Post-Election Audits

Secretary of the State Ignores Post-Election Audits as Key in Elections

What can we learn from the press release and calendar?

  • Elections Officials and the Secretary of the State’s Office work all year. In many towns the jobs are low pay and part time, yet the schedule is year-round and relentless.  There are only a few periods when officials can take turns taking vacations attending to personal matters, like medical procedures. Occasionally the job is viewed as cushy, partisan, and thankless.
  • The Secretary of the State apparently considers post-election audits as not important enough to be included in the schedule.

Video: The Story of the Attempted Presidential Election Audit

Recount 2016: An Uninvited Security Audit of the U.S. Presidential Election

Also, I’m not sure that we at the University of Michigan could hack into all the paper ballots across multiple states sufficient to change the Presidential election. But I’m pretty sure my undergraduate security course could have changed the outcome of the Presidential election this year. It really is that bad, – Alex Halderman

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.

[Election] law is an ass

State and Federal have ruled that Jill Stein does not have standing to call for a recount in Michigan.

Our Opinion: The Michigan law[and or this ruling] is an ass, every single voter in the United States has an interest in the vote in every  state, in every municipality, and that the vote of each voter is counted and totaled accurately. Each of those plays a part in selecting our President and the majorities in the U.S. House and Senate.

How Do We Know Without Recounts?

We have all seen many articles and posts on the recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.  We are likely to see many more.  For now, here are a few points about the recounts:

  • I am entirely in favor of  thorough post-election audits and recounts.
  • I am entirely in favor of the recounts initiated by Jill Stein.
  • Even if there is no change in the state winners, Election Integrity has won already
  • Yet, maybe we will not win that much in the end
  • All the objections to the recounts are partisan

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:

Post-Election Audit Drawing

5th Graders at the Glastonbury-East Hartford Magnet School assisted Secretary of the State, Denise Merrill, in randomly drawing 38 districts for the post-election audit.

We will update later with the complete list of towns and districts.

Drawing Marking Map Complete Map

Maryland My Maryland: The only problem is the $275,000 “audit” won’t work.

In 2007 the Maryland Legislature mandated a switch to optical scan paper ballots.  Just this year they have been implemented.  Unfortunately, instead of an audit of the paper they opted for an entirely electronic audit of electronic scanned records, at a cost of about double per citizen than that of Connecticut’s manual paper audit.

I assisted in writing and editing an op-ed in the Baltimore Sun and testimony before the Board of Elections.

The terms “feel good ‘audit'”, “sham ‘audit'” etc. come to mind.  We prefer to call it a “Back Box ‘Audit'” .

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>

Of Prisons, Water, and Elections

A story about prisons claimed that officials look at a prison as a jug of water.  Even with a small pinhole leak, the water will get out.  They look for the slightest weakness in the prison, assuming prisoners (with lots of time on their hands, collective wisdom, and little to lose in trying) will find any weakness, no matter how small, difficult, and time consuming.

That is how we should look at voting systems

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