CT

Citizen Audit Study Shows Low-Cost Way to Improve Turnout

Review of 169 municipal election websites shows election
information lacking, yet easily remedied

From the press release:

February 25, 2015. The Connecticut Citizen Election Audit released a study evaluating election information provided to voters in all 169 municipalities across Connecticut. Information was collected by volunteer evaluators in the days just prior to the 2014 November election.

Citizen Audit spokesperson Luther Weeks stated, “Many towns do not provide the information most sought by voters across Connecticut, such as ‘What is on the ballot’ or ‘Where do I vote?’. Many also failed to inform citizens of online registration, which could have saved citizens time and municipal expenses.”

Municipal website findings include:

  • Only 28% answered, “What is on the ballot?”.
  • Only 56% provided the “Date of the next election”.
  • Only 64% answered “Where do I vote?”
  • Only 15% posted results for their 2013 municipal election.
  • Many with broken links and obviously outdated information
  • Many with up-to-date event calendars and front page bulletins, listing current events, and Ebola preparations, that did not list election-day.

<Full Post and Report>

Testimony on two well-intended, yet (hopefully) fatally flawed bills

A week ago Friday, I testified against two well-intended, flawed bills that hopefully will not go forward.  One illustrates a terribly written bill that may have some underlying merit, yet leaves the public with no opportunity to understand the merits, the risks, and propose reasonable solutions.  The other intended to save work for registrars of voters, would not save much work at the expense of the voters and pollworkers.

UConn Researchers: Turnout goes down as corruption goes up.

As we have mentioned before, turnout is the “Holy Grail” of elections.  Any election reform is touted as a means of increasing turnout. From touch screens to early voting that is one of the justifications, yet in actuality touch screens create annoying lines and early voting actually DECREASES turnout.

To increase turnout, lets avoid the gimmicks with integrity risks or unproven claims. Lets start with the hard work of rooting out corruption. There is a worse alternative, we could avoid looking. Maybe the public would be more likely to vote if corruption were ignored.

Two days at the Voting and Elections Summit

Three simple ideas standout among the many things I learned and relearned:

  1. When we are concerned about every cost associated with voting, small and large, compare those costs to what we spend “spreading democracy” elsewhere.
  2. Contemplate what people spend in time and expense for the excitement of the Superbowl. Why are we not similarly engaged in Election Day, where the who wins is much more significant to our lives?
  3. Should we be at least as concerned with protecting and auditing paper ballots, as we are with the footballs used in the semi-finals?

Digital Democracy Good – for Voting Bad Bad Bad!


Our friends across the pond are thinking of Internet Voting. Tech unsavvy elders apparently want to entice young voters. Hopefully, the young are savvy enough to understand the security risks and are too smart to trust democracy to smart phones.

Editorial in ComputerWorldUK highlighted at TheVotingNews: Digital Democracy? – Yes, Please; but Not Online Voting

Citizen Audit Cites Improvements, Faults Flaws, in Official Election Audits

SOTS Office makes improvements, significant Registrars of Voters flaws continue

Improvements noted by the Citizen Audit include:

  • Small, yet significant improvements in and corrections to the Official Audit Procedures made by the Secretary of the State’s Office (SOTS Office) at the request of the Citizen Audit.
  • Increased integrity and credibility of the audit based on a Citizen Audit of the random drawing of districts and races. (As reported separately on 1/21/2015)
    • Significantly fewer errors in the random drawing list in November 2014 compared to November 2013.
    • Public and transparent drawing of races to be audited after the November election.

The audit observation report concluded that the official audit results do not inspire confidence after eight years and fourteen audits, because of the continued:

  • Lack of consistency, reliability, and transparency in the conduct of the audit.
  • Discrepancies between machine counts and hand counts reported to the Secretary of the State by municipalities.
  • Lack of investigation of such discrepancies, and the lack of standards for triggering such investigations.
  • Weaknesses in the ballot chain-of-custody.

The audit observations also uncovered tabulator errors and inadequate election procedures which cause some votes for registered write-in candidates to not be counted.

Citizen Audit spokesperson Luther Weeks stated, “We appreciate improvements made by the Secretary of the State’s Office. We remain disappointed after eight years that significant improvements remain to achieve a credible audit, especially by local election officials, in too many municipalities.

<Full Report (.pdf)> <Press Release>
Detail data/municipal reports <Nov> <Aug>

Hartford Election Report: Sad, yet an easy recommended read.

As they and we often say, “Diagnosis before cure”. Lest the cure be ineffective or worse than the disease.

The Hartford Common Council empowered a Committee of Inquiry to gather facts on the widely reported late opening of polls on election day, the long known disfunction in the Registrars Office, and the less reported inaccurate, yet to be corrected reports of election results. We recommend reading the whole report. It is an easy read, yet sad, disappointing, and as some have said outrageous

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.

Ambitious agenda should be reasoned and well-planned

In today’s print edition of the Courant, one in a series of editorials setting an agenda for the State, Agenda 2015: Ambitious Goals For The State, one portion focuses on elections,

We diverge from the Courant in our opinion. We continue to point out that the most comprehensive system of election administration reform would be to regionalize elections, obtaining some of the same benefits obtained by regionalizing probate.

Also, Professionalization does not include ignoring science. There is a reason we do not connect our scanners to the internet to report results.

General Assembly ready to protect everything Internet. Except voting?

Meanwhile Congress, in-spite of gridlock, takes the time to appeal old law calling for Internet voting experiments. Isn’t it time for the General Assembly to follow suit?

Page 10 of 64« First...89101112...203040...Last »