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Letter: Why we should check it twice

To the editor:

In our 2012 Town Meeting, 63 of 3,573 registered voters (1.8 percent) decided not to comply with our constitution, which mandates a public vote count; 25 (0.6 percent) were open to finding a way to continue using computerized vote tabulation that fulfills the spirit and intent of the constitution.

In 2013, Town Meeting voters will be asked if they would like the moderator to oversee a public vote count of at least one competitive, high stakes race or ballot question, chosen at random. More than 50 citizens of all parties have already volunteered to help count ballots.

This is consistent with what most citizens seem to want, based on my conversations with more than 200 people; our constitution and RSA 659:63, “Counting (of votes) to be public”; the recommendation of a state advisory group in 2009; the authority moderators have and what others have done .

Brookline has done these “parallel hand counts” as verification for a number of years. In November 2012, the public and concealed computer count varied by about 30 votes for the three gubernatorial candidates. Now, the moderator and citizens involved with the count want to look more closely at their voting system, to see how to reconcile the process mandated by our earliest citizens with the secrecy of programming done by a private corporation and concealed vote tabulation. There is talk of a study committee.

That is also a possibility for Jaffrey. Anyone interested can contact me before or after Town Meeting on March 16.

Before then, please read the advisory committee report/minutes http://sos.nh.gov/ballotcountdev.aspx or view the documentary films Hacking Democracy and Stealing America Vote by Vote available at the Jaffrey Library. New Hampshire and Jaffrey use the Diebold AccuVote featured in Hacking, a film the advisory committee watched before beginning its work.

Deborah Sumner

Jaffrey

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