Massachusetts, one of the participating states for the Super Tuesday election results, may need further scrutiny to allay concerns over election fraud using electronic voting machines. 68 out of the state’s 351 jurisdictions used hand counted ballots and showed a much larger preference of 17% for Bernie Sanders than the rest of the jurisdictions tabulated by electronic voting machine vendors ES&S, Diebold and Dominion. Hillary Clinton was declared the winner of Massachusetts by 1.42 %.
Election integrity activists John Brakey and Jim March investigated Scott Brown’s upset victory over Martha Coakley to replace Senator Ted Kennedy’s seat in 2010. They found a similar difference between hand counted paper ballots and those jurisdictions using machine tabulators. At that time, 71 out of 351 voting districts were using hand counted ballots and they favored Coakley over Brown by 4.44% despite Brown’s declared victory throughout the state by 5%.
Brakey and March discovered that election officials tend to have an unsettling reliance on election vendors. In fact, when one election official in Boston was asked if it was possible to examine their database files (called mdb, which is short for Microsoft data base files), that official then asked, “What are mdb files?” Those that understand the process know that mdb files are an integral part of the tabulation process that should be overseen by the election officials. March and Brakey were told by this election official that “the vendors handle that stuff” (I was with them during this exchange). Another common statement repeated by officials in Diebold precincts was: “We don’t have Diebold here, we have AccuVote”. They simply don’t know that Diebold’s optical scanners are called “AccuVote”. In addition, LHS, the company that represents Diebold, actually have their vendors’ technicians loading the memory cards prior to tabulating the results.
Why are hand counted jurisdictions so far out of step with the rest of the State of Massachusetts? The smaller precincts appear to be from more rural, less densely populated areas of the state. As Jonathon Simon, a Massachusetts resident and author of the book “Code Red”, suggests:
The Clinton/Sanders numbers in MA are obviously egregious, a much greater Opscan/Handcount disparity than the 8% in Coakley/Brown. The problem is that for Coakley/Brown we had some very good baselines (prior noncompetitive Senate contests and a prior noncompetitive Coakley race for AG, as well as Registration by Party). I’m not aware of any baselines for Clinton/Sanders, so we face the problem of demonstrating that those crazy rural (and whiter) Democrats in MA didn’t just “feel the Bern.” It is not particularly intuitive that Handcountville went legitimately so much stronger for Bernie, but we all know where “intuitive” conclusions get us with media/pols/public!
What would be powerful … would be the selection of a few suspect precincts for full hand-count to compare with the Dominion numbers.
From the chart below, you can see that Dominion jurisdictions favored Clinton over Sanders by 5%. As more people are becoming aware of the potential for rigging in electronic voting technology, they are speaking out publicly and addressing campaigns by urging them to scrutinize election results. Beth Clarkson, a well know statistician in Kansas, has discovered from graphs of Oklahoma primary results that “as the number of votes cast in a precinct increases, so does the vote share for the candidate favored by the Washington establishment.” She believes this pattern is “consistent with election rigging” and she has written an open letter to warn Bernie Sanders. Other Sanders fans seem attuned to election fraud and began circulating petitions demanding an audit of the Iowa Caucus, which prematurely declared Clinton as the victor in that states caucus vote.
Regardless of who your prize candidate may be, it’s time to get on your hind legs and demand verifiable transparent elections, especially if your candidate is not the establishment’s choice.
For more information of what we found in Massachusetts, see the pilot episode of Election Nightmares:
Chart constructed by John Brakey.