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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Problems in New Hampshire

The ballots in New Hampshire are being reviewed, and the results are quite disturbing:

Ballots that were not read by the op-scan at all. Voters given the wrong pen to use for machines. Unsecured memory cards. Private contractors in charge. . .

From Bev Harris at Black Box Voting:

(1) A reckless reliance on a sole source private contractor. Not particularly bothered that the company has private chain of custody during critical points, no policy or even apparent concern with having convicted felons involved in the voting system.

(2) Use of a system with known defects without even taking any mitigation steps that other states took.

(3) NO REQUIREMENT to even save the memory cards. The explanation is that they get a disk with the "program" on it. VotersUnite attorney Jon Bonifaz questioned the assistant attorney general on this closely today, because federal law requires records retention of 22 months on electronic media.

New Hampshire has a haphazard policy of allowing the memory cards to be kept, or not, with a chain of custody, or not, shipping back to LHS, or not, and it's perfectly okay with New Hampshire if the memory cards are erased altogether the day after the election. They profess to believe that if they just have LHS ship them a disk containing some purported program -- BEFORE the election, when there aren't even any votes registered -- everything is okay. No one could tell us if this is the memory card program, or the GEMS database file, or the optical scan chip. They seem to have no idea what they are doing with this and I would call this wilfull ignorance, not naivete.

(4) Lack of documentation and lack of diligence on keeping documentation or written procedures in key areas

(5) Ballot chain of custody procedures with major holes and a few very creepy areas that will be the subject of a future article.

The upshot will be that New Hampshire could be the role model for the nation, but not until they purge themselves of a limited number of very significant problems.

The problem with chain of custody: You can have a strong, beautiful, stainless steel chain but if one link is broken, the rest doesn't matter.

How many of these scenarios played out in 2000? In 2004? The answer: just enough.

Why are states such as New Hampshire still using such easily hacked machines and not following a strict chain of custody for memory cards? Who's been involved with this vote manipulation - are they still involved? These are questions that we MUST have answers to before the 2008 elections are conducted.

- How to Rig an Election: Confessions of a Republican National Committee Operative

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