Monday, January 14, 2008

New Hampshire Recounts Requested

ComputerWorld has an article by Todd R. Weiss about recounts of both major-party primary ballots requested (and being paid for) by two minor candidates (Kucinich and Howard). Fortunately, there are paper ballots to be recounted.
On Wednesday, a volunteer with e-voting watchdog group Black Box Voting posted a note on the group's blog alleging that election results in the town of Sutton initially gave candidate Ron Paul zero votes but that the total was later corrected to 31 votes. The mistake was attributed to human error by someone who left the 31 votes off a final tally sheet, the blog stated.

David Bright, a national staff member for the Kucinich campaign, said that incident is one example of why a full recount is needed. Bright said the unreported votes initially were noticed by a Sutton family of five voters who insisted they had voted for Paul, even though the unofficial tally sheet showed zero votes.

Additionally, he said, the statewide vote percentages for primary front-runners Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama "never changed all night, no matter how many precincts came in," and that in all towns where ballots were hand-tallied, Obama won, while in all towns with votes counted by optical-scanning machines, Clinton won.

The issue, Bright said, is that elections have to be accurate, and that voters need to be able to trust the systems used. The problem, he said, is that far too many questions are being asked about the integrity, security and accuracy of the e-voting systems used across the nation.

"With all the talk about whether the election system is good enough or not, this is a good place to start," Bright said. "This has got to be done before November" when the general election will be held.

Kucinich is raising the issue, Bright said, even though he finished a distant fifth in the New Hampshire primary... The Kucinich campaign wants to be a "catalyst" for mandating more accurate elections and for making a process that can be trusted, Bright said. "Nobody else is standing up for it," he said. "Everybody else is brain-dead on this. This is a matter that's crucial to America. Everybody is talking about it, and nobody is doing anything about it." ...

Chris Riggall, a spokesman for Premier Election Solutions Inc. of Allen, Texas, the makers of the e-voting optical scanning machines used in New Hampshire, said his company would welcome a recount.

"We think that any post-election audit ... including a recount of that, naturally, is great because we feel it's going to confirm what the machine counts showed," Riggall said. "If that goes forward, we'd be very pleased to see that happen. We're extremely confident" of the previously reported results."

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