By Brian Boyko
UPDATE: Op-Ed News reports that the N.H. Sec. of State has recieved a check for $55,600 from a single anonymous doner to the Howard campaign, and the both the Democratic and Republican N.H. primary recount will proceed. [GAS] has not yet independently verified this information.
The future of a recount in N.H.’s Republican Primary is uncertain – possibly because of PayPal, Inc.
By now, most people have heard of the drive by Dennis Kucinich’s campaign that is raising funds for a recount of the New Hampshire Democratic Primary, which has been marred by accusations of electronic voting fraud from the AccuVote optical ballot scanners, made by Premier Election Solutions (formerly Diebold.) But few know about Republican candidate Albert Howard’s call for a recount of the New Hampshire Republican Primary.
A quick rundown of the issue for the uninitiated: It turns out that voters in New Hampshire whose votes were counted by the AccuVote system were more likely to vote for Clinton than Obama, where in hand-counted precincts, the reverse was true. The prevailing theories are A) Larger cities in New Hampshire were both more likely to use voting machines and more likely to vote Clinton, or B) The voting machines screwed up. However, the voting machines in New Hampshire are only vote scanners, not touchscreen voting machines. That means that there is a paper trail, and it is this paper trail that will be getting the recount.
In order for there to be a recount in New Hampshire, candidates were required to, essentially, put $2000 down and pay for a significant portion of the full cost of the recount by the 15th of January – yesterday, so that the recount can happen today. According to workers in the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s office, Kucinich has paid about $27,000 – a little less than half of the total projected cost of the recount.
Albert Howard has also paid $2000 down, and through the work of a number of groups, including the “Granny Warriors,” a group nominally supporting Ron Paul, it looked like Howard had raised at least $40,000 for the recount via the PayPal service. However, PayPal froze the account, and they have not been able to get the money out of the account before the January 15th deadline, according to a spokesman for the Granny Warriors.
Though details are sketchy at this point, an unconfirmed report states that PayPal froze the account when a $1000 donation came through the service. This doesn’t seem that farfetched, as there have been previous occasions in which PayPal arbitrarily froze funds for obscure reasons.
The Granny Warrior spokesman who I talked to urged me to quickly get off the phone because they were busy waiting for a phone call on the line to resolve this situation.
Speaking with the same worker at the NH Secretary of State’s office, I was told that a Democratic recount was likely to occur, and that the fate of the Republican recount was uncertain.
This is a breaking story and we’ll try to have more updates with more detail as more information becomes available.
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