Considerations as voting approaches

To the editor:

We have the rights as voters to cast an anonymous ballot, to have our ballots counted and reported accurately and to know that's happening. According to our N.H. Constitution, the responsibility for accurate counting and reporting belongs to all of us in the community. Currently, many computer count towns are unknowingly denying citizens our rights to know our elections are legitimate.

In my experience, officials continue to voice the myth that pre-election ballot testing ensures all will be well with our elections so public vote counts (and the law) aren’t necessary. False.

Here’s the reality defined by a Connecticut citizens’ group that monitors elections there.

-- “Pre-election testing cannot detect all errors and programming attacks. Pre-election testing of electronic voting systems will detect only basic errors such as “junk” memory cards, wrong candidates, and machines that simply don’t work.

-- “Computer science tells us it is impossible to test completely. Recent academic reports continue to outline many ways that clever programming can circumvent detection during basic pre-election testing.”

Connecticut uses the same AccuVote (formerly Diebold) computer as NH, programmed and serviced by the same vendor, LHS Associates.

One long-time N.H. moderator, a member of various state electronic voting advisory groups, always oversaw one to three public vote counts (officials hand counted ballots) on election night to verify the computer count and says he was always able to reconcile any discrepancies.

Most moderators, he believes, want the public have confidence in our elections and would be willing to do this if they realized state law allows them this option to ensure an accurate count (their legal duty under state law).

He recommends every elected official and legislator read the Nov. 2012 article from Harper’s Magazine, “How to Rig an Election,” (found easily with a simple Google search).

Deborah Sumner


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