by Drew J Jones
Tue Jan 15th, 2008 at 08:27:49 PM EST
Update #2: BlackBoxVoting
We are finding in New Hampshire: the best of the best in MOST situations, but considerable naivete and in some areas, and an alarming and wilfull negligence.
Among the "best of the best" of New Hampshire situations:
(1) Beautiful, community oriented hand counted paper ballots in more than one hundred jurisdictions.
(2) Very democratic and participatory township structure of government, combined with very high level of representation of local areas in the state legislature
(3) Amazing level of responsiveness of public officials. Secretary of State Bill Gardner, for example, answers questions personally and tirelessly from just about everyone. Many, many high level officials perfectly willing to talk with and answer all questions from the public.
(4) Beautiful, participatory 100% hand counted recounts.
(5) Very good public records laws. If they have it in their possession, they let you see it THAT DAY. Along those lines, Paddy Shaffer did a hand written records request today which elicited some very good information. The dream team here is in the process of editing another request as I write this.
On the almost schizophrenically BAD side:
(1) A reliance on a sole source private contractor that is fully idiotic in nature. Not particularly bothered that the company has private chain of custody during critical points, no policy or even apparent concern with having convicted felons involved in the voting system.
(2) Use of a system with known defects without even taking any mitigation steps
(3) NO REQUIREMENT to even save the memory cards. The explanation is that they get a disk with the "program" on it. VotersUnite attorney Jon Bonifaz questioned the assistant attorney general on this closely today, because federal law requires records retention of 22 months on electronic media. New Hampshire has a truly idiotic policy of allowing the memory cards to be kept, or not, with a chain of custody, or not, shipping back to LHS, or not, and it's perfectly okay with New Hampshire if the memory cards are erased altogether. They profess to believe that they are okay, because the DoJ allows them to, if they just have LHS ship them a disk containing the purported program -- BEFORE the election, when there aren't even any votes registered on the card. No one could even tell us if this is the memory card program, or the GEMS database file, or the optical scan chip. They seem to have no idea what they are doing with this and I would call this wilfull ignorance, not naivete.
(4) Lack of documentation and lack of diligence on keeping documentation or written procedures in key areas
(5) Ballot chain of custody procedures with major holes and a few very creepy areas that will be the subject of a future article.
The upshot will be that New Hampshire could be the role model for the nation, but not until they purge themselves of a limited number of very significant problems.
The problem with chain of custody: You can have a strong, beautiful, stainless steel chain but if one link is broken, the rest doesn't matter.
Update: Word from Bev Harris at BBV is that the chain of custody on the ballots has apparently been privatized. Meaning, the recount is very likely to produce the same result, even if fraud has taken place. Words fail me....
Note: Mig and I haven't yet completed our model and analysis, but others are putting studies out.
The effect is bigger than initially thought. More regression analysis is pouring out on the New Hampshire primary, and it's not pretty. While newly-arrived ET'er Continuation initially found Diebold voting machines lending Hillary Clinton about five points of her over 39% share last Tuesday, new analysis by Chris Chatham of Developing Intelligence and Black Box Voting shows a pretty consistent 5.2 increase to Clinton, and 4.2% drop for Obama, attributable to the AccuVote counting method:
So I got a copy of the vote counts, and thanks to Brian London at BlackBoxVoting, the demographic information from each town (most notably, the % holding bachelor's degrees, the median household income, and the total town population). Now, Mark at BlackBoxVoting has provided estimates of the mileage for each district, allowing for the calculation of population density.
To my complete (and continuing) amazement, the "diebold effect" on Hillary's votes remains after controlling for any and all of those demographic variables, with a p-value of <.001: that is, there are less than 1:1000 odds for this difference occurring through chance alone, and that's after adjusting for variability in Hillary's votes due to education, income, total population, and population density.
An economics professor at Dartmouth finds similar results.
Even controlling for "urban-ness," median income, education, and other demographic and socioeconomic factors, the Diebold Effect remains. And it remains strong enough to, not only swing the election back to Obama, but provide a margin of victory to Obama perfectly in line with the combination of polling data and the tight race among late-breakers that Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post noted in the exit polls on MSNBC.
That is to say, it is perfectly conceivable -- perhaps even likely -- that female voters helped to boost Clinton. That is consistent comparing pre-primary polling and the raw exit poll data. But it is also true that the evidence is mounting against those machines.
Stay tuned. I'll use this diary in the coming days to add new findings and add amendments to what is here.