Integrity and Credibility in Massachusetts

Stories from the Detroit< FreePress and BradBlog about the possibility of the election in Massachusetts being stolen by Democrats or Republicans <BradBlog> <FreePress>

From BradBlog:

The near-entirety of the state will vote next Tuesday on paper ballots to be counted by Diebold op-scan systems. The same ones used dubiously in the New Hampshire Primary in 2008, and the same ones notoriously hacked — resulting in a flipped mock election — in HBO’s Emmy-nominated Hacking Democracy.

And to make matters even worse, the notorious LHS Associates — the private company with the criminal background that has admitted to illegally tampering with memory cards during elections, and which has a Director of Sales and Marketing who embarrassed himself with obscene comments here at The BRAD BLOG some years ago, resulting in his being barred from CT by their Sec. of State — sells and services almost all of MA’s voting machines along with those in the rest of New England.

From the FreePress:

In Massachusetts, a recount only occurs if the final results are less than half of one percent, and as election reform activist John Bonifaz points out, Massachusetts does not require random audits of the computerized vote counting machines to compare the computer results to the optical scan ballots marked by the voters. Bonifaz notes that in the Al Franken-Norm Coleman Minnesota Senate race in 2008, “everything was ultimately hand-counted.” The problem in Massachusetts hinges on whether the race is close enough to trigger a recount, which candidates can peition for within thirty days…

Given the Democratic party’s astonishing lack of leadership on so many issues, it is entirely possible that Scott Brown could legitimately beat Martha Coakley in this election.

But it is also possible that the outcome could be manipulated by the companies in control of the registration rolls and vote counts. It will be up to citizen election protection activists to make sure that doesn’t happen yet again.

Perhaps the election will be close, less than 0.5% with a very careful recount or a runaway for one side or the other.  But otherwise the 1st casualty will be credibility.  No matter who wins there are likely to be unsatisfactorily answered questions.  Massachusetts, like all states, needs effective, credible post-election audits along with a  strong, transparent chain-of-custody.  Ironically Massachusetts has paper ballots and was used as proof of the reliability of Diebold equipment and LHS service, because no problems had been discovered after years of use – but without post-election audits how would problems be recognized?

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