Post-Election Audits

Mid-Term Report: One more bill best left off the agenda

We conclude our summaries of the election bills we are watching that passed the Government Elections and Administration Committee this year.

As is too often the case, this bill is aimed at a concept we strongly support, yet the bill is so flawed that is misleading and dangerous. Without going into the details I can claim, in all modesty, that I have been a strong, supporter of the concept nationally, and a catalyst in Connecticut. I would be happy to sit back and let others take deserved bows for a great result, well implemented. However, the worst outcome would be the loss of the value of post-election audits, knowing that I was a likely cause.

Mid-Term Report: Two really dangerous bills and a duck

Yesterday, the Government Elections and Administration (GAE) held its last meeting of the year to approve bills originating in the Committee. Today we will recap three of be seven election bills we are tracking.

It is hard to compare and prioritize the importance and impact of bills for good or ill. Today’s three bills provide an instructive contrast. All three are well intended, yet ill conceived. One is extremely threatening to democracy, yet the threat may be way off or ultimately avoided. Another sets a bad precedent for Connecticut and the Nation, flaunts reason, with a message almost the opposite of that intended. The third aimed at fairness is unfair to most of those seeking redress for an imagined unfairness. UPDATED.

Testimony on three bills – FOI is an issue in elections too

Today I testified on three elections bills before the Government Elections and Administration Committee (GAE). There was also testimony against another assault on Freedom Of Information (FOI). Very appropriate since access to information, transparency, public accountability, and serving the public played a role in my testimony on each bill.

Citizen Audit Observation: Flaws Remain after Seven Years

Crosspost: Observation Report – Flaws Remain after Seven Years

Citizen Audit Finds Little Improvement In Election Audits

Post-Election Audit Flaws Remain After Seven Years and Twelve Audits

The report concluded that the official audit results do not inspire confidence 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.
  • An unsatisfactory improvement in the random audit drawing integrity vs. the November 2012 audit, as reported in our recent Districts In Drawing Study.

Coalition spokesperson Luther Weeks noted, “When compared with audits in 2011 and 2012 we found little difference, positive or negative, on the issues previously identified and the level of concerns affecting confidence.

<Full Report (.pdf)> <Press Release> <Review detail data and municipal reports>

What is lacking in Connecticut’s Post-Election Audits (Part 1)

Some contend that Connecticut has the Nation’s toughest post-election audit law. We contend it has several holes, is not well executed by officials, and if a voting machine were ever to count inaccurately the audit would be unlikely to recognize that. Almost certainly, there will be bills and proposals to weaken and strengthen the audit debated this year. Today, we will focus on:

A Very Critical Vote That will Not Be Audited

Citizen Study Finds State Audit Flawed From the Start

Crosspost: Coalition Districts in the Random Drawing Study, Nov 2013

Citizen Study Finds State Audit Flawed From the Start

Post-Election Audit Flawed from the Start by Inaccurate List of Election Districts

Based on concerns with the integrity of the random drawing in previous elections, the Coalition initiated a project to thoroughly check the integrity of the list of districts in the drawing for the November 2013 election.

Coalition spokesperson Luther Weeks noted, “The credibility of our elections depends on the integrity of the Post-Election Audits. The integrity of the audits in-turn depends on the integrity of the drawing.”

The report found,

  • Fewer discrepancies in the random drawing list than were found in November 2012 and efforts by the Secretary of the State’s Office to improve the accuracy of the list.
  • Seventeen (17) voting districts missing from the drawing list or recanvass list. The selection of two (2) fewer districts for audit than required by law.
  • The audit law calling for the random selection and auditing of 10% of voting districts is not being faithfully executed, leaving the integrity and credibility of the audit and our election system open to question and expose it to the potential of future manipulation.
  • The law intended to fix past problems is not being followed. — A failure rate of 67
  • Fully complying with the law is complicated by the loose definition of voting district in the law.

<Full Report (.pdf)> <Press Release> <Backup Data>

Post-Election Audit Finds Error of 1,114 ballots

A state election audit revealed Thursday that Richland County[, South Carolina] officials failed to count 1,114 absentee ballots when finalizing results of the Nov. 5 city and county elections.

We point to two areas where South Carolina seems to do better than Connecticut

66 Districts in 46 Municipalities Selected for Post-Election Audit


Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, assisted by volunteers from the Connecticut Citizen Election Audit Coalition randomly selected districts for the November 2013 post-election audit.

Military Justice, the NSA, and Independent Election Audits

Recently there were highly publicized hearings in Washington, D.C. on the subject of rape of sexual harassment in the U.S. Military and the military’s failure to make progress in reducing incidents and induce individuals to actually report crimes. One aspect of that is the fact that commanding officers have the responsibility/authority to reduce charges or even pardon the alleged or convicted perpetrators.

Ironic: U.S. calls for increased election integrity … in Venezuela

This is about as ironic as it gets. First the United States has no mechanism for a full recount or audit of its national elections. Second, the call officially comes from John Kerry who overruled his friends, advisers, and supporters to throw in the towel early on the day after the Nov 2004 election, in spite of massive charges of fraud in Ohio – allegations, since largely justified.

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