NH: "First in the nation" (with corporate controlled secret vote counting)
81% of New Hampshire ballots are counted in secret by a private corporation named Diebold Election Systems (now known as "Premier"). The elections run on these machines are programmed by one company, LHS Associates, based in Methuen, MA. We know nothing about the people programming these machines, and we know even less about LHS Associates. We know even less about the secret vote counting software used to tabulate 81% of our ballots. People like to say "but we use paper ballots! They can always be counted by hand!"
But they're not. They're counted by Diebold. Only a candidate can request a hand recount, and most never do so. And a rigged election can easily become a rigged recount, as we learned in Ohio 2004, where two election officials were convicted of rigging their recount. (Is it just a funny coincidence that Diebold spokesman is named Mr. Riggall?)
We need to get the count right on election night. Right now, nobody in New Hampshire, except the programmers at LHS Associates and Diebold Election Systems, knows if we are getting it right or wrong. Our state officials and representatives know this. They learned all about it when computer security specialists Harri Hursti and Bruce Odell testified before the legislative subcommittee on e-voting in September 2007 (Hursti's testimony is shown in this video). Scientific reports about the vulnerabilities and risks with Diebold optical scanners have been available since 2003.
We love our state. It takes courage and strength to admit where we are going wrong and to fix it. May our state officials and representatives find that courage and strength soon. Before we lose the other 19% of our votes.