Costs

Courant Editorial Misses the Mark on At Least Three of Five Points

On Sunday the Hartford Courant lead Editorial proposed fixes to its perceived problems with Connecticut’s election system: 5 Fixes For State’s Broken Election System. Note that all the statewide races were decided by 8:00am on Wednesday morning after the election.

To the Courant’s credit, for the second time in a row, they published a letter of mine criticizing an editorial.

Proposed Fixes Could Make Problems Worse

The editorial “Five Fixes for State’s Broken Election System” misses the mark on at least three of its five proposals

See a problem, propose a solution you want that might make the problem worse

There were long lines for Election Day Registration (EDR) and it took a whole 10 hours to count enough votes to determine the Governor in Connecticut. Our EDR is a problem, but waiting ten hours for result is just a concern hyped up by a overly impatient press and used as a opportunity by advocates to promote early voting as a solution.

As of this time the states of California, Colorado, Florida, and Georgia are still counting votes. They all have mail-in early voting.  California has a Friday deadline to receive mail-in ballots postmarked by election day and counts them for weeks after election day.  As of Friday all those other states were still counting.

There real are problems and there are reasonable solutions.

How Could CT Spend New Federal Election Security Money?

Connecticut will have available somewhere around $5 million to spend on election security in the new “omnibus” appropriations bill. Woefully inadequate for states that should be replacing touch-screen voting with all paper ballots.  etc., for a state that already has paper ballots, a lot can be accomplished.

Denise Merrill is already thinking about how to spend it: CTMirror: Omnibus has millions to strengthen CT voting system against cyber attacks.

Secretary Merrill asked me for suggestions in a brief conversation a couple of weeks ago. At the time, off the top of my head, I suggested and we briefly discussed three things. After consideration I would suggest some more things. Security is not just cyber security and training officials. It also requires physical protection of ballots, physical protection of voting machines, and understanding the situation before determining the training needed.

What is wrong with CT’s Election Day Registration

Late last month, we testified on  a bill, S.B. 250 that would modify Connecticut’s Election Day Registration (EDR) law. We did not testify for or against the proposed change, clearly aimed at making life easier for registrars and election day workers* at the expense of convenience to the public.  Yet there are larger problems with Connecticut’s EDR law and procedures implemented by the Secretary of the State. Here are several of those problems:

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.

The Power of Partnership: Do you know what your election officials have been watching?


Direct from the Dominion web, a marketing video featuring Denver election officials.services from Dominion.

We recommend caution for election officials, along with concern and skepticism for voters and taxpayers.

Two days at the Voting and Elections Summit

Three simple ideas standout among the many things I learned and relearned:

  1. When we are concerned about every cost associated with voting, small and large, compare those costs to what we spend “spreading democracy” elsewhere.
  2. Contemplate what people spend in time and expense for the excitement of the Superbowl. Why are we not similarly engaged in Election Day, where the who wins is much more significant to our lives?
  3. Should we be at least as concerned with protecting and auditing paper ballots, as we are with the footballs used in the semi-finals?

Speed Up Election Results – Not so fast, with another half-baked solution

UPDATED, With two additional views. And a CORRECTION.
We half agree with the Courant and the Secretary of the State. We have supported the idea, applauded the start that the Secretary took, yet there are problems with the system as proposed, and even more problems with the some of the views and ideas in the Courant’s Editorial. Yet, one half-baked manual system does not deserve a half-baked automated one to solve the problems.

We would like to see the Secretary and the Courant Editorial Board close a polling place and get the data in via smart phone, or close absentee ballots and report via laptop. We will help time them and transparently provide the video on YouTube.

We also remind readers that the Courant is one of the newspapers that led the fight to require expensive paper legal notices instead of allowing for web based notices.

Well intended misstep on Connecticut’s horizon?

The Hartford Courant editorial board celebrates a step towards a mistake for which they have long advocated

There is always an easy solution to every human problem–neat,
plausible, and wrong.- H.L. Mencken

Testimony on two bills – Disclosure and Early Voting

Almost all the legislators from both parties made “political hay” (that is intended as a cliche like “fox in the hen house”) out of former and future candidate for Governor, Tom Foley’s testimony on legislative ethics. He admitted authorship of questionable concepts not worded to match his intent. I can only wonder what would happen if all bills were required to identify the author? Would I have tempered my remarks on early voting, had everyone known the source of that inadequate and contradictory text? Would the result be less bills with better text?