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January 10, 2008

Was The NH Vote Hacked?

-- by Dave Johnson

You can't open an e-mail list without reading that the New Hampshire primary vote was hacked.

Here's the story. New Hampshire used paper ballots that are scanned by Diebold scanners. The name Diebold serts off alarms. But the ballots are paper and can be counted to see what the voters intended. So it doesn't matter that they are scanned by Diebold machines.

Paper ballots. All anyone has to do is pick a few precincts and count the paper ballots. If they don't match what the scanners reported, then you count all the ballots. If they don't match the count, everyone knows what happened.

The point of having voter-verified paper ballots is that the record exists. So no one would bother to try to screw with the election because they would get caught as soon as anyone compares the paper ballots with the machine count.

The primary wasn't hacked. That's the point of having paper ballots. DEMAND paper ballots everywhere. If you want touch screens, that's fine. In fact, they help prevent errors -- just as long as they are used as input devices for printing paper ballots that YOU look at and put into a separate ballot box.

Posted by Dave Johnson at January 10, 2008 10:33 AM

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Comments

Your said, "If you want touch screens, that's fine. In fact, they help prevent errors -- just as long as they are used as input devices for printing paper ballots that YOU look at and put into a separate ballot box."

Actually, the printer can break down... The ballot maynot be "created." The system could bog down waiting for repairs... Starting with a printed ballot is by far the better (and only, actually) way to go. Then they can be scanned, to speed up the count - but if the scanner breaks down you still have the ballots!

Please consider correcting that part of what you said in your original post. Thank you.

Posted by: Grandpa Ken [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 10, 2008 12:42 PM

I think that's naive, Dave. It seems pretty clear from 2004 - and, for that matter, 2001 - that optical scan results were of dubious value.

It's no good saying "no one would bother to try to screw with the election because they would get caught as soon as anyone compares the paper ballots with the machine count" if no one is going to make the comparison. They're taking the results for granted. In some states they've actually passed laws making it illegal to demand recounts.

Just because it's paper doesn't mean it magically prevents cheating. It never has. It just prevents a particular type of cheating if the ballots are hand-counted.

Posted by: Avedon [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 10, 2008 8:38 PM

The technology needs to be paper ballots (not a paper trail) counted by humans. Works for Canada.

Posted by: lambert [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 10, 2008 10:35 PM

The New Hampshire Democratic Primary was indeed hacked. Watch this.

Optical scan ballots
Clinton 39.6%
Obama 36.3%
Hand counter paper ballots
Obama 38.6%
Clinton 34.6%

Evidently the Clinton machine has the same morals as the Bush machine.

Posted by: Stephen Voss [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 11, 2008 12:31 AM

I hope that someone actually does the comparison. A few RANDOMLY SELECTED precincts, plus precincts where an iota of evidence for fraud has been presented. Dave' argument, that nobody would attempt them because they would be caught, only applies if a comparison is likely to be done.

Hand-counted paper ballots, produced and verified by the voter, is the best way to go.

Posted by: John Morrison [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 11, 2008 8:30 AM

Under New Hampshire law, only a candidate can request the comparison you've suggested; and, of course, no candidate wants to appear to be a sore loser by claiming the election was rigged. Perhaps a journalist could compare the vote results in half a dozen paper-only precincts with the exit polls, and then compare the vote results in optical-scanner precincts with the exit polls. If the exits were accurate for the paper-only venues (when they were so different overall), there's reason to ask what accounts for the disparity between exit polls and results in the scanner precincts.

Posted by: The Nonprofiteer [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 11, 2008 11:56 AM

Under New Hampshire law, only a candidate can request the comparison you've suggested; and, of course, no candidate wants to appear to be a sore loser by claiming the election was rigged. Perhaps a journalist could compare the vote results in half a dozen paper-only precincts with the exit polls, and then compare the vote results in optical-scanner precincts with the exit polls. If the exits were accurate for the paper-only venues (when they were so different overall), there's reason to ask what accounts for the disparity between exit polls and results in the scanner precincts.

Posted by: The Nonprofiteer [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 11, 2008 11:57 AM

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