CT

Amid national election concerns, Connecticut goes the wrong way

CT Mirror Viewpoints

Last week, without public notice, seven Connecticut municipalities conducted electronic “audits” under the guidance of the UConn Center for Voting Technology and the Secretary of the State’s Office, using the Audit Station developed by the Voter Center.
There is a science of election audits. Machine-assisted audits can offer efficiency and ease of use, but any audit process needs to be transparent and provide for independent public verification of the results.

What Do YOU [still] Want? Eight+ Years and Not Counting.

In the summer of 2008 I was on a panel in Fairfield, CT. I opened with remarks on “What Do You Want”. I said voters want five things and what Connecticut could do about them in the short run (three steps over two years).  The two years  passed and little changed, so in 2010 I repeated the post as What Do YOU [still] Want?  Here we are in late 2016 and little has changed for the better:

Better Access To Voting Within Reach In CT (Annotated)

Courant Editorial, Sunday November 20th: Better Access To Voting Within Reach In CT

We have long had concerns with extending mail-in voting, aka no excuse absentee voting.  We also support in-person early voting, if we are willing to pay for it.  We have a new Courant Editorial joining Denise Merrill in a renewed push for early voting, defeated two years ago by the voters of Connecticut, consistent with our warnings but not our prediction.

Connecticut is one of only a handful of states that does not allow in-person voting before Election Day and requires those casting absentee ballots to provide an excuse — two unnecessary and antiquated barriers to participation in the political process. [Unnecessary only for those who lack concern for election integrity, turnout, and costs]

New Haven Set To Repeat 2014 Disaster

! W A R N I N G !

Do not wait till the last minute.  Do not wait to the last hour.  Get there early if you want to use Election Day Registration!

NOTE: This is also a tale of how elections work in a state with a Secretary of the State with limited powers over underpaid, and occasionally resistant/obstinate local registrars.  (The same registrars who are often cited by state officials as the reason we will have no problems in our elections this year.  Read here how they handle their joint responsibility.)

Secret Ballot and Constitution under assault in Connecticut by AP and Secretary of the State’s Office

One AP story, two different versions in the Connecticut Post and the Hartford Courant.

As we said in our comment on the Connecticut Post article:

Connecticut has this other thing called the Constitution. It is even available at the Secretary’s website. It says: “The right of secret voting shall be preserved.”, which would likely be interpreted as not taking a picture of your ballot such that you could prove how it was voted. Otherwise votes could easily be bought, sold or intimidated. http://www.ct.gov/sots/cwp/view.asp?q=392288

Ballots Still Broken: Doug Jones on Today’s Voting Machines

Broken Ballots co-author, Doug Jones interview on the vulnerabilities of today’s voting machines, the newer models available, risks of Election Management Systems, and Internet voting: Douglas Jones on Today’s Voting Machines  <read>

Fortunately, Connecticut has avoided the problem of corruption of the EMS by using a separate system from programming elections and using a manual reporting system to accumulate the results at the end of the night.  That does not mean our systems are safe from errors, hacking, and fraud.

Dr. Harri Hursti addresses the potential for Russian election attacks

Dr. Harri Hursti is a respected international expert on electronic security, especially electronic voting.  In a recent interview he addressed  the risks and chances of correctly attributing the source of attacks, specifically focusing on Russia.

What do you think of the news that a member of Congress says there is “no doubt” that Russia is behind recent attacks on state election systems

The article makes several dangerous assumptions about the security of elections and election systems. Representative Adam Schiff said he doubted (Russians) could falsify a vote tally in a way that effects the election outcome. He also said outdated election systems makes this unlikely, but really, it just makes it easier. The voting machines were designed at a time when security wasn’t considered, included, or part of the specifications at all.

April Presidential Primary Audit – Does Not Make the Grade

Checks on State Voting Machines Do Not Make the Grade
Do Not Provide Confidence in Election System, Says Citizen Audit

From the Press Release:

Audits of the recent presidential primaries are so faulty that exact final vote tallies cannot be verified, says the non-partisan Connecticut Citizen Election Audit. Unless state and local election officials make changes, the same will be true for the November elections.

“State law requires audits to verify the accuracy of optical scanner voting machines as a check for errors and a deterrent to fraud. Local registrars gather officials to manually count paper ballots and compare their totals to the totals found by the scanners, explains Luther Weeks, Executive Director of Connecticut Citizen Election Audit.

Issues reported by the group were:

  • Incomplete or missing official reports of vote counts from town registrars;
  • The lack of action on the part of the Secretary of the State’s Office to check that all required reports are submitted and all submitted reports are completed fully;
  • Of 169 municipalities required to submit lists of polling places before the election, the Secretary of the State’s Office recorded only 68, with 101 missing;
  • Poor security procedures to prohibit ballot tampering;
  • Not following procedures intended to ensure “double checking” and “blind counting” rather than having scanner counts as targets while counting manually;

“The public, candidates, and the Secretary of the State should expect local election officials to organize proper audits and produce accurate, complete audit reports. The public and candidates should expect the Secretary of the State’s Office to take the lead in ensuring the audits are complete. Yet, due to a lack of attention to detail and follow-through the audits do not prove or disprove the accuracy of the reported primary results,” Weeks said.

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

Security Against Election Hacking

From Freedom to Tinker, Andrew Appel: Security against Election Hacking – Part 1: Software Independence <read>

We have heard a lot lately about the vulnerabilities of our elections to hacking.  Both cyberhacking and unsophisticated insider attacks. Andrew Appel describes some common sense approaches to detect and deter error and fraud in our elections, covering three major vulnerabilities:

  • Incorrect or unavailable poolbooks.
  • Voting machines
  • Accumulation of results across polling places and jurisdictions

Letter: Focus on Russia Takes Heat Off Multitude of Election Vulnerabilities

My letter, published in the Courant today:

Many Election Security Risks

The Sept. 6 article “U.S. Fears Russia Hack” [Page 1] provides an inflammatory view of the risks to U.S. elections. Focusing on one potential risk from our current enemy of choice takes the attention off the multitude of risks…
We can do much better in the long run, if the actual risks are not forgotten after November.

Page 3 of 6312345...102030...Last »