CT | CTVotersCount.org - Part 2

CT

Five pieces of testimony on six bills

On Thursday the GAE Committee held testimony on most election bills this year. (There was one last week and a couple more will be on Monday). For once, I was able to support more bills than I opposed!

Opposition and support by the Secretary of the State and Registrars was mixed. In addition to supporting and opposing various bills, I offered several suggestions for improvement. And one suggestion for radical improvement.

Do you have any examples of incorrectly decided elections, errors, and fraud etc.?

Last month as I prepared for the MLK Conversation, I wrote up a couple of Frequently Asked Questions, one asked about Conspiracy Theorists, which I addressed earlier, and then there was this one about actual evidence of incorrectly decided elections, error, and fraud.

Do you have any examples of incorrectly decided elections, errors, and fraud etc.?

In Connecticut there was a question incorrectly decided in New London. Because advocates closely reviewed election data it was obvious that officials counted 50 more voters than voters in one district’s absentee ballots(*).  They demanded a recount and the result was reversed.

The last I heard, the recently replaced municipal clerk in Stamford was under Federal investigation for Absentee Ballot errors. She was reported by the two Registrars…

Testimony on Well-Intended Bill That Would End Publicly Verifiable Elections

On Monday we testified against H.B.5173 An Act Protecting the Privacy of Voters

Note that this version of partially protecting some voters includes preventing open, transparent, and publicly verifiable elections by any and all voters, candidates, and parties.

Here is my testimony <read>. This is the summary:

The heart and soul of democracy is justified trust in elections. [This Bill]would be a death blow to the heart of public verifiability. [It] would preclude independent verification of the lists and electors recorded as voting; it would preclude officials from demonstrating to the public that our elections are on the up and up.

Like paper ballots, voter registration records need to be open, transparent, and publicly verifiable. (And recorded on paper.)

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:

Supreme Court to Bridgeport: Those sort of things just aren’t done in CT

In a 3am decision, the Connecticut Supreme Court ordered a third primary in Bridgeport. CTPost: Supreme Court orders 3rd primary for Bridgeport

“Citizens can expect and are entitled to integrity in the process and a fundamentally fair and honest election, and this, I regret to say, they did not get,” the judge stated in overturning the results of the primary and ordering a new one.

34 Districts Selected for Audit at Wethersfield High School

This morning Secretary of the State, Denise Merrill selected 34 district for audit with the help of students at Wethersfield High School:

A Year After, Our Elections Aren’t Much More Secure

From Buzzfeed’s Cyber Security Correspondent, Kevin Collier:  A Year After Trump’s Victory, Our Elections Aren’t Much More Secure

But the focus on how Facebook and Twitter were used to sow division in the US electorate has diverted attention from one of the weakest spots in the system: … a simple cyberattack can be effective against weak infrastructure and unprepared IT workers. Whether that can be fixed by 2018 or even 2020 is an open question…

“We’re not doing very well,” Alex Halderman, a renowned election security expert, told BuzzFeed News. “Most of the problems that existed in 2016 are as bad or worse now, and in fact unless there is some action at a national policy level, I don’t expect things will change very much before the 2018 election.”

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