NH Drama: Did Voting Machines Skew Victory to Clinton?

The blogosphere is awash today with rumors that there were major voting irregularities in New Hampshire–paper ballots count Obama as the winner whereas Diebold electronic machines count Clinton as the winner of the presidential primary. I tried to cut to the chase and go to the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s website to see if the results were posted as such, and thus far, they haven’t posted the results all of the counties in the states. And they don’t list whether the ballots were hand counted or Diebolt AccuVote Machines (recently renamed Premier).

But here’s what’s being said.


Hillary Clinton’s victory celebrations in New Hampshire were short lived after Internet bloggers uncovered that the former first lady did better in precincts where the votes were counted by the much maligned Diebold voting machines, whereas in precincts where votes were hand counted, her rival Barack Obama was the clear winner.

Illinois Senator vying to become the first black President of the United States has already conceded victory and congratulated Clinton, but the blogosphere is buzzing with allegations of vote fraud directed at the Clinton camp.

Obama garnered 38.7% of the hand counted votes to Clinton’s 36.2%, but Diebold machines gave Clinton 40.7% of the vote against Obama’s 36.2%.

Bloggers have highlighted the fact that the candidate placed second from each method got exactly 36.2% of the vote. (view their handy chart showing the difference between the handcount and the voting machine count)

Today, Tribune Co. columnist Bob Koehler had this to say in his column today:

Did the Hillary campaign really defy the pollsters? She had been trailing Barack Obama by 13 percentage points, 42 to 29, in a recent Zogby poll, as election watchdog Brad Friedman pointed out. And the weekend’s “rapturous packed rallies for Mr. Obama,” as the New York Times put it, “suggested Mrs. Clinton was in dire shape.”

So when she emerged from the Tuesday primary with an 8,000-vote and 3-percentage-point victory over Obama, perhaps — considering the notorious unreliability, not to mention hackability, of Diebold machines — the media might have hoisted a few red flags in the coverage, rather than immediately chalk the results up to Clinton’s tears and voter unpredictability. (Oh, if only more reporters considered red flags patriotic.)

The fact is, whatever actually happened in New Hampshire voting booths on Tuesday, our elections are horrifically insecure. For instance, Bev Harris, of the highly respected voting watchdog organization Black Box Voting, recently wrote that the Diebold 1.94w optical scan machines used in some 55 percent of New Hampshire precincts (representing more than 80 percent of the state’s voters) are “the exact same make, model and version hacked in the Black Box Voting project in Leon County (Florida)” a few years ago. They haven’t been upgraded; the security problems haven’t been fixed.

National, or at least media, denial about this situation doesn’t say much for the strength of our democracy.

Interesting. But not altogether surprising.

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