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By Brad Friedman on 1/27/2008 12:22pm PT  


(Hat-tip Mike Finnigan of C&L)

ADDENDUM...
By way of happy coincidence, we had mocked up the above item on Friday night for prep to run later, and then showed up to speak Saturday morning at the independent media conference here in Santa Cruz where a guy who looked very similar to the video above was making a few announcements from the podium. Turns out it was the same guy, Bryan Sacks of Philadelphia, and he was one of the organizers of the conference. Small world. Got to chat with him for a while later in the day, and happily so. He's a good guy. Plus, he thoroughly apologizes for not giving The BRAD BLOG its proper hat-tip in the above video, claiming that he did in the original script, but it ended up on the cutting room floor. We shall endeavor to forgive him and look forward to him otherwise keeping up the good work!

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SoS Refuses to Given Reason for Failing to Secure Ballots in Vault; Counting Room With Ballots Sealed Only by Removable 'Post-It Note' as 'Security Seal'...
By Brad Friedman on 1/25/2008 12:12pm PT  

Blogged by Brad, from on the road...

Behold the "chain of custody" for the ballots in New Hampshire's ongoing Election Contest hand counts. The man seen in the still frame below, on the right, is NH Sec. of State Bill Gardner...


The above video clips were recorded and compiled by election watchdogs Bev Harris (of BlackBoxVoting.org) and Susan Pynchon (of Florida Fair Elections Coalition), both of whom were on the ground in Concord during the initial stages of the requested Democratic and Republican hand counts following the Primary Election in the Granite State. Harris offers more commentary on the video above right here.

Previously, Harris posted a stunning photo essay detailing the embarrassingly poor condition of the ballot boxes themselves --- unsealed, open for anyone to reach their hand in --- as they were picked up from towns around the state and delivered to the counting area at Concord's State Archives building.

The counting continues today for Republican Albert Howard, though New Hampshire SoS Bill Gardner, seen in the above video, has requested a halt in the counting for two days next week. That, after apparently misrepresenting Democratic candidate Dennis Kucinich's serious concerns about "significant variances" discovered during counting of just one New Hampshire county so far. Disparities have been discovered as high as 10% for some candidates in some precincts.

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UPDATE: SoS Backs Down, Count Will Procede As Scheduled, According to Reports...
By Brad Friedman on 1/25/2008 11:28am PT  

By Brad Friedman, from on the road (again)...

A representative of Republican Albert Howard's New Hampshire hand count called this morning to say that, without giving any specific details, the NH SoS office informed them today that "We're gonna have to stop the recount for a couple of days" next week. No reason, other than "legislative business" was given.

A few minutes ago, Howard, who had patiently waited for nearly two weeks while NH SoS Bill Gardner began the counting for the Democratic request, claiming they couldn't count the two different primaries at one time (though it seems they couldn't even count one primary at the same time!), sent us the following note, objecting to the delay in counting. The letter was hand delivered to Gardner moments ago...

January 25, 2008

HAND DELIVERED
Secretary of State
State of New Hampshire
Dept. of State
107 N. Main St. Rm 204
Concord, NH 03301

Re: RECESS

Dear Mr. Gardner:

This letter is being prepared for delivery to you following today’s lunch break.

Earlier today, Assistant Secretary of State David Scanlan asked me for my consent to a recess in the recount, the recess to span Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.

This is to inform you that I strenuously object to any suspension of the recount process.

I can think of no more important business for the State than the completion of the recount process.

The nation is in the early stages of the 2008 Presidential electoral process. The performance of the machines used in New Hampshire is of vital importance. The sooner the results are known and available to the People and to other units of government charged with conducting Primaries and General Elections, the better for the nation.

In addition, with the sudden start of the recount process, I and the observers have made costly arrangements for transportation, housing and personal time away from their places of employment that cannot be changed without personal harm.

Before any decision is made to suspend the recount over my objection I am respectfully requesting that you cite your legal authority to suspend the recount over my objections and under the current facts and circumstances; it was bad enough that the recount was not started on the date explicitly required by New Hampshire law.

Very truly yours,

Albert B. Howard

Howard had requested the hand count after noting that results reported by C-SPAN on Election Night allegedly showed him as having many more votes than were finally reported in the official results after the polls closed. He gave a check for $57,600, raised by supporters, to the SoS on January 16th. His hand count finally began yesterday, after Kucinich's stopped when the funds submitted so far had apparently been spent.

Yesterday, we pointed to Gardner's apparent lie to the media, claiming that Democratic candidate Dennis Kucinich was "satisfied at the integrity of the recount" despite a letter from Kucinich to Gardner the day before (posted exclusively by The BRAD BLOG here), clearly revealing Kucinich to be anything but "satisfied," and, in fact, having requested "a complete and accurate recount of all ballots" to be carried out at state expense, given the "significant variances" discovered so far during the counting of just one NH county.

We had left a message with the SoS office seeking comment and/or clarification for Gardner's statement to the media. He has yet to return our call.

UPDATE 1/26/08, 1:35am PT: We've been on the road, and in a media conference all day, so haven't been able to follow up ourselves, but an emailer writes to tell us, "the NH SOS told Albert Howard that there would be NO recess in the counting of ballots next week".

Bev Harris reports in comments (along with additional thoughts on the dynamics of SoS Gardner and Dept. SoS David Scanlan) that she has received a similar report from someone else on the ground in NH, that the count will proceed without hold up. Though the reasons for the initially attempted halt remain a mystery for now.

What's clear is that standing up, and pushing back loudly and publicly by Howard has made a difference. If Democrats did the same, we'd probably not be in this fine mess in the first place...

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Bill Gardner Says 'Kucinich Satisfied With Recount' When Letter from Congressman to SoS Says Otherwise...
By Brad Friedman on 1/24/2008 1:11pm PT  

On Monday, New Hampshire's Union Leader editorialized as follows...

Whatever the recount's results, [NH Sec. of State Bill] Gardner has opened the process to observers so there can be no question about the integrity of the count. Doubters on both sides should let this settle the issue. If they question Gardner's integrity, then we'll know for sure not to trust anything else they have to say.

While The BRAD BLOG has reported, in some detail, on the incompetence of New Hampshire's Secretary of State, Bill Gardner, his failure to track Diebold memory cards, and many more issues revealed during the course of the Election Contests following the state's recent Primary Election, we've yet to question his integrity.

However, if this report from today's Nashua Telegraph accurately quotes Gardner, then its time to begin questioning him on that score, because now it would appear he is simply out and out lying to the media about the hand count results, and Dennis Kucinich's position on it, at this hour, as stated clearly in a letter sent yesterday to the SoS.

Tucked at the end of the Kevin Landrigan's Telegraph piece today on the latest "recount" news, are the following, virtually inexplicable, comments from Gardner...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Democratic Presidential Candidate Details 'Significant Percentage Variances,' from 4 to 10%, Discovered So Far During Hand Counts as Paid for by His Campaign
SoS Downplays Mistallies After One County Counted: No Changes 'As Far as Where the Candidates Finished'...
By Brad Friedman on 1/23/2008 8:12pm PT  

Citing "significant percentage variances in four voting districts in Hillsborough County," Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) is requesting that New Hampshire's Secretary of State, William Gardner, "order a complete and accurate recount of all ballots in the New Hamsphire Democratic Presidential Primary election," according to a letter sent this morning, as obtained by The BRAD BLOG.

The letter (posted in full at end of this article) details a number of the discrepancies revealed by the recent post-election hand count in Concord, as paid for by the Democratic Presidential candidate's campaign.

The count was suspended this morning, when "funds ran out," according to the NH SoS website, making way for a Republican hand count challenge by candidate Albert Howard to begin tomorrow, as The BRAD BLOG reported earlier today.

"The magnitude of the variances in the four voting locations raise questions about the integrity of the internal vote accounting procedures in use in Hillsborough County," wrote Kucinich. "A reconciliation of the records of votes cast to voters who signed in and received ballots should have detected these problems; why multiple locations with large over-voting discrepancies went undetected in Hillsborough remains unexplained."

Kucinich's references, detailed in the two-page letter, refer to counts in Nashua Ward 5 where there were variances discovered in the counting as high as 4.9%; in Manchester Ward 5 where tallies varied 10.6%; and in New Ipswich, which saw 7.5% differences in the hand count totals from the original count for one candidate. Those districts were all tabulated on Election Day solely by error-prone, hackable Diebold optical-scan voting systems.

As well, the hand counts revealed 100 fewer votes actually existed for Barack Obama, in the town of Wilton, than were actually recorded for him on the night of the election...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 1/23/2008 12:43pm PT  

[Article updated at bottom. Additional information from Kucinich now here.]

On the New Hampshire Sec. of State's website this morning, the top of the Election Contest hand-count results page says:

"THE KUCINICH RECOUNT STOPPED THIS MORNING (JAN. 23, 2008) BECAUSE FUNDS RAN OUT."

We've confirmed with Kucinich campaign rep David Bright, who was in Concord this morning, that they have indeed stopped counting as of today, after only a single county, and not even fully at that. We're trying to learn more, and will reserve full comment until we do. Suffice it to say that given the many miscounts being discovered, the horrendous shape of NH's "chain of custody", the refusal of the SoS to allow for the counting/reconciliation of unvoted (blank) ballots, the Diebold memory cards which seem to be missing and/or destroyed since the election (in violation of federal law), it would be disappointing, at best, if Kucinich failed to finish what he so appropriately began.

In the meantime, the halt to the Kucinich count means that the Republican hand count, requested by candidate Albert Howard, will begin tomorrow. If his letter --- containing very thorough and appropriate Public Records Requests, submitted with his original request for a count to the Sec. of State (see his full letter at bottom of this article) --- is any indication, it would seem Howard and his team may be taking on this hand count with the seriousness that it and the voters of NH and America deserve.

Candidate Howard sent us the following missive movements ago...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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And Other Recent News from the Election Contests in New Hampshire...
By Brad Friedman on 1/22/2008 3:01am PT  

Now that we're finally back at The BRAD BLOG World News Headquarters in Los Angeles (for a few days at least) and have shaken off our road buzz (for now), gotten through the latest Sibel Edmonds blockbusters (until the next shoe drops) and have overcome last Friday's maddening 24 hour Internet outage, we've got some catching up to do on New Hampshire's continuing mess of a "recount."

Luckily for us, as we've been traveling for the last few days, and pulling off other related miracles, the hand counters in Concord took a break as of last Friday for a long weekend, which includes today's Martin Luther King Day holiday. As we all know, MLK would have hated the idea of anybody actually counting votes on his holiday, so we're glad the folks from the NH SoS office decided to let the ballots sit around and cool off in the darkness for three long days in a vault somewhere (maybe). The counting, which has so far covered just a small portion of all of the ballots, will resume on Tuesday.

So...From the latest hand count numbers, to the latest media coverage, to the latest reports from Election Integrity experts on the ground --- including one amazing photo essay illustrating New Hampshire's "chain of custody" protocol for its ballots, 80% of which have never been counted or examined by a single human being (that we know of) --- let's get caught up a bit.

Fasten your seatbelts and make sure your Pinto has a full tank of gas...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 1/22/2008 12:01am PT  

While getting caught up with New Hampshire, after three days of travel and other related maladies, in preparing for a long catch-up article on the latest there (to be posted late late late tonight), I came across the following, from the latest numbers as posted last Friday night on the NH SoS website results page.

I've translated the numbers from the SoS's ridiculously impossible-to-read page, to something a bit more useful...

NASHUA, WARD 5
Diebold
Result
Hand
Tally
Discrepancy
Total
Votes
%
Error
CLINTON 1,030 959 -71 7.40
EDWARDS 405 377 -28 7.42
OBAMA 673 678 +5 0.73

Beyond the folks above, in Nashua, Ward 5, Richardson lost 3 votes (out of 72, as tallied by Diebold originally) and Biden lost 1 (out of 9). Everyone else, including Kucinich, remained exactly the same after the hand count in that one precinct.

Note: The above numbers are from Nashua, Ward 5. As opposed to Manchester, Ward 5, which we pointed out last Thursday, with some consternation, after enormous disparities were revealed by the post-election hand count in that precinct as well.

Much more later. Or, as the democracy-hating editorialists at the Eagle-Tribune wrote today: "[W]e have a partial recount of Democratic ballots underway in New Hampshire even though it is certain that the results will not change an iota....The whole idea that it will is a fallacy that is destructive to Americans' confidence in the democratic process."

UPDATE: As promised, much more now here...

CORRECTION: The original headline for this article referred to the disparities being in Nashua, Ward 4. In fact, they were in Nashua, Ward 5, as the rest of the article had properly reported. We have corrected the headline, and regret the original typo.

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By Brad Friedman on 1/19/2008 12:24pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from the road...

The Grand Lake Theater marquee in Oakland last Thursday Night, for the screening of UNCOUNTED: The New Math of American Elections...

More photos as I can get time to add them once I'm back home and/or off the road for a bit. Though here's a very quick clip from inside the theater --- with a great crowd turning out! --- during the screening...


Was great to meet so many of you there and at the Sacramento screenings on Tuesday! You are my heroes. Thanks for coming out! Buy a DVD and spread the word in your town...

UPDATE: Photos from the Sacramento screening, now posted by Bill of Sacramento for Democracy.

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Scores of Votes Mistallied for Every Major Democratic Candidate
UPDATE: NH Union Leader Says Disparities Discovered in Hand Count Due to Veep Votes Added to Prez Totals...
By Brad Friedman on 1/17/2008 6:26pm PT  

As mentioned last night in this disturbing article, the early results of the hand counts of one Diebold precinct in Dennis Kucinich's election contest in New Hampshire are now being posted, as they come in, at this New Hampshire SoS page.

As mentioned earlier today, NH SoS Bill Gardner told WMUR in NH that "We did nine of the 12 wards in Manchester, and a lot of the votes were exactly the same...Some went up by a vote or two." He didn't, of course, note that a lot of the vote counts (most of them) were off by 5 or more.

And now, the rest of the numbers from the rest of the Manchester wards are coming on. And get a load of Ward 5:

Diebold
Result
Hand
Count
CLINTON 683 619
EDWARDS 255 217
OBAMA 404 365

All of the other candidates seem to have lost votes as well. No clue who received them instead, and must run out to tonight's Oakland screening of UNCOUNTED: The New Math of American Elections. But I thought you'd want to know.

WMUR might want to know too. Since their only source seems to be whatever Gardner tells them. They can be contacted here.

There are more fresh numbers there, but we haven't yet had time to review 'em. Other than that, everything is fine with your election system. Or, as WMUR "reported" at 6pm ET today: "The continuing Democratic primary recount in New Hampshire has not found any voting problems."

UPDATE: The New Hampshire Union Leader reports this as the reason for the huge disparities discovered via the hand count:

The widest variations so far were in Manchester's Ward 5. Vote counters there mistakenly transposed write-in votes for vice president as votes for presidential candidate. As a result, all major candidates lost votes. Kucinich lost three in the ward and has a total of 20 votes there. Hillary Clinton lost 64 with a new total of 619; John Edwards lost 38 and has 217 votes; Barack Obama lost 39 and has 365, and Bill Richardson lost seven, leaving him 39.

We've been on the road, and thus, unable to confirm that explanation one way or another, or even add this update from yesterday's paper until now. But we're happy to share it with you nonetheless (even as some dKos fans in comments, have suggested our lack of pointing it out as some sort of "conspiracy theory". Get over yourself, kids. And stand up for democracy while you're at it!)

For related coverage, please see our index of notable New Hampshire-related BRAD BLOG articles, since the '08 Primary.
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By Brad Friedman on 1/17/2008 4:55pm PT  

Also meanwhile...Out there in MSM world, where reality creates its own definition, WMUR is reporting that all is fine in New Hampshire:

CONCORD, N.H. --- The continuing Democratic primary recount in New Hampshire has not found any voting problems.

Well, they're sort of correct. "Voting" problems aren't the concern. As we frequently point out, the voters are still doing fine. Leave them alone. The election problems, and the horrible administration thereof, are another matter entirely. And on that front, loads of problems have been "found." But only if you bother to look at them, of course.

Given WMUR's following quote from NH Sec. of State Bill Gardner, which is demonstrably wrong in 3 seconds time if you bother to look at the SoS's very own web page for hand count results, it's not a surprise that WMUR thinks everything is just rosy:

"We did nine of the 12 wards in Manchester, and a lot of the votes were exactly the same," Gardner said. "Some went up by a vote or two."

That is what we in the business of actual reporting would call: a lie. Check the numbers for yourself. Yeah, it's technical true that "a lot of the votes were exactly the same," as Gardner says, in the same way that a lot of the troops who go to Iraq don't get killed.

But many more vote counts were not at all the same, ranging anywhere from 5 to 8 votes off in regular cases, across almost all candidates.

And before you say that's no big deal, we'll remind you that in 2004, had just 6 votes per precinct been registered in Ohio for John Kerry instead of George W. Bush, we'd have a different person sitting in the White House right now.

Other than that, and the fact that Gardner has no idea where the memory cards are for his Diebold machines, and all other matter of horrible election oversight, yeah, everything's just fine in New Hampshire.

...CONTACT...
WMUR Newsroom contact page

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By Brad Friedman on 1/17/2008 3:20pm PT  

Meanwhile...Over at The Daily Kos, the world's largest and most powerful supposedly-Progressive blog, its founder and its front-page diarists would seem to be as out of touch with their own readership as the Democratic Party seems to be with their constituency, if the results from the following online poll running over there today (results as of 3:00pm PT today), offers any indication...

You'll recall that previously, with no "extraordinary evidence" for the "extraordinary claim" that Hillary Clinton won the NH Primary (maybe she did, maybe she didn't, 80% of the ballots were never counted or verified by anybody, so who knows?), Kos and his designated lead authors threatened readers with permanent banishment for discussing the serious concerns about "faith-based" elections, such as the one that took place last week in New Hampshire.

Updated for Kossacks in denial: Wrote Kos himself, in comments on this recent thread...

"Anyone who persists with this crap is engaging in unsupported conspiracy theories and violating site policy, a bannable offense."

I'll note that none of the diarists over there previously bashing The BRAD BLOG, by making claims, without evidence, about "claims" they claim we claimed, bothered to link up --- or even answer to --- our post disputing those claims with actual evidence to the contrary.

Looks like these guys would fit in very nicely with today's Democratic Congress. Keep up the bad work, fellas. It's only your democracy at stake.

(P.S. I'm in Oakland tonight for the screening of the more-aptly-named-than-ever new documentary UNCOUNTED: The New Math of American Elections. If I recall correctly, Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas resides near the Bay Area. I'd love to see him come out to the screening tonight at the Grand Lake Theater at 7pm. Details here. Ticket is on me. I'd be delighted to talk to him about his apparent lack of interest in transparent, verified elections after he takes a look at this film, and listens to the Q&A I'll be a part of thereafter...if he happens to be in the 'hood. It's not too late to get it straight for '08, Mr. Moulitsas! Especially since it looks like your readers already have.)

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Index of Notable BRAD BLOG Coverage...
By Brad Friedman on 1/16/2008 8:35pm PT  

Counting voters' ballots. What a nice new idea for American democracy...

  • 1/8/08 - 'Problems' with Paper Ballots in State Inaccurately Reported by National Mainstream Media
  • 1/8/08 - Pre-Election Polls Wildly Different Than Results Announced for Clinton/Obama
    [Initial post-primary report, updated many times]
  • 1/9/08 - Tribune Media: MSM Failed to Note 'Hackable Diebold Red Flags' in NH Primary Results
  • 1/9/08 - New Docs: Exec at NH's Diebold Vote Counting Firm Convicted of Narcotics Trafficking
  • 1/9/08 - 7 Point Swing for Clinton Over Obama in NH's Diebold Precincts
  • 1/9/08 - Chris Matthews: Raw EXIT POLL Data 'Indicated Significant Victory' for Obama in NH
  • 1/10/08 - Brad Discussing Concerns on Stephanie Miller Show
  • 1/10/08 - KUCINICH CALLS FOR 'RECOUNT' OF NEW HAMPSHIRE BALLOTS
  • 1/11/08 - The REAL Question (for now) About New Hampshire
  • 1/11/08 - MAHER: Diebold Only Ones Who Know What Went on in NH (VIDEO)
  • 1/12/08 - Diebold Voting Machine Failures Reported Across State
  • 1/14/08 - Eternal Vigilance: Not Just for Founding Fathers Anymore;
    Or, Counting Voters Ballots in American Elections, and Other 'Conspiracy Theories'
  • 1/15/08 - Election Contests Get Technical, Testy Before They Even Begin
  • 1/15/08 - Kucinich Pays, Count to Begin; Republican Howard's Funds Bottlenecked at Bank Now Accepted by SoS! [Item Updated Many Times with Much New Info!]
  • DEMOCRATIC COUNT BEGINS...

  • 1/16/08 - HAND COUNT BEGINS: DIEBOLD MISCOUNTED VOTES; MEMORY CARDS MISSING; MACHINES FAILURES; MORE...
  • 1/17/08 - NH's WMUR Reports 'No Problems Found' in Hand Counts; Only Source: NH SoS
  • 1/17/08 - Huge New Disparities Found in Manchester, Ward 5 During Hand Counts
  • 1/21/08 - 7.5% Vote Count Discrepancy Found in Nashua, Ward 5
  • 1/21/08 - (Butch & Hoppy) + Post-It Notes = NH's Chain of Custody
    And Other Recent News from the Election Contests in New Hampshire...
  • REPUBLICAN COUNT BEGINS...

  • 1/23/08 - Kucinich Hand Count Stopped; Republican Howard Count to Begin
  • 1/23/08 - EXCLUSIVE: Letter from Kucinich to SoS Cites 'Significant Variances', Requests 'Full and Accurate Recount' to be Carried out by State
  • 1/24/08 - SoS Gardner Appears to Lie to Media About Kucinich Hand Count
  • 1/25/08 - SoS Calls For Temporary Halt in Republican Hand Count, Candidate Albert Howard Objects
  • 1/25/08 - VIDEO: 'Shame of Custody' - Breakdown in Ballot Storage; SoS Refuses to Answer Questions
  • 1/29/08 - VIDEO: 'First in the Nation' NH, Worst in the Nation Chain of Custody
  • 1/29/08 - Diebold Issues 'Product Advisory' in FL: Malfunctions in Same Machines Used in NH
  • 2/1/08 - Howard Demands SoS Allow Unvoted Ballots to be Counted, Says Diebold Errors Reported in 21 Towns
  • Election Integrity matters. Help support our efforts. Please DONATE TO THE BRAD BLOG.
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    Also: Diebold Memory Cards Unaccounted For; Public Record Request by Election Integrity Advocates on Ground Reveal 550+ Votes Read as Blank by Op-Scanner in Stratham...
    Clinton, Kucinich Observers There, Nobody from Obama or Edwards, Says Election Attorney...
    By Brad Friedman on 1/16/2008 8:09pm PT  

    Blogged by Brad Friedman from on the road...

    (As mentioned in previous items, I'm now on the road --- currently in Oakland for the Thursday night screening of the more-ironically-named-than-ever documentary, UNCOUNTED: The New Math of American Elections --- and doing my best to keep up while moving. So apologies for the terse reports for the moment, as I continue to roll and have limited time online.)

    LATEST OUT OF NH: Disparities being found during hand-counts of ballots, in many wards, many candidates. Diebold op-scan memory cards unaccounted for at the moment, Secretary of State (SoS) doesn't track them after elections, doesn't track error reports during elections. LHS Associates (see below) handles all of it instead, according to reports on the ground. Public records request reveals hundreds of ballots in one area scanned as blank due to incorrect ink used on ballots, and other problems on LHS problem report forms.

    * * *

    Numbers are now being posted from both the Democratic and Republican hand-counts in the NH Primary Election contest. So far, only wards in Manchester (Hillsborough County) have been hand-counted, and disparities between the original counts from the Diebold optical-scan machine and the hand inspections seem to be occurring in many wards, and for many candidates.

    Here is the SoS Recount page with the totals, that I haven't yet been able to review in full.

    While sources on the ground at the counting today have told me that officials were not announcing the originally counted results at the counting room, the SoS web page lists what they claim are the original counts --- previously verified by nobody --- versus the recounted numbers.

    The disparities, as I've quickly been able to review them, are small, but consistent, in ward after ward, across almost all of the candidates. I'm told that the manufacturers of the optical-scan machines (in this case, Diebold) have estimated an expected error rate of 1% on this type of tallying device which, as noted by one of our contacts in NH, is ridiculous, if you consider that most states and counties only kick in "automatic recounts" when the margin between the two leading candidates is less than .5% or so.

    ADDITIONALLY...Public records requests are being made on the spot, for errors and malfunctions at various voting precincts. An early review of the error forms turned over from the public record request made by Election Integrity experts overseeing the counting, has revealed that in Stratham there were some 550 ballots that were not read by the op-scan at all. They were seen as blank ballots. Officials there noticed the problem, and then hand-counted some 3000 ballots after the error was discovered.

    Apparently, as we've seen elsewhere, voters were given the wrong pen to use and the op-scanners did not "see" this particular type of ink.

    Some of the election day error and incident reports, as read to me over the phone just now by Susan Pynchon of Florida Fair Elections Coalition and Paddy Shaffer of Ohio Election Justice Campaign, both of whom are on the ground in NH overseeing the counts, and assisting Republican contest candidate Albert Howard...

    (Town of Stratham, 9:00pm)

    PROBLEM: Printout indicated 550 "blank voted" ballots which indicated that bad pens were used.
    SOLUTION: Went to Stratham to confirm that approximately 15 bad pens were used on election day. The town had, by that time, hand counted and announced those results as official.

    PROBLEM: Too many blanks, used wrong marking pens
    SOLUTION: Sent Gerry and Tina with lucid machines.

    (Town of Lebanon, precinct #2, 9:00 (am or pm?))

    PROBLEM: Corrupt Count.
    SOLUTION: Shut off and back on. Count back to 155.

    (Town of Manchester, 9:30pm)

    PROBLEM: P/U 3rd Bad Machine per John S. (likely refers to John Silvestro, owner of LHS)
    SOLUTION:

    I spoke with Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting.org, who is also on the ground in NH, and she asks: "If it wasn't 550 ballots, but just 55 or so in some places, would they even have seen it and known to recount ALL of the ballots?"

    She also noted that the error report came from LHS Associates, the private company (with the, um, less-than-reputable background) that is the sole Diebold vendor, programmer, operator and service provider in NH and most of the other New England states.

    (UPDATE: Harris has more of her own first-hand observations now posted here at BBV.)

    LHS, apparently, is the one responsible for tracking (or not) and reporting (or not) any such errors, rather than the Secretary of State or local election officials. That tracks with previous BRAD BLOG reporting on LHS, and how they operate in Connecticut, where there are similar concerns for whether or not the SoS even knows what the error rates are for the system they use, since problem reports are given to LHS instead of to public officials.

    The BRAD BLOG has reported within the past few days machine problems during the election in a number of towns. In fact, of the first four towns we called that used the Diebold machines, all four reported machine failures of one type or another.

    FURTHER...Voting Rights attorney John Bonifaz, legal director of VoterAction.org, was on the scene today, and just told me that he has great concerns about the transparency of both the initial election and the hand-count auditing process that got under way in earnest today.

    "I'm very concerned that this is not a fully transparent process that is happening there," he told me.

    The sensitive memory cards containing the programming and tabulation from the Diebold optical-scanners are apparently "missing in action" for the moment. Those cards, as viewers of HBO's Hacking Democracy know by now, may be used to hack an election, such that only a proper hand-count of the paper ballots afterwards will reveal the hack. (See the video of that hack for yourself right here. The same exact machine being hacked in that film was used across the state to count 80% of the ballots in NH in last week's primary.)

    And yet, says Bonifaz who spent time today speaking with New Hampshire Secretary of State, Assistant Secretary of State and Deputy Attorney General, nobody seems to have any idea where those cards are and what has become of them.

    He says he was told by Secretary of State William Gardner that his office doesn't get involved in tracking what happens to those memory cards. Some have reportedly been returned to LHS, and may have had their memory erased already.

    "When you have a private company counting 80% of the votes, and you later learn that the memory cards are unaccounted for, you have a serious question about the transparency and accountability in that process," Bonifaz said.

    He notes that federal law requires all materials from elections be preserved for 22 months after the election. So if those materials have already been lost, destroyed, or over-written, there are legal questions that must be addressed.

    Bonifaz also noted that while representatives and observers for the Hillary Clinton and Dennis Kucinich campaigns were on site, nobody at all seemed to be there from either the Barack Obama or John Edwards camps. (Incredibly enough, I might add!)

    * * *

    Our earlier report today had a number of important updates that you may wish to review. Including the fact that the Kucinich people have asked for more observers (with video cameras if you have them!) at the State Archives Bldg., 71 South Fruit Street, Concord, New Hampshire, to help oversee the 6 counting teams. Much more in that report as well...

    UPDATE 1/17/08 6:25 PM PST by Emily Levy: There are enough volunteers for tomorrow's counting. After Friday's counting, the count will be suspended for the Dr. Martin Luther King Holiday weekend and is scheduled to resume next Tuesday. Folks on the ground in NH ask that you not show up there without talking with someone first, as they don't want anyone to make the trip unless they're needed. Volunteering will be coordinated, and that system is being set up now. Check back here for updates.

    For related coverage, please see our index of notable New Hampshire-related BRAD BLOG articles, since the '08 Primary. And please consider donating to our efforts to continue to report on issues of Election Integrity in NH and elsewhere, as what virtually nobody else in the media (MSM or blogosphere!) seems willing to do at this time.
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    SEVERAL UPDATES: Howard's Funds, in Full, Now Accepted by SoS Gardner, Republican Recount is On!
    By Emily Levy on 1/15/2008 5:34pm PT  

    Guest Blogged by Emily Levy of VelvetRevolution.us
    -- Now UPDATED several times by Brad Friedman from on the road...

    Brad just called me with the following:

    "I'm in Sacramento tonight for screening of Uncounted but wanted to give you a quick update. Dennis Kucinich's campaign did in fact get their money in on time. The recount will be starting tomorrow. However, on the Republican side, though the money was wired to the bank for candidate Albert Howard, according to sources on the ground, something at the bank delayed release of the funds in time to meet Secretary of State Gardner's 3:00 p.m. deadline. As I wrote last night, Gardner's demand for full up-front payment does not seem to be in accordance with the law, which requires only a written guarantee that payment will be made. Trying to learn more but may not have anything until tomorrow because I'm off the grid for much of the night."

    Guess that's a solar-powered movie, then.

    UPDATE: Apparently SOS Gardner will still allow Howard and his team to have a count if he comes in with the money later, according to hints in the Union Leader.

    And in BRAD BLOG comments, Bev Harris explains some of the details from on the ground, and what seem to be disparities in the way Gardner is handling the Dem. Kucinich count, versus the Rep. Howard count.

    UPDATE FROM BRAD, 1/16/08, 10:35am PT: I was able to speak to some of the Kucinich folks last night (stepping out from the screening in Sac) to try impress upon them some of the chain-of-custody issue concerns described in Bev's comments below. We'll see if I made any progress. As I tried to explain in yesterday's piece, due to the extraordinarily complex and technological systems used in elections these days, a simple count of the paper ballots does not do the trick.

    Most notably, I've tried to draw the Kucinich team's attention to Albert Howard's extraordinarily good letter to SoS Gardner, describing exactly what is needed if one is to have a legitimate and reconcilable recount that will offer the confidence in the count, as sought in the first place. If you haven't seen that letter, please do. It's at the bottom of this post from yesterday, and serves as a very good template for any candidate asking for a recount these days, in an election using a computerized voting systems such as the easily hackable, prone-to-error Diebold op-scan system (and many others just like it!)

    Still on the road today, rolling from Sac to Oakland, so on and off the net throughout the day. More updates when I'm able...

    UPDATE FROM BRAD, 1/16/08, 1:05pm PT: Just spoke with Albert Howard spokesperson Eric Newhouse. Just after 3pm ET, a check for the full $55,600 was delivered to and accepted by SoS Gardner for the Republican-side hand count. The Republican ballot count, he says, will now begin... More, again, as I can learn it as I roll in N. California...

    UPDATE FROM BRAD, 1/16/08, 1:17pm PT: Marc "Armed Liberal" Danziger --- who last week had called me "Tawana Brawley" (an African-American woman who had claimed, without evidence, that she was gang-raped by a number of high-ranking, white NY public officials some years ago) --- has just written a new post headlined "Start Sauteeing The Crow". Writes Danziger [emphasis his]

    As irritated as I was at Brad Friedman for coming out of the gate with what I saw as a conclusion unsupported by specific evidence, I fully share his discomfort with the current technology and processes used in voting in New Hampshire.

    Now, the first rigorous study I've seen of the voter data has come out - and it supports him.

    He points to a "rigorous study" at ScienceBlogs.com and quotes from their analysis of the reported NH results (as "counted", until now, only by an error-prone, hackable Diebold optical scanner, and double-checked by nobody). Danziger says they write:

    To my complete (and continuing) amazement, the "diebold effect" on Hillary's votes remains after controlling for any and all of those demographic variables..., with a p-value of <.001: that is, there are less than 1:1000 odds for this difference occurring through chance alone, and that's after adjusting for variability in Hillary's votes due to education, income, total population, and population density.

    Note: I'm still on the roll and haven't had time to check the study he points to yet.

    Also note: Danziger, above, claims that he was "irritated" (he had written I deserved a "boot to the head" and was claiming a "Diebold conspiracy") when I offered "a conclusion unsupported by specific evidence".

    The only "conclusion", I ever "offered" was that 80% of the paper-ballots in NH have never been counted by anybody. That conclusion is 100% accurate, and fully supported by very specific (and undisputed) evidence. I wrote, at length, about Danziger and others of his supposedly-Progressive ilk, and their phony unevidenced claims about my accurate claims back here.

    He needn't "sautee crow". What he needs to do is retract and apologize. Period. Not sure why that's so difficult for him (and the others).

    UPDATE FROM BRAD VIA EMILY, 1/16/08, 5:11 pm PT:
    HAND COUNT OBSERVERS NEEDED IMMEDIATELY IN N.H.

    Brad phoned from the road to say:

    "Have been speaking with the Kucinich folks, and am encouraged by the early word. It seems they may finally be begging to "get it". Will have more soon when I'm back online and can get you more.

    But for now, the Kucinich team is putting out the word that they need more observers for the election contest hand-counts in New Hampshire immediately. If you are available to get there, they are counting every day starting at 9:00 a.m. at the State Archives Building, 71 South Fruit Street, Concord, New Hampshire. Contact lead Kucinich attorney Manny Krasner on the scene. Bring video cameras and lots of blank tapes if you can."

    See update on volunteering, below.

    UPDATE: 1/16/08, 8:15pm PT: Final update in this thread. RESULTS OF FIRST DAY HAND-COUNT NOW IN. Many mis-tallied ballots reported, Diebold memory cards now "missing", much more. Details now here...

    UPDATE 1/17/08 6:25 PM PST by Emily Levy: There are enough volunteers for tomorrow's counting. After Friday's counting, the count will be suspended for the Dr. Martin Luther King Holiday weekend and is scheduled to resume next Tuesday. Folks on the ground in NH ask that you not show up there without talking with someone first, as they don't want anyone to make the trip unless they're needed. Volunteering will be coordinated, and that system is being set up now. Check back here for updates.

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