15 November 2004

Activists question accuracy of optical vote-scan machines

Katharine Webster - November 15, 2004

CONCORD, N.H. -- New Hampshire, home of the first state presidential primary, is about to become a test case for the accuracy of optical scan vote-counting machines -- thanks to third-party presidential candidate Ralph Nader.

Nader has asked for a recount in 11 precincts that use Diebold Inc.'s Accuvote optical scanning machines. Based on the results, his campaign could ask for recounts in other states, spokesman Kevin Zeese said Monday.

Nader doesn't expect to change the outcome: In New Hampshire, Democrat John Kerry defeated President Bush, 50 percent to 49 percent, while Nader got less than 1 percent.

But the former consumer advocate wants to address concerns that the machines are inaccurate or can be tampered with, and New Hampshire is the perfect place to do that because state law requires paper ballots, Zeese said.

"New Hampshire is a smart enough state to have a paper trail," is experienced at recounts and the process is inexpensive, he said.

More than 2,000 people and organizations begged Nader to request a recount after a statistical analysis posted on the Internet showed some New Hampshire precincts using the Accuvote machines gave President Bush up to 15 percent more votes than expected, based on exit polls and the 2000 presidential vote.

The recount either will allay people's fears about voting fraud or help spur reforms, Zeese said.


No comments: