available when who you have at the precinct matters in the outcome. In technology elections, the precise people at the precinct matters less, and in new and different ways.

So technology elections were NOT created to RIG elections, they were mostly created to STOP the rigging of them.

If you want old-fashioned paper elections, you must FIRST, BEFORE YOU GET ANYTHING ELSE DONE, ensure that you have sufficient honest people available to run them. Until you do, ANY movement toward HCPB is a move toward MORE fraud, not less.

Once you have a sufficient pool of honest folks, who will not be having their thumbs on the scale, THEN you can have HCPB again. Not until then.

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