February 2018

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American Progress Report: State Election Security Readiness

American Progress Report: Election Security in All 50 States

The report gives every state grades based on some detailed criteria. Connecticut was graded ‘B’, which it shared with several other states as the highest grade awarded. Yet there are problems and limitations with such reports. We would give Connecticut lower grades in some areas, higher in others, and are uncomfortable with other grades.

The report is useful and provides directions for improvement in many areas in every state. Election officials, legislators, and voters should act to improve our voting systems and laws in the near term.  We would give the authors A+ for effort and the report a grade of B.

Citizen Audit Report: After 10 Years, Serious Flaws Continue

Citizens Audit Report:
After 10 years, 18 post-election audits, and 800 local audit counting sessions, serious flaws continue

From the Press Release:

Post-election vote audits of the November 2017 elections continue to fail to meet basic audit standards. They again undermine confidence in the accuracy of our elections, concludes the non-partisan Connecticut Citizen Election Audit.

Among the group’s concerns:

  • 41% of reports required to be submitted to the Secretary of the State by registrars were incomplete or were not submitted. The Secretary’s Office failed to follow up on those reports.
  • Weaknesses in ballot chain-of-custody and security.
  • Continued use of flawed electronic audit procedures that are not publicly verifiable.

On the bright side, developments related to the electronic audit point the way to improvement:

  • The Secretary of the State’s Office and UConn Voter Center solicited feedback on improving the electronic audits.
  • Write-in counting issues and failure to separate ballots as required were clearly identified by the electronic audit and observed by the Secretary of the State’s Office.

Luther Weeks, Executive Director of the Citizen Audit said, “We are frustrated with so little improvement after 18 statewide audits over 10 years. Citizens deserve better. Yet, if the Secretary of the State’s Office follows up on these problems and pursues publicly verifiable electronic audits, progress can be achieved in the near term.”

<Press Release .pdf> <Full Report pdf> <Detail data/municipal reports>

Are you a Conspiracy Theorist?

Last week as I prepared for the MLK Conversation, I wrote up a couple of Frequently Asked Questions, one asked about Conspiracy Theorists.

Are you a Conspiracy Theorist?

I think we all are.  We just don’t recognize that many of the things we believe are conspiracies.  Many were unproven allegations before we believed them…

Reading the Hartford Courant and the New York Times its amazing how many articles involve actual or alleged conspiracies.  I counted at least a score  in those two publications, just today. Take this as an exercise. Pick up your newspaper, online news site, or look at Facebook for a while and see how many you see that you believe are actual conspiracies, are possible, or are doubtful.  Here are some ideas to ponder…

“Does your vote count?” Glastonbury MLK Conversation

Last Wednesday evening, I was one of five speakers and a moderator at a Community Conversation held by the Glastonbury Martin Luther King Community Initiative. There were about 60 to 75 in attendance. We addressed “Does your vote count? An examination of the Issues” I addressed issues in two areas: How could you know if your vote was counted? And what I would recommend to expand democracy in Connecticut, without risking election integrity. Here are my prepared remarks: