Oct. 10, 2016 Presentation to Jaffrey Select Board

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Deborah Sumner

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Oct 17, 2016, 10:34:52 AM10/17/16
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Re: Voting Rights/Election Integrity Updates

1. Aug. 16, 2016 request for you to ask the AG for investigation of reported anomalies in Democratic Presidential Primary in Hillsborough county.

A. I have received no response from the AG.

B. Same anomaly identified in 2012 NH Republican Primary and reported to AG and you. (See Oct. 20, 2015 email to select board)

C. Unlikely there can be any review of ballots in locations showing that anomaly before November election to see if 1) there is a reasonable explanation 2) if something needs to be fixed or prevented before November. That would have been my choice.

D. Overall percentage statewide was about 61% Sanders/38% Clinton. Jaffrey showed 62% Sanders/35% Clinton. so the good news is I won’t ask to review Jaffrey ballots for that election.

…The argument Election Justice USA is advancing suggests that an algorithm may have been applied to electronically counted votes. The proposed algorithm would have increased Clinton’s share of the vote and decreased Sanders’ share of the vote by an increasing percentage as precinct size by total vote increased.”

http://www.election-justice-usa.org/Democracy_Lost_Update1_EJUSA.pdf

One vendor programs computers now “counting” 87.5% of NH votes. The LIKELY source of NH election fraud (if it did occur in the Presidential Primary) is either through the initial programming or someone with access to memory cards before they arrived in town and city halls. 

I have asked the media to follow up and report on this, but that hasn’t happened.

2. Derry moderator hand count checks of September and November elections. Deputy SoS interfered with town moderator’s performance of her legal duty (see communication with media and email to select board of Oct. 6, 2016), but moderator knew the law, her legal duty and was backed by her town government. Important to remember Mr. Scanlan never said the Jaffrey moderator couldn’t do the hand count check in Nov. 2010. Made it clear he didn’t want him, gave inaccurate information the town moderator repeated to the public as if it were true. 

Strongly recommend any town or election official verify the accuracy of any statement coming from Mr. Scanlan. I have had a similar experience with him in court proceedings. I continue to say he doesn’t belong in a position of public trust. That decision belongs to Bill Gardner and the Legislature, not me.

Conclusion: The most likely reason the Jaffrey moderator won’t do hand count checks of the computer is some influential people in Jaffrey don’t want him to. One option for Jaffrey voters is to elect a new moderator who isn’t subject to that influence. The other is to return to hand counting.

3. Petition to return to hand counting.

A. Legal opinion in 2012 and 2013 Town Meetings interpreted RSA 656:40 (copied below) as the Select Board, not Town Meeting, choosing the vote counting method for Jaffrey. I am proceeding with gathering signatures on a petition to the Select Board in hopes you will make that vote tonight.

B. 72 signatures so far/26 volunteers to help count. If people who have signed previous petitions on this issue are willing to sign this one, there is a potential of 232 people who already have some background.. Haven’t had chance to visit them all yet and probably won’t be able to before Nov. 8. Consistently, in this and past petitions, 1/3 signers also volunteer to help count ballots. That says something positive about us a community. 

C. I volunteer to help coordinate with moderator, town clerk and town political committees to recruit counters for November. (17 year olds can legally help with that counting)

D. Since state law doesn’t give guidance on the number of petitioners, you will have to use your discretion. Here are a couple of numbers that you may want to consider in making your decision.

1. 2014 Town Meeting vote on Article 32, 77 voters voluntarily gave up their voting rights. I can get you more than 77 signatures by next week, if that is the magic number.

2. The article to purchase a “vote counting machine” in 2003, recommended by the select board and budget committee, passed on a voice vote so there is no way to know how many people, including me, voted FOR it. However, an earlier ballot question showed 277 votes. If you decide 300 is the magic number, I will get you 300 signatures, but probably not before November 8.

E. Request you make this vote tonight (save programming costs for this election).

Motion?

Motion to allow me to review ballots, if needed, after November election? 

A. Deterrent to what probably happened in November 2010. (See chronology sent 10/5/15.)

B. Will work with you to follow spirit and intent of ballot exemption from public records law, taking into account legitimate state interests. Preventing public detection of fraud or significant error has never been named, by SoS, AG, court or legislature as a legitimate state interest. Deterring that possibility, and allowing detection if it does occur, is a legitimate town/public interest. 

4. Known election problem reported in Jaffrey prior to November 2010 (there may be others that you and I don’t know about)

A. Will give a few details and can give you the name of someone with first-hand knowledge to contact after this meeting if anyone wants to follow up.

1. hand-counted election, prior to 2004, with observers and video camera present. (in compliance with RSA 659:63, see below)

2. once the individual involved became aware of the camera, the allegedly illegal behavior stopped. Video and witnesses were available at the time and incident was reported to the town manager. Sounds to me like this fits the definition of criminal misconduct in violation of an election official’s legal duty and that individual should have been banned from participating in any future elections. (Violation of oath of office, RSA 42:1.)

3. Also, in a different election, an individual reportedly took at least one stack of ballots out of public view as the counting was proceeding. That should have been reported to the moderator and stopped, but what if this person did it again in the NEXT election? 

5. We now know that Jaffrey has at least two election problems that have been reported to the town, with no evidence of any investigation or appropriate action taken to prevent reoccurrences. I had asked you to implement an anti-fraud policy in October 2015. (See email of Oct. 20, 2015). With information of a second election irregularity, I bring this policy recommendation back for your consideration and ask that you involve town employee representiatives in drafting the policy. Brookline received help from the NH Municipal Association and so could you.

Consistent with duties under RSA 31:39 (l) “making and ordering…prudential affairs” of town.

I. Develop and Adopt an Anti-fraud Policy for the Town, with internal controls for all departments and a procedure to follow if anyone notices something “off.”

A.. What PROBABLY happened in Nov. 2010 election in Jaffrey.

1.. Reported to NH AG—what happened.

2. Reported to Jaffrey Selectboard—what happened. 

B. Message “We don’t want to know.”

C. Result—what PROBABLY happened can happen again.

D. Possible alternative—using Brookline anti-fraud policy as a model.

1. RSA 41:9 VI. The selectmen shall be responsible for establishing and maintaining appropriate internal control procedures to ensure the safeguarding of all town assets and properties.http://www.brookline.nh.us/sites/brooklinenh/files/file/file/anti-fraud_policy.pdf

Request: Please consider our votes and elections as town assets (as well as the financial assets) that are part of your duty to establish internal controls to protect and a reporting and investigatory procedure if anyone notices possible violations.

___________________________________________________________________________________

RSA 656:40 Adoption. – The mayor and aldermen of any city or the selectmen of any town, subject to the approval of the ballot law commission, may authorize the use of one or more electronic ballot counting devices for the counting of ballots in such city or town on a trial basis for any regular or special election and pay the expense of such trial from any available funds. The use of such devices so authorized shall be valid for all purposes. Any town, or the mayor and aldermen of any city, may vote to lease or purchase electronic ballot counting devices for the elections held in said town or city. Any town, or the mayor and aldermen of any city, so acting shall notify the secretary of state of the action taken in regard to electronic ballot counting devices; and, after said action, electronic ballot counting devices shall be used in said town or city in accordance with said vote or authorization. If a special state election involving a state representative district occurs in a city or town that has adopted the provisions of RSA 656:40, the secretary of state may prepare and issue paper ballots which shall be used.

RSA 659:63 Counting to be Public. – The counting of votes shall be public and conducted within the guardrail and shall not be adjourned nor postponed until it shall have been completed. No ballot shall be placed within 4 feet of the guardrail during the counting of votes.

RSA 42:1 Oath Required. – Every town officer shall make and subscribe the oath or declaration as prescribed by part 2, article 84 of the constitution of New Hampshire and any such person who violates said oath after taking the same shall be forthwith dismissed from the office involved.


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