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Nader-requested recount continues in NH

CONCORD, N.H. -- Recounts independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader requested in 11 voting precincts continued to show few changes from original results Monday.
The Boston Globe
November 29, 2004

Ballot counters finished work in 10 of the 11 precincts and were due to finish the last, Salem, before noon Tuesday.

"It looks like a pretty accurate count here in New Hampshire," said Michael Richardson, Nader's representative.

Nader campaign officials have said the recount could expand to other precincts, or even other states, based on the results. But no candidate's tallies have changed enough to affect overall percentages so far.

Richardson and state election officials said the vote gains were largely due to typical counting-machine errors. They included voters circling an oval, instead of filling it in, to choose a candidate.

The largest gain for a presidential candidate has been nearly 25 votes, but gains of 10 votes or fewer have been more common. When one major-party candidate gained, the other also tended to gain.

"There doesn't seem to be any error due to fraud based on what we're seeing here today," Richardson said.

Nader's campaign must decide whether to order more recounts Tuesday.

Nader requested the re-count after an analysis by Michigan programmer Ida Briggs revealed wide differences in voting patterns between the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. About three quarters of the discrepancies came in precincts using Diebold Inc.'s AccuVote optical scanning machines, she said. That prompted the call for a re-count to check the devices' accuracy.

Briggs' analysis highlighted locations where Sen. John Kerry's support was much lower than former Vice President Al Gore's in 2000. Gore lost Litchfield by 8 percentage points, but Kerry lost by 15. In one Manchester ward, Gore won by 8 points, but the candidates were even this year, Briggs said. Kerry carried the state, but Gore didn't.

"It could just be the way it is," she added.

Election officials have said they haven't found significant errors by AccuVote machines in past recounts.

Statewide, Kerry defeated President Bush 50 percent to 49 percent while Nader got less than 1 percent from the state's roughly 300 precincts. The Nader campaign didn't expect to change the outcome.

The re-count began with a one-day session Nov. 18, but went slower than expected. It has cost Nader at least $14,000.

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