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...

80% of New Hampshire's paper ballots are counted on the same Diebold optical-scan system used to hack a mock election, as seen in HBO's documentary, Hacking Democracy (watch the hack live here). New Hampshire has no human verification procedures for the machine-counted ballots. The rest of the state's paper ballots are counted by hand at the polling places on Election Night.

It has been reported that the explanation for the large variances in Manchester 5 and Nashua 5 were due to clerical errors when Vice-Presidential write-in votes were mixed up with Presidential votes, though Kucinich questions the explanation offered by local news affiliate WMUR, in his letter to SoS Gardner.

As of 10:00 PM EST on January 20, the New Hampshire Secretary of State reports 462 Democratic Vice Presidential primary votes were cast in Manchester Ward 5. However, the method by which 462 votes for two Vice Presidential candidates could accidentally have been recorded as 151 extra votes for 5 Democratic candidates for President within the same ward though a manual error was not further explained.

Yesterday, Wired's Kim Zetter tried to clear up some of the confusion about those numbers, as they were explained to her by Nashua's Town Clerk Paul Bergeron. The clerk from Manchester had yet to return her call before she filed her article. We'll refer you over there for Bergeron's explanation.

Whether the explanation for those errors is accurate or not --- we've not confirmed them one way or another --- what's clear is that the many variances in the vote counts discovered in just the single county to be counted so far would not likely have come to light were in not for the Kucinich-funded hand count.

Despite disparities from the original Diebold machine counts found across virtually all candidates, and in all wards counted so far, the New Hampshire Secretary of State's office has been downplaying the miscounts.

"None of the results, as far as where the candidates finished, changed," Assistant Secretary of State David Scanlan is quoted telling AP today. "There were minimal changes in the different voting precincts. Where there were differences beyond one or two votes, we were able to explain them" as human error, he reportedly said.

Aside from the large errors referenced, there were many wards where tallies were discovered to be beyond "one or two votes," as seen on the NH SoS own "Recount Results" web page. We've posted a graphic snap-shot at the bottom of the article, of the mistabulations discovered for the three leading candidates, as of late last week.

Kucinich concludes his letter by writing that the "narrow margins of the statewide outcome" warrant a "manual verification of the remainder of the votes" before alluding to Gardner's earlier refusal to allow for the counting of the unvoted ballots. The campaign had requested such a reconciliation count before the process even began.

"Whenever there are indications of over-voting, an accounting of spoiled and unused blank ballots is also justified," penned Kucinich in closing, before requesting "thoughtful consideration and determination" on these points from Gardner.

As well, the SoS has failed to supply copies of the Election Day poll books. Counting the signatures in those books would allow the hand count observers to reconcile whether or not there are the same number of ballots as voters in each jurisdiction.

As The BRAD BLOG has reported in great detail over the past week, serious, related chain of custody issues have emerged since the counting began in New Hampshire.

In addition to the decision to disallow the counting of unvoted and spoiled ballots, photographs and video taken by Election Integrity experts on the ground in New Hampshire have detailed the horrendous, unsecured shape in which boxes of ballots are being transported back to Concord for counting. Photographs detail unsealed boxes, in very poor condition, with openings large enough to easily reach in for the removal or addition of ballots.

It's also been shown that so-called "security seals" used on the boxes, as well as to secure the count room where ballots were stored last Thursday night, can be easily peeled away, removed and then restored without detection.

Also, as we reported when the count began, despite a federal law which requires the retention of all related media for 22 months after an election, Gardner has admitted that he has no idea what has become of the sensitive Diebold memory cards which are used in each machine to read ballots and store vote tabulation. Such a card was used to hack the mock election seen in Hacking Democracy. And the totals printed out from data on those cards, at the end of polling, are used to determine the official state tallies.

The BRAD BLOG has spoken to a number of Kucinich representatives throughout the day, in trying to determine whether or not they will pay for counting to resume at a later date. While we've received different answers from the different people we have spoken to, the answer to that question may lie in Gardner's response to Kucinich's letter.

We will continue to bring you more information, as soon as we can offer any definitive, on the record, statements from the campaign.

The 1/23/08 letter from Rep. Dennis Kucinich to New Hampshire Secretary of State William Gardner follows in full below...

See below for a quick snapshot of just some of the errors found, as of last week, in the Democratic hand count so far in Hillsborough County, for just the three leading candidates. (Graphic courtesy of Bill W. of Crooks & Liars)...

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