The Invisible Hand — A case study in stripping American citizens of their rights

New questions on election transparency have surfaced in New Hampshire, where the powerful First-In-The-Nation presidential primary will take place in 2012. If New Hampshire is to have its thumb on the scale in presidential politics, transparency needs to be an absolute requirement. In a bizarre chain of events, nontransparency was entered surreptitiously into a New Hampshire statute in 2003.


Ballots are an open record under Colorado law though clerks are fighting the public on this. Marilyn Marks, supported by Black Box Voting, is litigating over wrongful denial of public right to inspect Colorado ballots. This is currently in the Colo. Supreme Court now (Looking good so far … more on that below).

In Wisconsin where a hot political recount is taking place, the public can opt to examine ballots with or without a recount. In Michigan, the public can even take pictures of ballots. In Florida, a consortium of news organizations examined ALL the ballots from the 2000 presidential election. In California, two counties (Humboldt and Yolo) make photocopies of all the ballots available to the public for examination.

But in 2003, New Hampshire ballots were ever-so-quietly EXCLUDED from public right to know. How could this happen?


Black Box Voting director Bev Harris, board member Nancy Tobi, and an extraordinary New Hampshire citizen named Deborah Sumner conducted an investigation this month into New Hampshire’s action to exempt ballots from its Right-to-Know law. What we found was shocking.

From: Deborah Sumner
Subject: The mystery of why ballots are exempted from NH Right to Know Law

“Still trying to track down more info on why ballots were exempted from NH right to know law. It seems to me, if there was any discussion, it was removed from the official record or took place behind closed doors.”

Sumner learned that in 2003 the New Hampshire State Senate sneaked an extraneous amendment into an unrelated bill, HB 627, pertaining to defining domicile to comply with a Help America Vote requirement.

In other words, in a bill about residency requirements for voter registration, suddenly, magically, and out of thin air, an amendment appeared to exclude ballots from New Hampshire right to know law.

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