LHS Associates

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LHS Associates is a New England election contractor, responsible for setting up voting machines throughout most of the region. Maintaining custody of the machines and sole authority to program them, their activities are shrouded in secrecy, immune to public records law. Following two suspicious New England elections (the 2008 NH primary and 2010 MA special election), LHS has attracted a lot of scrutiny. Investigative research has found that they employ criminals and flout election integrity procedures, making their role all the more concerning.

History

Local service provider

LHS Associates was founded in 1972 as Lynn Haas Services by K. Lynn Haas and Richard G. Schwedler. Their original location was Andover MA.[1] LHS provided various computer services to Massachusetts municipalities, such as voter rolls, tax billing, jury lists, and census processing.[2]

Entering the elections industry

Providing voter rolls led LHS into the election services industry. In 1985, they began selling optical scanners, which became their primary business from then on. LHS was first the New England representative of Business Records Corporation, a corporate ancestor of ES&S. Then they became a distributor of Sequoia's punch card systems for about 6 years.[2]

Global/Diebold contract

In 1991, LHS signed on as the New England distributor for Global Election Systems, the precursor to Premier/Diebold. They started selling the AccuVote OS in 1992, which came to be adopted by nearly all the towns in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, and Maine. LHS's role became programming the election info onto the memory cards (using VTS or GEMS), doing support and repair services on election day, and providing ballots to towns.[2]

John Silvestro remained in contact with Global throughout the 1990s and into the early 2000s. Internal emails from Global showed him receiving monthly news releases from late 2000, which were also sent to Global executive Jeffrey Dean and other Global distributors such as Governmental Business Systems.[3][4] Another email involved Silvestro making a feature request for the AccuVote TSx to get it certified in Massachusetts.[5] Some New England election integrity activists alleged that Silvestro had a "long-time association" with Dean, who was a convicted embezzler before getting the job of overseeing Global's production. They claimed to possess evidence which they passed along to the New Hampshire Secretary of State. Silvestro denied even knowing Dean under oath.[6]

When Global was bought by Diebold in 2002, becoming Diebold Election Systems, LHS continued to be their distributor.

21st century controversies

Employees

Board of directors

  • President: ????, John Silvestro (????-2012), Jeff Silvestro (2012-present)
  • Vice president: Gerry Bergeron (1980-present)[7]
  • Treasurer: ????, John Silvestro (????-present)

Executives

Controversies

Conflicts of interest

John Silvestro and Ken Hajjar were both active in Londonderry politics while working at LHS. They served on many local committees, including together on the Budget Committee, and Silvestro was a town councilor. Silvestro and Hajjar's involvement in local politics was a major conflict of interest with their LHS jobs. They had an incentive to manipulate town politics in their favor (especially since LHS itself was paid by the town[8]), and LHS's control over elections left them the tempting means to do so. Numerous elections, from their own races to town referenda, would have been desirable targets to rig. A disturbing incident illustrated their lack of ethical scruples about election fraud: Hajjar's 1999 threat to rig a ballot measure, and Silvestro's dismissive anger towards those who informed him of it.

Violating election law

[9]

Disregarding election integrity

Ken Hajjar's criminal record

Suspect elections

2008 New Hampshire primary

Main article: 2008 New Hampshire primary

2010 Massachusetts special

Main article: 2010 Massachusetts special election

2016 Massachusetts Dem primary

Political connections

Corporate connections

References

  1. LHS corporate records in MA
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Interview with John Silvestro
  3. GES news release in Nov 2000 sent to Silvestro
  4. GES news release in Dec 2000 sent to Silvestro
  5. Feature request from Silvestro to GES
  6. Alleged long-time association between Silvestro and Dean (TODO: Verify this)
  7. Gerry Bergeron's Facebook page
  8. Silvestro recommends doubling town expenditures on LHS
  9. LHS swapped out memory cards in CT

External links

Original owners

GES emails

NH officials and fraud

  • Discussion with Debbie Sumner on 2016/08/28 about LHS Associates and its influence
    • "Not aware of other LHS employees with criminal backgrounds. Citizens once asked the state to do background checks on LHS employees, but it didn't happen. LHS calls the shots in NH. One thing that might be good for you to know is that LHS has no lobbyist working for them in Concord. Don't need one, evidently. They did have one in Connecticut, the only New England state that has any oversight of their elections."
    • "NH has long had the reputation of having a "good old boys system." You take care of your friends and look the other way when you see something that shouldn't be happening. Not all election officials are part of that club, but as it turns out, many local officials are also state representatives. That includes election moderators."
  • Secretary of State Bill Gardner
    • According to a 2012/01/23 post by Bev Harris, SoS Bill Gardner has been perpetually installed by the NH legislature in secret for decades: "The article below contains a report that Sec. State Bill Gardner wants voter ID in New Hampshire, a position very much at odds with the Democratic Party platform. Gardner represents himself as a Democrat, but that may never have been the case. Gardner first ran for office in his 20s, in a ward where there happened to be no opponent in the Democratic race. He ran as an unopposed Democrat while his college frat brother, Robert Ambrose, ran as a Republican.

      When Gardner was elected Secretary of State, it was not a public vote but instead a vote by the New Hampshire legislature. This vote was conducted in secret, and the secrecy of the legislator's votes was the source of much contention, dragging the process into extra days. Ever since, every time Gardner is voted in by the NH legislature, it's in a secret vote. The public never gets a chance to vote. The legislators never have to account for their vote.

      Together with Ambrose, who he appointed "Senior Deputy Secretary of State", Gardner went on to hold the office for over 30 years. He and Ambrose were fraternity buddies together at University of New Hampshire, in a controversial era where students were far more interested in Viet Nam and civil rights conflicts than frat life. The fraternity was so out of the mainstream of student life that it closed down.

      All this to say, we've always wondered whether Gardner is a Democrat for real, or simply ran as a Democrat because (a) he had no opponent or (b) it was strategic."
    • Concord Monitor, "Five former N.H. governors endorse Bill Gardner for secretary of state", 2018/11/29
      • "Five former governors – four Republicans and one Democrat – are backing Bill Gardner’s bid for a 22nd two-year term as New Hampshire’s top election official.

        The governors – Republicans John H. Sununu (1983-89), Judd Gregg (1989-93), Steve Merrill (1993-97) and Craig Benson (2003-05), with Democrat John Lynch (2005-13) – signed an open letter released Wednesday that highlighted Gardner’s non-partisan independence and urged Granite Staters to “contact your Representative or Senator and ask that they vote for Bill Gardner on December 5th.”"
      • "Gardner is grappling with his most difficult re-election in decades as he faces with challenger Colin Van Ostern, a former two-term executive councilor and the 2016 Democratic gubernatorial nominee. Gardner, a former Democratic state representative, enjoys the support of most Republican state lawmakers but is being opposed by many in his own party."
      • "Early next month all 424 re-elected and newly-elected state lawmakers are sworn in and then proceed to vote for secretary of state."
      • "Van Ostern overwhelmingly won a non-binding test vote earlier this month among House Democrats, which served as a very loud wake up call for Gardner and his supporters."
      • "Gardner’s once impeccable reputation with members of both parties has taken a hit the past two years with Democrats. They are furious over his participation last year on President Donald Trump’s controversial and now disbanded voter integrity commission. Shaheen and Hassan, as well as the rest of the state’s all-Democrat congressional delegation and Democratic Statehouse leaders, called on Gardner to quit the commission."
      • "Many Democrats are angry with the secretary of state for his support for two GOP sponsored bills passed into law the past two years that tighten the state’s voter eligibility requirements, which many Democrats characterize as voter suppression measures."
  • Bev Harris, "BILL TO RESTORE PUBLIC RIGHT TO INSPECT BALLOTS IN TROUBLE", 2012/02/09
  • A public official who Sumner suggests might have been involved with LHS's takeover: "One other connection you might want to explore. Donald Stritch (who represented Londonderry, where Silvestro lived) was the head of the House Election Law Committee and appears to have helped LHS get control of NH elections. Bill Gardner appointed him to head the state advisory committee (that issued its final report in 2009), but he was unable to serve because of health issues."
  • Jaffrey Voices group run by Debbie Sumner - argues that election fraud occurred in Jaffrey NH in 2010
  • Protect the Count NH post in 2016 on NH town hand-count audits