Written by Richard Hayes Phillips, Ph.D.

Friday, 27 November 2009 12:14

CANTON, NY – As reported earlier this week, the St. Lawrence County Board of
Elections has certified impossible numbers in the special election for New
York’s 23rd Congressional District. 93
“phantom votes,” more votes counted than the number of ballots cast, were
reported in six election districts, and negative numbers reported for the
“blank ballots,” or “undervotes.”

Such numbers are a red flag, indicating that something is terribly
wrong with the electronic vote tabulation system countywide. Further scrutiny of the election results
reveals numerous precincts where the results, although not always
mathematically impossible, are not credible.

On Friday, November 6, three days after the election, one of
the involved campaigns obtained from the Board of Elections a spreadsheet of
the preliminary (unofficial) election results, precinct by precinct. Absentee ballots had not yet been counted. This serves as an important “snapshot” with
which to compare the final (certified) results.

As previously reported, voting machine failures at eight
polling places in St. Lawrence County caused the Board of Elections to hand
count those ballots. Realistically,
there was no other choice but to do so.
According to the Board, the locked voting machines were transported to a
warehouse in Canton where the ballots were counted by hand. The problem with this procedure is that it
is illegal under § 9-100 of New York State Election Law, which requires that
the votes be counted at the polling place:

§
9-100 At the close of the polls the
inspectors of election shall, in the order set forth herein, lock the machine
against voting, account for the paper ballots, canvass the machine, cast and
canvass all the ballots, canvass and ascertain the total vote and they shall
not adjourn until the canvass be fully completed.

An audit of the poll books and absentee voter lists for
these eight polling places reveals that the final vote count cannot be correct
in two of them. In Massena’s 1st and
2nd districts, there were 565 actual voters at the polls and 26 absentee
ballots, for a total of 591; but there were 575 votes counted for Congress and
11 “blank” ballots, for a total of 586, which indicates that 5 ballots were not
counted. In Rossie, there were 138
actual voters at the polls and 6 absentee ballots, for a total of 144; but
there were 147 votes counted for Congress and 4 “blank” ballots, for a total of
151, which indicates that 7 extra votes were counted.

For three of these polling places, the preliminary hand
count could not have been correct. In Louisville, there were 885 actual voters
at the polls, but only 691 votes were counted for Congress on Election
Night. In Waddington, there were 754
actual voters at the polls, but only 347 votes were counted for Congress on
Election Night. In Rossie, there were
138 actual voters at the polls, but only 94 votes were counted for Congress on
Election Night. 53 votes were counted
later. Bill Owens got 50 of them.

One possible reason for the short counts on Election Night
is that the Sequoia/Dominion ImageCast machines have two slots and two bins for
ballots. There is a slot which sucks a
ballot into the optical scanner, much like a dollar bill is sucked into a
vending machine, and after the ballot is scanned it drops into a locked
box. There is another slot in the front
of the machine which can be opened when the scanner breaks down and emergency
paper ballots need to be segregated and counted by hand; these ballots drop
into a separate locked box. It is
possible that the Board of Elections initially counted the ballots from one box
but not the other. But this is
precisely why § 9-102.3(b) of New York State Election Law requires that the
ballots be counted in public at the polling place, and why § 9-108.1 requires
that the number of ballots be cross-checked with the poll books to be sure that
all the ballots have been counted.

§ 9-102.3(b) Paper ballots and
emergency ballots cast during voting machine breakdowns which have been voted
shall then be canvassed and tallied, the vote thereon for each candidate and
ballot proposal, announced and added to the vote as recorded on the return of
canvass.

§ 9-108.1 The board of
inspectors, at the beginning of the canvass, shall count the ballots found in
each ballot box without unfolding them, except so far as to ascertain that each
ballot is single, and shall compare the number of ballots found in each box
with the number shown by the registration poll records, and the ballot returns
to have been deposited therein.

Another problem with these voting machines is that it is
mechanically possible to open both ballot slots, and both locked boxes, even
while the optical scanner is operating.
This opens the possibility that ballots could be deposited into the
wrong ballot box, inadvertently or deliberately, and never be counted. An eyewitness who voted at the only polling
place in Russell told me that she was not allowed to place her own ballot in
the machine; a poll worker examined her ballot and placed it into the machine
for her. This caused her to be
concerned about both the privacy of her vote and the security of the vote
count.

As previously reported, the number of “blank” ballots, or
“undervotes,” is calculated by subtracting the number of votes counted for a
given office from the total number of ballots cast. In the Congressional race, the highest percentage of “blank”
ballots anywhere in St. Lawrence County was in Russell’s 2nd district. According to the poll book there were 590
actual voters at the polls, and there were 9 absentee ballots, for a total of
599, in Russell’s 1st and 2nd districts combined. According to the certified results there were 334 ballots cast,
of which 19 (5.7%) were blank, in the 1st district, and 264 ballots cast, of
which 29 (11.0%) were blank, in the 2nd district. It is highly unlikely that 11% of the voters made no choice among
three candidates in one of the most hotly contested races in the nation.

And these numbers are a minimum. As previously reported, “phantom votes,” which are votes counted
for an office with no actual voter, have corrupted the vote count in St.
Lawrence County. “Blank” ballots, which
are ballots cast with no vote the office, are the exact opposite; and as shown
in Oswegatchie, they cancel each other out.
For every “phantom vote” that enters the system, a “blank” is subtracted
from the totals.

The second-highest percentage of “blank” ballots for
Congress was in Hammond. According to
the poll book there were 569 actual voters at the polls, and there were 81
absentee ballots, for a total of 650.
According to the certified results there were 646 ballots cast, of which
60 (9.3%) were blank – again, a highly unlikely percentage for a hotly
contested race. Moreover, the
preliminary (unofficial) results had shown 305 votes for Owens, 206 for
Hoffman, and 37 for Scozzafava. The
final (certified) results show 298 votes for Owens, 228 votes for Hoffman, and
60 votes for Scozzafava. The
difference, which should represent the 81 absentee ballots, is -7 for Owens, 22
for Hoffman, 23 for Scozzafava, and, by subtraction, 43 blanks. Whether the drop in Owens’ vote total is an
error or a correction is unknown. But
there is simply no way that 43 (or even 36) of 81 voters who took the time and
effort to cast an absentee ballot made no choice for Congress.

Hammond is not the only polling place where one candidate or
another managed to lose votes subsequent to Election Day.

* In DeKalb’s 1st
district, where there were 355 actual voters at the polls, the preliminary
(unofficial) results had shown 201 votes for Owens, 128 for Hoffman, and 26 for
Scozzafava. The final (certified)
results show 189 votes for Owens, 132 votes for Hoffman, and 34 votes for
Scozzafava. The difference, which
should represent 16 absentee ballots, is -12 for Owens, 4 for Hoffman, and 8
for Scozzafava – a net increase of no votes at all.

* In Lisbon’s 1st
district, the preliminary (unofficial) results had shown 146 votes for Owens,
149 for Hoffman, and 13 for Scozzafava.
The final (certified) results show 121 votes for Owens, 159 for Hoffman,
and 19 for Scozzafava. The difference,
which should represent 19 absentee ballots, is -25 for Owens, 10 for Hoffman,
and 6 for Scozzafava, shows instead a net decrease of nine votes.

* In Massena’s
9th district, the preliminary (unofficial) results had shown 108 votes for
Owens, 87 for Hoffman, and 2 for Scozzafava.
The final (certified) results show 119 votes for Owens, 69 for Hoffman,
and 4 for Scozzafava. The difference,
which should represent 11 absentee ballots, is 11 for Owens, -18 for Hoffman,
and 2 for Scozzafava – a net decrease of five votes.

There are also places where more, not fewer, votes were
added to the totals than can be explained by the reported number of absentee
ballots. This happened in 43 of 102
election districts. In 31 cases the
discrepancy was only one or two votes, which could easily be due to corrections
made during recanvassing of the vote totals as required by law. But some examples are not so easily
explained.

* In Ogdensburg’s
1st district, where there were 305 actual voters at the polls, the preliminary
(unofficial) results had shown 141 votes for Owens, 103 for Hoffman, and 10 for
Scozzafava. The final (certified) results show 167 votes for Owens, 119 for
Hoffman, and 16 for Scozzafava. The
difference, which should represent 9 absentee ballots, is 26 for Owens, 16 for
Hoffman, and 6 for Scozzafava – a net increase of 48 votes. Even now, there are reportedly 16 blank
ballots out of 318, or 5.0% of the total.
Altogether, 318 is four votes too many.
But more importantly, the electronic vote count on Election Night was
short by 51 votes, or 16.7% of the actual total of 305. Either these were initially counted as
blanks, or not counted at all, or some combination of the two.

* In Lisbon’s 2nd
district, the preliminary (unofficial) results had shown 114 votes for Owens,
110 for Hoffman, and 9 for Scozzafava.
The final (certified) results show 116 votes for Owens, 133 for Hoffman,
and 12 for Scozzafava. The difference,
which should represent 7 absentee ballots, is 2 for Owens, 23 for Hoffman, and
3 for Scozzafava – a net increase of 28 votes.
Thus the electronic vote count on Election Night was short by at least
21 votes, or 8.3% of the actual total.
(The poll books do not reveal the precise number of voters at the polls,
because Lisbon was a multiple-precinct polling place, as were Massena’s 9th and
10th districts).

* In Canton’s 9th
district, where there were 323 actual voters at the polls, the preliminary
(unofficial) results had shown 221 votes for Owens, 83 for Hoffman, and 10 for
Scozzafava. The final (certified)
results show 242 votes for Owens, 91 for Hoffman, and 22 for Scozzafava. The difference, which should represent 33
absentee ballots, for a total of 356, is 21 for Owens, 8 for Hoffman, and 12
for Scozzafava – a net increase of 41 votes.
Even now there are reportedly 6 blank ballots out of a total of 362, which
is exactly six votes too many. The
electronic vote count on Election Night was short by nine; either these were
initially counted as blanks, or not counted at all, or some combination of the
two. But more importantly, if there
were any “phantom votes” in the system, as occurred in Canton’s 2nd, 4th, 6th
and 7th districts, we have no way of knowing because the machine reported more
“blanks” or “undervotes” than “phantom votes” and cancelled them out.

More examples, with somewhat less egregious numbers, could
be cited for all of the categories presented in this article. But it suffices to show that, in addition to
the six districts where “phantom votes” appeared in the certified results
(Canton’s 2nd, 4th, 6th and 7th districts, Massena’s 14th district, and
Oswegatchie’s 2nd district), there were suspiciously high percentages of
“blank” ballots reported in Russell’s 2nd district and in Hammond;
extraordinary declines in the vote totals subsequent to Election Day in
DeKalb’s 1st district, Lisbon’s 1st district, and Massena’s 9th district; and
lost votes on Election Night in Ogdensburg’s 1st district, Lisbon’s 2nd
district, and Canton’s 9th district.
Each of these fourteen corruptions of the vote count can be attributed
to false electronic vote tabulation.
Together with the breakdown or freezing of the Sequoia/Dominion
ImageCast voting machines at eight polling places, there is more than enough
evidence in St. Lawrence County alone to show that the court-ordered “pilot”
election in New York’s 23rd Congressional District was an utter failure, and
that the time-tested lever machines were much more reliable.

Richard Hayes Phillips, Ph.D., is one of the leading
election fraud investigators in the United States. His book on the 2004 Ohio election, Witness to a Crime: A
Citizens’ Audit of an American Election, based on examination of some 30,000
photographs of actual ballots, poll books, and other election records, is
available at http://www.witnesstoacrime.com

Last Updated on Friday, 27 November 2009 15:12