Another American Citizen Stands Up for Democracy
By Brad Friedman on 11/18/2004, 11:06pm PT  

Speaking of Russ Baker (see the previous item), he's got an interesting story today in The Nation about Ralph Nader's recount in New Hampshire. Which began today, by the way.

Baker's piece explains the optical-scan concerns which drew Nader's attention and lead to the recount demand after they were noticed by citizen Ida Briggs, a software designer and statistical analyst in Michigan who --- unlike those covering Scott Peterson in the MSM --- decided to investigate the numbers in New Hampshire:

In general, according to Briggs, the "Diebold precincts" showed larger and more frequent deviations from expected voting trends than precincts relying strictly on hand counts, and even than those using an optical-scan counting system from another manufacturer. Creating trend patterns by looking at the 2000 and 2004 elections, she found rural, typically conservative precincts that hand-counted ballots as voting more for Kerry than they did for Gore, while larger, urban precincts using Diebold's AccuVote machines often did the opposite. Of the precincts where Kerry did less well than expected, according to Briggs, 73 percent used optical-scan technology and 62 percent used Diebold machines. Fully 92 percent of all out-of-trend votes were optically scanned. New Hampshire has 301 precincts; 126 of them use Diebold's AccuVote technology.

American citizen does it again. I look forward to what the hand recount may or may not show in the coming days. Though Baker also sagely notes:

Even a hand recount won't satisfy everyone--and shouldn't. The efficacy of the American voting system is dependent on a lot of things going right--and anecdotal evidence suggests many fruitful avenues of inquiry into things that may have gone wrong. Among these: whether ballots were improperly cast (fraud), and whether legitimate voters were prevented or discouraged from voting. To say nothing of whether, in a country where many people vote based on the most effective television commercials, people really understand what they are voting on and the stakes involved.

(Gracias to amigo Fin for the link!)