Can You Count on Voting Machines?
January 6, 2008, New York Times

As the primaries start in New Hampshire this week and roll on through the next few months, the erratic behavior of voting technology will once again find itself under a microscope. In the last three election cycles, touch-screen machines have become one of the most mysterious and divisive elements in modern electoral politics. In hundreds of instances … they [have failed] unpredictably, and in extremely strange ways; voters report that their choices “flip” from one candidate to another before their eyes; machines crash or begin to count backward; votes simply vanish. Most famously, in the November 2006 Congressional election in Sarasota, Fla., touch-screen machines recorded an 18,000-person “undervote” for a race decided by fewer than 400 votes. The earliest critiques of digital voting booths came from the fringe – disgruntled citizens and … computer geeks – but the fears have now risen to the highest levels of government. One by one, states are renouncing the use of touch-screen voting machines. California and Florida decided to get rid of their electronic voting machines last spring, and last month, Colorado decertified about half of its touch-screen devices. Also last month, Jennifer Brunner, the Ohio secretary of state, released a report in the wake of the Cuyahoga crashes arguing that touch-screens “may jeopardize the integrity of the voting process.” She was so worried she is now forcing Cuyahoga to scrap its touch-screen machines and go back to paper-based voting – before the Ohio primary, scheduled for March 4. Michael Shamos, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University who has examined voting-machine systems for more than 25 years, estimates that about 10 percent of the touch-screen machines “fail” in each election.
How did pollsters blow it in Clinton-Obama race?
January 10, 2008, Seattle Times

For days, poll after poll showed Illinois Sen. Barack Obama opening a big lead heading into the New Hampshire Democratic primary. But when the votes were counted, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton won. Even she seemed surprised. Were the polls all wrong? Did the pollsters misjudge how many women would vote? Did voters lie when pollsters called? Regardless of the answers, many analysts urged a post-mortem to figure out what the heck happened in New Hampshire. “It is simply unprecedented for so many polls to have been so wrong,” said Gary Langer, the polling director for ABC News, in a memo posted at his Web site . “We need to know why.” Pollsters accurately predicted John McCain’s comeback win in the GOP race. They nailed John Edwards’ third-place finish among Democrats. But at least a dozen polls had the senator from Illinois defeating Clinton, almost all showing Obama gaining and opening a lead on Clinton. One survey for C-SPAN and Reuters showed Obama up 42-29 percent over Clinton. Six public polls for news media and universities showed him with an average lead of 8.3 percentage points. None showed Clinton close, let alone ahead. Yet she beat Obama by 39-36 percent. So what happened? A number of bloggers Wednesday cited the “wildly inaccurate” polls as evidence that the vote was rigged. “Other folks that I’ve spoken to … share my concern at this hour,” wrote blogger Brad Friedman, a Los Angeles-based election-fraud watchdog, on . Bloggers across the nation keyed into the fact that 81 percent of New Hampshire votes were being counted on machines that an HBO documentary alleged are easily hacked.

Note: The Los Angeles Times exit poll,0,7161708.htmlstory showed Obama with 44% and Clinton with 35%. Many experts claim that polls can not be off that much. A Washington Post blog mentions the interesting fact “Vote tallies from the New Hampshire Secretary of State show that she won by 4.23 percentage points in the counties using Diebold optical scanners, but lost by 5.81 points in those where paper ballots are counted by hand.” For lots more on voting manipulation, click here . The HBO documentary available here  is also highly revealing.