CT

Testimony on Four Bills

This year we testified on four bills before the legislature. We supported two bills, and for a change opposed none. For the two we neither supported nor opposed,, we proposed changes to the same sections of the law addressed by the bills.

Citizen Audit Cites Flaws in Official Election Audits

Again accuracy declined and write-in votes handled incorrectly
November 2015 Post-Election Audit Report

From the Press Release:

The Connecticut Citizen Election Audit has released its report on its observation of the November 2015 official post-election audits. The audits, required by state law, are intended to verify the accuracy of elections at the municipal level.

Citizen Audit spokesperson Luther Weeks stated, After 9 years of official audits, voters should expect accuracy. Yet the audits have gone from poor to worse.”

The group’s observers found that official audit results do not inspire confidence because of continued:

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

The group’s report noted:

  • 28% of official audits cited “Human Error” in counting ballots and votes. Registrars of voters should be expected to take the necessary effort to count accurately.
  • Significant decreases in audit integrity, and accuracy.
  • In three towns audits detected districts where officials fed write-in ballots through scanners a second time on election night.
  • If the group’s recommendations from last year had been mandated and followed, all write-in ballots would have been counted accurately.

“Problems discovered counting write-ins two years in a row shows the value of the official audits. But the report also reveals the decline in official attention to the audits, demonstrating that independent citizen observation and reporting are essential to election integrity.” Weeks emphasized.

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

Help Wanted: Low pay, long hours, impossible demands, no benefits

A Courant article reminds us of an idea out of left-field enacted last year by the General Assembly as a “rat*”: Deadline Looms For Regional Election Monitors

When the Connecticut General Assembly passed the budget implementer bill in June 2015, buried in its 702 pages was the stipulation that regional election monitors be in place by March 1.

Those regional monitors were to be hired by each of the nine planning regions in the state. They would be certified by the Secretary of State’s office, but not paid by them.

Gentle reader, before you rush out and apply we note several items which might not be apparent.

Are Feds off-target in disabled ballot probe?

From the CT Post:  Feds probing how Connecticut handles disabled voters ballots

Both the IVS and the referendum systems, for different reasons, are a disservice to voters with disabilities.  Yet the gist of the probe, if the article is correct, is incorrectly aimed at referendums and would be more appropriately aimed at State and Federal elections. Perhaps both should be probed for different reasons.

Time to Hold ’em – Connecticut’s voting machines

San Francisco provides another reason for Connecticut to wait before considering new voting machines: San Francisco Examiner: San Francisco sets sights on open source voting by November 2019 <read>

“San Francisco could help write some U.S. democracy history with its leadership role,” said a Nov. 18 letter to the Elections Commission from Gregory Miller, co-founder of the Open Source Election Technology (OSET) Foundation, a collection of executives from top technology companies like Apple and Facebook. “And the total estimated cost to do so [$8 million] is a fraction of status-quo alternatives.

Essex students assist Secretary in random drawing


Yesterday we observed the random drawing of 68 districts and alternate districts for the post-election audit. Just as last time, it was an effective and educational event for all those present and participating. After each district was drawn they were marked on an map of the State. See the <press release> for more details and a list of the districts chosen.

CT Lottery Hacked. Claimed to be easy “unsophisticated” hack

Once again, we wonder which is safer Gambling or Voting?

Courant story:  Suspended Lottery Game Had Too Many Winners <read>

Just how some lottery agents were able to manipulate their machines is not clear, but
investigators believe there was a vulnerability between the time a ticket was ordered at a terminal when it was printed…

[Consumer Protection Commissioner Jonathan] Harris said he does not think those who manipulated the system were sophisticated hackers, but rather people who were able to figure out how the lottery terminals work.

We are not reassured.

Little comfort in ‘C’ grade for Connecticut for Integrity

Nor more comfort that the ‘C’ ranks us 3rd in the ‘Class’ of states.

New report from the Center for Public Integrity: How does your state rank for integrity? <read>
With the Connecticut details: Connecticut gets C- grade in 2015 State Integrity Investigation <read>

Let me start by applauding the Center for the report and Connecticut reporter Jennifer Frank for her contributions to the report. I will have some suggestions and criticisms of the report, yet having created a report on 169 Connecticut elections websites I know how challenging it is to set the criteria and perform uniform objective evaluations across several entities with multiple elevators.

No transparent recount; No public access to ballots; No confidence

Sadly, Dorothy We are still in Kansas Kentucky. Many are concerned with the accuracy and result of the election for Governor of Kentucky, many are not.

once again — on Election Day yesterday. We see, again, the nightmare scenario I’ve warned about for so many years: a U.S. election where all of the pre-election polls suggest Candidate X is set to win, but Candidate Y ends up winning by a huge margin instead and nobody even bothers to verify that the computer tabulated results accurately reflect the intent of the voters.

That’s exactly what happened in Kentucky on Tuesday, where Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway was leading by a fair margin (about 3 to 5 points) in almost every pre-election poll in his race for Governor, but then ended up being announced as the loser to ‘Tea Party’ Republican candidate Matt Bevin by a landslide (almost 9 points) — according to the state’s 100% unverified computer tabulation systems…

What would be good for Kansas and Kentucky would be good for Connecticut.   As just one example, recall the 2010 Citizen Audit of ballots in Bridgeport.

Because the City of Bridgeport gave the CT Post access to the ballots, we were able to recount them all and assure the state that the declared Governor was actually the choice of the voters.  If Bridgeport had not agreed, we would still be wondering and questioning the legitimacy of Governor Malloy.

Unfortunately, the official Connecticut system was not able to recount those votes, and has never recognized or counted the votes of some 1,500 citizens of Bridgeport.

Editorial: No Crisis in CT, unless we make one

For Connecticut this is a time for our legendary “Land of Stead Habits”. A real crisis would be a knee-jerk reaction to claims of a crisis. It would be the National reaction to 2000 and the Help America Vote Act all over again.

There will be a time to change deliberately, once better systems are available and proven.

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