2016 Petition/Applicable State Laws

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Deborah Sumner

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Sep 2, 2016, 6:16:21 AM9/2/16
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Petition to Jaffrey Select Board 2016-17

We care that our and our neighbors’ votes are counted and reported according to voter intent (RSA 659:64). We care about following and enforcing election laws that make it more likely that will happen (RSA 659:60-63). 

We believe the Jaffrey community is better able to protect rights of voters and candidates, our votes and our elections if our ballots are publicly counted and are under community supervision as our NH Constitution (Part II, Art. 32) requires.

Therefore, we the undersigned registered voters of Jaffrey respectfully direct our Select Board to exercise its authority under RSA 656:40 (as interpreted by Jaffrey’s legal counsel in 2012 and 2013 Town Meetings) to return to the hand count option, beginning with the November 2016 election. 

We recommend that each counting team include a Republican, Democrat and Undeclared voter. 
(A check mark beside names indicates a willingness to help count ballots.)

Applicable State laws:

RSA 659:60 Duties of Moderator. – The moderator, or the moderator pro tempore if the moderator is disqualified under RSA 658:24, shall oversee the counting of votes by other election officers, including the selectmen and the town clerk, and may discharge any other duties relating to the counting of votes.

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 659:64 Determining Intention of Voter. – If a ballot is marked for any office in a way which does not readily admit of counting or if a disagreement over how to count the ballot for any office occurs among the election officers present and counting votes, then the ballot shall be counted for that office in accordance with the majority vote of the election officials present and counting votes; provided that, if no alternative count receives a majority vote, the ballot shall be regarded as defective for that office as provided in RSA 659:65.

[Art.] 32. [Biennial Meetings, How Warned, Governed, and Conducted; Return of Votes, etc.] The meetings for the choice of governor, council and senators, shall be warned by warrant from the selectmen, and governed by a moderator, who shall, in the presence of the selectmen… in open meeting, receive the votes … in said meetings, sort and count the said votes, and make a public declaration thereof with the name of every person voted for, and the number of votes for each person; and the town or city clerk shall make a fair record of the same… and shall make out a fair attested copy thereof…

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.

Letter to Editor, sent Sept. 2, 2016

To the editor:

Two questions for Jaffrey voters:

            1. Do you care about your vote?

            2. Do you care about mine?

If you answer yes to both, please look for the sign that says “Vote for your vote to be counted” outside the polls on Sept. 13 and sign a petition that respectfully directs our Select Board to return to hand counting ballots beginning with the November elections.

Why?

            1. The AccuVote computer has multiple risk factors that allow votes to be lost or altered. Since 2010, I have provided our officials with well-documented evidence to prove pre-election ballot testing and recounts are not sufficient to ensure accurate election night counts. I have shown them how other communities are protecting against these risks. Yet, Jaffrey is still not doing so.

            2. Before we began using the computer in 2004, counting ballots contributed to a strong, positive sense of community. Republicans and Democrats worked together to get the count right. Anyone remember that? I do.

            3. It will eliminate programming costs for each election and should save the town money. Cost for ballot counters and printing local election ballots will benefit the local economy.

            4. See my Aug. 16 communication with town officials and request for Attorney General investigation posted on Jaffrey Voices Google Group. Subject: ”Latest Reports:Electoral System in Crisis, Democracy Lost and Fraction Magic.” Check out the links included there.

You can find petition wording and applicable laws in the first posting on Jaffrey Voices. Please help spread the word.

SelPetiition2016.pdf
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