Legislature 2014

Not everything you want, is a solution to every problem

In Wednesday’s print edition of the Courant, one in a series of editorials setting an agenda for the State, Agenda Toward A More Open Government. There is much to like and agree with in the editorial: Stronger investigative subpoena for state prosecutors; closing the cash spigot for campaign finance; and strengthening the watchdog agencies.

While we are skeptical of the benefits of open primaries, their potential, and ultimately the value of “more moderate nominees”, we are particularly in disagreement with one section, Do-Over for Early Voting.

Its been said that when you only have a hammer, you see that as a cure to every problem.

Connecticut not alone in election adminstration challenges

MapSince the election on November 4th we have had all sorts of complaints about Connecticut election administration. Claims that we are the slowest, with the most clueless election officials. And all sorts of cures proposed including more mail-in votes, electronic calculation of results, and reorganization of election administration.

We agree with that their are many problems. We agree with the general outlines of some of the cures. Yet, we caution against knee-jerk reaction, and change without planning and analysis.

We suggest looking at the best practices from other states. Yet, we can also learn from the mistakes and foibles of other states. Often those employing some of those very cures proposed for Connecticut.

Op-Ed: End Exemptions To Post-Election Audits

[I]t doesn’t make sense that the Connecticut’s post-election audit law exempts all votes on questions, election day registration, originally hand-counted ballots and absentee ballots from our post-election audit. Election integrity and public confidence demand that all ballots be subject to random selection for audit. Exempt ballots already determine many elections, while the number and percentage of exempt ballots is growing.

Op-Ed for Connecticut Citizen Election Audit published today at CTNewsJunkie

Warning #2: Defying Common Sense, early voting DECREASES turnout

Voters considering the Constitutional Amendment on the ballot this November and legislators considering what to do if it passes, need to pay heed to the facts and experience of early voting in other state. Common sense is not always a reliable guide.

Did you know early voting of all types (polling place, no-excuse absentee, and mail-in) actually reduces turn-out?

Warning #1: Your absentee or mail-in vote might not count

Voters considering the Constitutional Amendment on the ballot this November and legislators considering what to do if it passes, need to pay heed to the facts and experience of early voting in other state. Common sense is not always a reliable guide.

Did you know that when you vote absentee or mail-in, you might be disenfranchised at a much higher rate than if you voted at the polls?

Legislative Wrap-Up: One recommended bill passes – Electronic Check-in

It is often tricky to navigate the course of bills stuffed into other bills. At this point, as far as we can tell none of the bills we supported or opposed passed individually. We have scanned the 314 page ‘implementer bill’ checking each section and found only one bill that passed, one that we recommended – Electronic Check-in.

Common Sense: The good, bad, and ugly secret ballot

We often take for granted the idea of the secret ballot. One alternative to the secret vote is the public vote. Sometimes we would prefer a public vote, sometimes it is necessary,

The Connecticut Constitution gives us the right to the secret vote. In considering the Constitutional Amendment this year, we note that it represents a third alternative: A semi-secret vote, if anything a worse alternative than either a secret vote or a public vote with the disadvantages of each

Fixing the Transcript for DemocracyNow: “Fixing” the Electoral College

In a segment last week DemocracyNow editorialized on, interviewed New Yorkers, and representatives of FairVote, on the occasion of New York joining the National Popular Vote Compact/Agreement: Fixing the Electoral College: New York Joins Pact to Elect President by Popular Vote

Unfortunately, their transcript needs at least as much fixing as our current election system. As CTVotersCount readers know, we oppose the Compact because it would make a risky system, much riskier, without providing the claimed benefits. We understand the attraction to many, like nuclear power, fracking, GMOs, and Touch Screen Voting, the national popular vote would seem to be beneficial, yet like those other ideas it has largely unrecognized and unappreciated consequences. For details and background, refer to our recent testimony to the Connecticut Legislature or review our index of past NPV posts..

As a service to our readers, we here provide some annotations to the DemocracyNow transcript, showing where we disagree with the interviewees, and some of the biased comments of the reporters.

CyberDissonence? State concern of Biblical Proportions

In Connecticut, apparently: Electricity is Critical! .., when it comes to elections, the message is “What Us Worry?”

You could say the State’s concern with Electoral attack is of Biblical proportions, i.e. criticizing utilities while not noticing the XP in our own systems.

If Internet voting is so safe, why is the power grid so vulnerable?

Of course the answer is that Internet voting is not safe, much more vulnerable than the power grid. But why don’t we know that?

How are grid vulnerabilities different from the vulnerabilities of electronic voting and Internet voting in particular? Lets look at a story from the LA Times highlighting vulnerabilities in the power grid

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