By Daan de Wit
The world is puzzled by the sudden surge of Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire. For Barack Obama a seven point victory was predicted, yet he lost by three. How could the polls be so wrong? One important thing I learned from writing my 16 part series on (electronic) voting is that polling is a near science and that when the 'real' numbers, i.e. the voting results, all of a sudden differ widely from these polls there is a big chance there is a dead rat nearby. It seems to happen every time when voting results tend to go in a direction that deviates too far off the status quo.
The opening of an article by Fox News yesterday seems like not much is learned from the past: 'Voters in New Hampshire weren't wrong about who they wanted to be the next Democratic presidential nominee, but the pundits, pollsters and even the campaigns completely missed the mark in the run-up to Tuesday's vote'. Followed by: 'Borrowing from an old and familiar playbook, Hillary Clinton pulled off an unexpected win in New Hampshire after five days of slipping poll numbers, accusations of feigned tears and low turnout at campaign events.' Old and familiar indeed. The history of American voting is rife with 'unexpected wins' and experts who 'miss the mark completely'. In the case of Obama and Clinton it seems that counting by hand favoured Obama and counting by Diebold machines favoured Clinton.
Two days ago nobody in New Hampshire's Sutton County had voted for Republican candidate Ron Paul. Then in the live broadcast of CSPAN's Campaign 2008 a caller tells [video] that he personally knows people in Sutton County who have voted for Paul. On Ron Paul Forums a post reads: 'I am from Sutton originally and my parents and one aunt all voted for Ron Paul today and Sutton says 0. So this is wrong. This is a town that had 20 people counting the ballots and I have no reason to believe that they cheated. Small town and I was born and raised there. The real numbers will come in by morning. The electronic machines in the big towns are the ones we have to worry about."' Bev Harris, the single most important activist in the United States on the issue of votefraud contacted Jennifer Call, the head clerk in Sutton County, 'who was forced to admit that the 31 votes Ron Paul received were completely omitted from the final report sheet, claiming "human error" was responsible for the mistake'. Harris is part of the PBS documentary Hacking Democracy.
On Obama's slip and Hillary's surge Brad Friedman, one of the most persistent online reporters writing indepth stories about the American voting process, notes: 'As we know, the presumption is always that the polls were wrong. Never the results'. 'I'm not sure why Obama would have conceded so soon, given the virtually inexplicable turn of events in New Hampshire tonight. What's going on here? Before proceeding, I recommend you read the third section of the post I just ran an hour or so ago, concerning the way the ballots are counted in New Hampshire, largely on Diebold optical-scan voting systems, wholly controlled and programmed by a very very bad company named LHS Associates. [...] the pre-election pollster's numbers (NOTE: that's not Exit Polls, but Pre-Election Polls!) were dead-on, for the most part, on the Republican side, as well as on the Democratic side. Except in the do-or-die (for Hillary) Clinton v. Obama race. [...]'.
Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, the self acclaimed hero of 9/11, scores in three New Hampshire towns 9.11% of the votes.
* Campton - 604 votes
VOTE COUNT METHOD: Hand Counted Paper Ballots
- Giuliani = 55 votes = 9.11%
* Hampton - 3,141 votes
VOTE COUNT METHOD: Diebold Accuvote optical scan ; contractor: LHS Associates/John Silvestro
- Giuliani = 286 votes = 9.11%
* Sandwich - 395 votes
VOTE COUNT METHOD: Hand Counted Paper Ballots
- Giuliani = 36 votes = 9.11%
This coincidence is reminiscent of other coincidences with voting totals in the past. From part 12 of the DeepJournal series on electronic voting: 'When they checked the official voting results themselves, they also discovered that in each of the three-part elections exactly 141,000 votes were cast. For the race for the Senate it was the same thing: in the three election phases, 122,000 votes were cast every time - a statistical impossibility that was repeated again recently. At the elections for the Municipal Council of Comal, Texas in 2002, three Republican candidates received exactly 18,181 votes each. 'Look at that. That's weird', said one of the candidates. In Louisiana in 1995, a candidate happened to receive exactly 33% of the votes in each district.
[...] The first investigation into tampering with voting machines started in 1970, writes the daughter of James Collier. James Collier is the man who, together with his brother Kenneth, published the book Votescam: The Stealing of America . Kenneth Collier joined the race for governor of the State of Florida, but on the evening of the results there was bad news about the computer that was to count the votes. The computer had broken down, and up until that time one trusted the polls. Collier appeared to be able to count on thirty percent of the votes, but when the votes were finally counted, he had only 15 percent. The brothers Collier discovered that this pattern had repeated itself for decades.'
New Hampshire is a crucial state in the American voting process. One of the two Senators representing New Hampshire is the Republican John Sununu. His father is John H. Sununu, the former Govenor of New Hampshire. He was also the White House Chief of Staff for the previous president Bush. He got this position following his involvement in the voting process in New Hampshire in 1988. Was there a connection? Part nine of the DeepJournal series on electronic voting: 'In chapter 23 of George Bush - The Unauthorized Biography, Webster Tarpley writes about the previous president Bush: 'Bush also extended largesse to those who had assisted him in the  election campaign just concluded. At the top of this list was Governor John Sununu of New Hampshire, who would have qualified as the modern Nostradamus for his exact prediction of Bush's 9% margin of victory over Dole in the New Hampshire primary --unless he had helped to arrange it with vote fraud.' 'The Sununu machine deliverd exactly as promised, securing the governor the post of White House chief of staff', writes Tarpley.
[...] we now have modems installed in a goodly number of voting machines. People have observed voting machine company employees re-booting a voting machine by merely dialing a number on a cell phone. [...] There is a story in the book "Votescam," by James and Kenneth Collier, relating how George H. W. Bush, during the 1988 Presidential Primary season, lost to Bob Dole in the Iowa caucuses and was behind 8 percentage points in the New Hampshire Primary in the week before the voting. He made a telephone call to computer expert and Governor John [Sununu], and - lo and behold - when the polls closed on primary night the pollsters were dumbfounded. Bush won by 9 percentage points', writes Online Journal.'
There is more on New Hampshire in part nine: 'In New Hampshire in 1988, candidate Pat Robertson ended up with the lowest vote tally. Just two weeks prior to a subsequent primary in heavily-Christian South Carolina, the Jimmy Swaggart sex scandal broke out. Jimmy Swaggart was a fellow TV-evangelist of Robertson's, and the public still had libertine TV-evangelist Jim Bakker on their minds. 'Talking to reporters, Robertson pointed to "the evidence that two weeks before the primary... it suddenly comes to light." Robertson added that the Bush campaign was prone to "sleazy" tricks, and suggested that his own last-place finish in New Hampshire was "quite possibly" the result of "dirty tricks" by the Bush campaign.'
In 1980 George H. W. Bush battled Reagan for the candidacy of the Republican Party. From part 12 of the DeepJournal series on electronic voting: 'The late William Loeb, publisher of The Union Leader wrote: 'The Bush operation in Iowa had all the smell of a CIA covert operation....Strange aspects of the Iowa operation [included] a long, slow count and then the computers broke down at a very convenient point, with Bush having a six per cent bulge over Reagan'. Later Bush helped Reagan win the presidency and win himself the vice-presidency with the October Surprise: Iran promised Bush to hold the Americans in Tehran hostage some time longer, making sure president Carter lost the elections to Reagan and Bush; Iran would receive millions in cash and the opportunity to buy weapons. Read more about this operation in an article I wrote about this deal between Bush and Iran.
John Kerry lost to George W. Bush in 2004. At least, according to official history. From part 12 of the DeepJournal series on electronic voting: 'By Tuesday afternoon, November the 2nd, it was clear for anyone that followed the polls closely: Kerry would become the new president of the United States. Bush's operatives informed him that he was three percent behind. Stock exchange watchers noticed how Wall Street was already reacting to the coming change of power. Steve Coll, managing editor of The Washington Post writes the day after the elections that the polls were clearly pointing to Kerry as the winner and that he (Coll) had to scramble when the official outcome was different. [...] FOX TV commentator and poll expert Dick Morris carefully explains in an article ow reliable polls are these days. Then he expresses his disbelief concerning the failure of predicting the correct election results of no less than six states. He writes: 'It invites speculation that more than honest error was at play here.' In his conclusion he writes: 'This was no mere mistake. Exit polls cannot be as wrong across the board as they were on election night. I suspect foul play'. The pollsters are under fire, but the question is whether this is appropriate. Possibly there is nothing wrong with the polls, but with the official outcome.
[...] Associate Professor of English Michael Keefer notices a 'mathematical impossibility' as he compares the results of the national exit polls and the number of respondents. This number had hardly increased, but at the last moment an extra 5% voted for Bush. Former Associate Professor of Mathematics David Anick of MIT has calculated 'the odds of Bush making an average gain of 4.15 percent among all 16 states included in the media's 4 p.m. exit polling' at 1 in 50,000, or .002 percent. Steven Freeman, a specialist in research methods who received his Ph.D. at MIT, made an analysis [PDF] of the discrepancies between the exit polls and the official polls. In his summary he writes that it is not his goal to demonstrate election fraud. He does write that the observed discrepancies in the three 'swing states' cannot be explained by coincidence or mistakes. It's not yet clear to him how this can happen. [...]'
From the intro to part 14 of the DeepJournal series on electronic voting in the 2004 election: 'Scientific analysis shows a statistically unexplainable large gap between the results of the American presidential elections and the exit polls. 'Scientific Analysis Suggests Presidential Vote Counts May Have Been Altered', concludes US Counts Votes in reference to the report (PDF) 'Analysis of the 2004 Presidential Election Poll Discrepancies'. The report was written by the National Election Data Archive Project, consisting of a large number of competent professors.'
On the 2000 election, where Bush beat Gore, I wrote in the earlier parts of the series, part 3: ''Now it's unofficial: Gore did win Florida' [headlines] The Guardian [...] 'As George W. Bush handed further key government posts to hardline Republican right-wingers, an unofficial recount of votes in Florida appeared to confirm that Bush lost the US presidential election.' In part 5 on Gore/Bush I quote Eric Alterman from his article 'Buried truth of a flawed election': '[...] it put the wrong man in the White House'. Alterman writes further: ' 'As the Associated Press report put it, “In the review of all the state's disputed ballots, Gore edged ahead under all six scenarios for counting all undervotes and overvotes statewide.” In other words, he got more votes than George Bush'. Alterman concludes: 'No matter how you count it, if everyone who legally voted in Florida had had a chance to see their vote matter, Al Gore would be sitting in the Oval Office today.'