The core issue with electronic vote counting, is can we use it and protect our right to have our votes counted and reported accurately and know that has happened?
The answer clearly is “yes,” but the answer I have continued to get from Jaffrey officials since 2010 is “the secretary of state doesn’t want us to so we won’t.”
As a former teacher, my 4th-graders sometimes used the excuse “so and so told me to do it.” I would ask, “if so and so told you to jump off the school roof, would you do it?”
My students were capable of developing and using independent judgment, a crucial skill in democratic self-governance.
Jaffrey, state officials and the N.H. Senate know that, even with pre-election testing, the AccuVote can: 1) count our votes as fractions; 2) switch them to another candidate; 3) not count them at all.
They know the law requires the moderator to oversee a publicly observable vote count on election night and make sure the count reported to Concord is accurate.
I wish the Jaffrey moderator and selectboard had said to the secretary of state: “It’s our job to make sure the rights of voters and candidates are protected and we believe that is the intent of our state constitution and election laws.”
Since 2010, I have completely lost confidence in Jaffrey and New Hampshire elections and in our officials, who are supposed to be protecting our rights, votes and elections.
I have asked the N.H. Senate, “Does everyone in New Hampshire have to completely lose confidence in our elections before we can begin to change this?” Their silence says, “yes.” The majority, including Sen. Andy Sanborn, showed it won’t stand up to the secretary of state and protect our voting rights.
In Cheshire County, Keene and seven towns use the AccuVote machines. I encourage people to start talking with others about returning to hand counted, local control of our elections. Many people in Jaffrey remember that experience positively and prefer it.
Check out Nancy Tobi’s “Hands-on Elections,” available at your library or through interlibrary loan. I believe it will be less expensive and we will have reason to trust our election results.
The alternative being recommended by experts is a “risk-limited audit” (to ensure a 95 percent chance the election winner is the real one) at additional costs, time and controlled by the same people who have shown such stubborn disrespect for our votes, our voice in the political process.