Can We Protect Voting Rights and Use the AccuVote Computer?

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Deborah Sumner

Mar 26, 2017, 9:53:30 AM3/26/17

Can We Protect Our Voting Rights and Continue Using the Computer?


Voting Rights: We have the right to vote, have our votes counted and reported accurately and to know they are. (Legal duty of the moderator as required by NH CONST. pt. 2, art. 32. and RSA 659:60 (as well as other laws).

Most people I’ve talked with in Jaffrey would like to continue using the computer and make sure it is counting accurately on election night.

Currently the Secretary of State says that’s not an option,that communities must choose to use the computer OR hand count all elections. He doesn’t want moderators to conduct verification hand counts of contests selected at random or among those high stakes contests most vulnerable to tampering as moderators have done previously..

Should the Secretary of State make that decision for Jaffrey or should we do that as a community?

If you want to continue using the computer and make sure it is counting accurately on election night, become a member of Jaffrey Voices Google Group to continue the conversation.

NHCONST pt. 1[Art.] 8. [Accountability of Magistrates and Officers; Public’s Right to Know.] All power residing originally in, and being derived from, the people, all the magistrates and officers of government are their substitutes and agents, and at all times accountable to them. Government, therefore, should be open, accessible, accountable and responsive. To that end, the public’s right of access to governmental proceedings and records shall not be unreasonably restricted.

What Jaffrey Decided in 2003 Town Meeting: We approved a warrant article to purchase the AccuVote, with the intention of making things easier for our trusted election officials. We did NOT vote to amend the state constitution, voluntarily give up our voting rights or ignore election laws. Vulnerabilities of the computer became widely known AFTER 2003. (See reverse side).

From Princeton Report, 2007:

“Our demonstration vote-stealing applications can be generalized to steal votes on behalf of a particular party rather than a fixed candidate, to steal votes only in certain elections or only at certain dates or times, to steal votes only or preferentially from certain parties or candidates, to steal a fixed fraction of votes rather than trying to ensure a fixed percentage result, to randomize the percentage of votes stolen, and so on. Even if the attacker knows nothing about the candidates or parties, he may know that he wants to reduce the influence of voters in certain places. He can do this by creating malicious code that randomly switches a percentage of the votes, and installing that code only in those places. Any desired algorithm can be used to determine which votes to steal and to which candidate or candidates to transfer the stolen votes.” 


Pre-election ballot testing does not protect against all AccuVote vulnerabiliies: (test done in test mode, switched to election mode for election. Do you know what happened with VW emissions testing?)

 In recent legal action by Jill Stein to request a recount of the Michigan Presidential race, Poorvil Vora, computer science professor at George Washington University submitted this testimony:

“A voter using an optical scanner marks a paper ballot and feeds it into the scanner. She does not know if it has read her votes correctly.

“… human error can result in the [pre-election ballot] tests not being correctly completed and equipment malfunction can result in the equipment behaving differently on Election Day. Further, a competent attacker would have the system behave as expected when tested, and maliciously during the election.”

Return to Hand Counting: Who Decides, Select Board or Town Meeting?

April 14, 2017

Dear Select Board,

After receiving no response to this question from the Select Board (see Oct. 11, 2016 email copied below), I contacted the Election Law attorney in the Attorney General’s Office (copied on this email). He said he couldn’t tell us, but that the law is clear. 

Since RSA 656:40 uses the term “town,” it appears that either the Select Board OR Town Meeting could decide to return to hand counting. Town Counsel has interpreted the law to mean the Select Board. Two other towns have interpreted the law as meaning the voters.

My conclusion is THAT is the Select Board’s choice. YOU decide whether Town Meeting or the Select Board decides. So far, 96 people have signed the petition asking the Select Board to return to hand counting (with about 46 volunteer counters). IF you decide that Town Meeting should decide, please let me know by April 25. I will inform Jaffrey citizens of your decision, one way or the other, with a letter to the editor. I want to make sure people have accurate information in order to make the best decision for Jaffrey.

Most people I have talked with would prefer continuing using the computer and doing a reasonable check on its accuracy (as the Jaffrey moderator was willing to do in 2010). The Secretary of State does not have the authority to tell moderators they can’t perform their legal duty to the public and make sure the count is accurate.The Secretary of State, Attorney General and the Jaffrey Select Board do not have the authority to tell members of the public they can’t perform their legal duty in making sure the count is accurate. The constitution is our highest law. I do expect governmental officials at all levels to respect it and the rights of ordinary citizens.

I wish the SoS and AG were fulfilling their legal duties to the public, but they have chosen not to do so. I have reported that to the Attorney General. You can guess his response. Maybe with a new AG, there will be a different culture encouraged in that office. Hope so.

So yes, Jaffrey can continue to hide evidence of election fraud/significant error because the Secretary of State and Attorney General want us to, until enough citizens say otherwise. That is the evidence that shows beyond a reasonable doubt that our election system in Jaffrey and NH lacks integrity.

As always, would be glad to talk with any or all of you and find a solution to our democracy problem in Jaffrey.

Response April 25 from Town Manager:

“State law dictates the electronic ballot counters shall be utilized by towns that have adopted their use.  The Select Board intends to continue acting in accordance with State law.”

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