SIX PROBLEMS UNIQUE TO 2012 NEW HAMPSHIRE ELECTIONS:
1. Removed safeguards for its same-day registration system.
2. Ignores the law on ballot-stuffing safeguards
3. Breaks the chain of custody
4. Conceals vote-counting from the public, in violation of Article 32 of its own Constitution
5. Removed candidate recount rights (2009)
6. Made it illegal for public citizens or members of the press to examine the ballots after the election is over (2003)
TWO THINGS YOU CAN DO
1. Get involved with Protect the Count NH or Watch the Vote 2012 (links below)
2. Monitor the trap doors
WHAT'S GOOD ABOUT NEW HAMPSHIRE'S FIRST-IN-NATION PRIMARY?
Like the Iowa caucus system, it forces candidates to answer real questions from actual people. Political strategists like their candidates to plan their media (setting up media ops that are nothing short of laughable; placing their candidates in cornfields, in tanks, on factory assembly lines, donning catcher's mitts and plaid shirts and baseball caps.) Unscripted moments are forced on candidates in Iowa and New Hampshire, where locals won't vote-ya if you hide behind photo ops.
WHAT'S BAD ABOUT NEW HAMPSHIRE'S FIRST-IN-NATION PRIMARY?
As you may know by now, Romney apparently did NOT win Iowa. Alert public citizen Edward True took pictures at his caucus location (exactly as Black Box Voting advised). He discovered that instead of two votes for Romney (the correct total), his caucus reported 22 votes to the state. This would mean Romney lost by 14, and Santorum won.
Unlike Iowa (where the public could spot errors or malfeasance so well that mistakes actually saw the light of day), New Hampshire has become the Decepticon of transparent elections.
HERE ARE NEW HAMPSHIRE'S TRAP DOORS:
TRAP DOOR #1 - (WHO CAN VOTE):
Democrats have been clamoring for same-day registration, and we saw Republicans take advantage of it in Iowa's 2012 Caucus. A keen idea, but not when you remove its safeguards. In 2008, the presidential primary checklist for a northern New Hampshire town called Woodstock was spotted on the floor of a white cargo van by an alert citizen. This van was speeding around southern New Hampshire, driven by file clerks Peter "Hoppy" Falzone and Butch Dubois. Ballot pickup schedules showed that they hadn't been to Woodstock. Appended to the Woodstock checklist were a motley list of hand-written names, lacking addresses, purporting to be same day registrants. No member of the public or the media can examine the safeguard for same-day registration (the same-day registration forms). No one knows if the names appended to the checklist are real or copied from a phone book during lulls in voting.
TRAP DOOR #2 - (WHO DID VOTE): A telltale sign for ballot box stuffing is when votes exceed voters. As reported by Black Box Voting in 2008, here are voter/vote totals from Swanzey in New Hampshire's 2008 presidential primary:
1,591 votes - 1,333 voters = 258 impossible Democratic votes
1,092 votes - 951 voters = 141 impossible Republican votes
The total number of impossible votes in Swanzey alone were 258 + 141 = 399
Documentation: BBV Forums
The "Swanzey Stuffing" does have a positive side: At least Swanzey reported their impossible numbers promptly to the Secretary of State. A citizen caught it, and (one would hope), the secretary of state had an opportunity to investigate the incident. But they didn't. It is required by law, but in 2010 towns did not report the number of voters. An alert public citizen, Deborah Sumner, noticed the absence of this required ballot-stuffing safeguard and brought it to the attention of the secretary of state, the Ballot Law Commission, the attorney general, and the media. The attorney general did issue a written opinion confirming that the report is required by law but no one did anything about it and town clerks have been told that reporting this crucial number is "optional" in 2012. Here is the law: RSA 659:73 (f) and (g).
TRAP DOOR #3 - (CHAIN OF CUSTODY): It seems like every time New Hampshire has a major election, someone is ducking in and out of its computer-counted voting locations switching out memory cards. Sometimes the ballots are switched out too, citing pens that the machines thought were invisible. And in New Hampshire's 2008 presidential primary recount, ballots from one location (Manchester Ward 5) arrived in the sealed, signed ballot box for Manchester Ward 6, and vice versa. Ballots arrived in boxes that were open; in Christmas tree ornament boxes, and battered corrugated brown with slits in the side. So, you might think, New Hampshire would clean up its act. But the New Hampshire secretary of state's office seems more afraid of transparency and real public oversight than ballot swapping or midday voting machine alterations.
You might think that we won't see ballots for Ward 5 showing up in a Ward 6 box if there's a recount this time, and we probably won't. That's because in 2009, New Hampshire changed its recount law to REDUCE CANDIDATE ACCESS TO RECOUNTS. Expect to see margins of 20% or more between the announced winner and others, especially any candidate folks want to be considered "unelectable." In New Hampshire, in a change from 2008, a 20% margin grants immunity from any recount.
TRAP DOOR #4 - (THE VOTE COUNT): New Hampshire used to brag that its machines were trustworthy (even though they are programmed by LHS Associates, a sole-source, no-bid vendor based in Massachusetts with a convicted narcotics trafficker at the helm, see this article):
The idea of having two guys working out of Massachusetts pick up and deliver memory cards, which contain both programming for the results report and hold the vote totals themselves, is a little creepy. No let me say that a different way: It's foolish. It's also unconstitutional. According to the New Hampshire Constitution, ballots must be counted "in public meeting." Under no stretch of the imagination can the private workshop of John Silvestro and Kenny Hajjar be considered "a public meeting"; worse, (back to chain of custody again), Hajjar has admitted that he sometimes drives around the state with extra memory cards in his trunk. You know. Just in case someone needs one while the election is taking place.
Article 1. [Equality of Men; Origin and Object of Government.] All men are born equally free and independent; therefore, all government of right originates from the people, is founded in consent, and instituted for the general good. Article 32 states that votes must be counted in the open and "in public meeting."
NOW, NO ONE CAN LOOK AT THE BALLOTS: One might at least hope to check on the count after the fact, like a consortium of reporters did in Florida in 2000. But in 2003 in a hidden amendment, BALLOTS WERE EXCLUDED from New Hampshire's Right to Know law: Right to Know law
WHAT TO DO
Protect The Count NH:
Watch The Vote 2012 facebook page
Report eye witness accounts with photo or video evidence
a. You can go to the town clerk's office and inspect the Checklist, which should contain the names of same-day registrants. At least, look them up to see if there is such a person.
b. You can visit the secretary of state's office 2 days after the election to conduct an examination of the written record for # of voters and # of votes. If it's missing, blow the whistle.
c. Remember that your cell phone can usually videotape and take photos. Whip it out if you see something that concerns you. Document with a photo and transmit to your friends and to election protection organizations
d. DON'T DISAPPEAR AFTER THE ELECTION: Politicians believe they can get away with anything, if they can just stall off accountability for the 10 days or so needed to certify the election.
"I'm a historian. I have all the time in the world."
-- Richard Hayes Phillips, author of Witness to a Crime: A Citizen's audit of an American Election
It's time they learn that The People are not going away.
Black Box Voting ; Comments welcome here
SIX PROBLEMS UNIQUE TO 2012 NEW HAMPSHIRE ELECTIONS: