CT Law

Merrill: “likely to increase audits”

Merrill said her office will likely also increase its audits. Currently it randomly selects voting precincts to have primary results audited following elections; five percent of polling places that use optical scan machines are subject to the audit, as prescribed by Connecticut General Statutes 9-320f. Those counts are then matched against vote totals from optical scan machines.

 

The “Real” Lawyers Only Need Apply Rule

As this CTNewsJunkie post implies, it will always be called The Bysiewicz Test <read>

Ambiguously defined in law and only slightly less ambiguously by the Connecticut Supreme Court. All we know for sure is that you have to be a lawyer in CT for at least ten years and have different experience than Susan Bysiewicz had in 2010.  As I commented in on the article:

I always find it interesting that the AG and Judge of Probate are the only offices that have qualifications, as far as I know. They are both related to law. I wonder if the composition of the General Assembly makes the legislature realize how important qualifications are, in just these cases?

There remains no necessary training whatsoever to be Secretary of the State, while some of her employees, but not all, need to be lawyers to give advice to the public, would be candidates, and election officials. That could be going better, but of course, certification by itself does not preclude errors and incompetence, or as Jon Lender puts it Bungling

Testimony to the Connecticut Cybersecurity Task Force – UPDATED

I testified in my capacity as Executive Director of the Connecticut Citizen Election Audit. I was the only member of the public providing testimony.

Why are post-election audits and paper ballots a critical component of protecting our elections?  “[D}data protection involves prevention, detection, and recovery”.  Cybersecurity and other measures protecting voting equipment and voting systems are primarily prevention measures and to a lesser degree detection measures. No matter how much effort we put into cybersecurity, software testing, and hardware maintenance there will always be a significant level of vulnerability.

Paper ballots, sufficient post-election audits, and recounts provide a primary means of detecting cyber, software, human, and hardware failures. They also provide a means of recovery. They provide for, so called, software independent verification of election results, resulting in justified public confidence.

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.

Five pieces of testimony on six bills

On Thursday the GAE Committee held testimony on most election bills this year. (There was one last week and a couple more will be on Monday). For once, I was able to support more bills than I opposed!

Opposition and support by the Secretary of the State and Registrars was mixed. In addition to supporting and opposing various bills, I offered several suggestions for improvement. And one suggestion for radical improvement.

“Does your vote count?” Glastonbury MLK Conversation

Last Wednesday evening, I was one of five speakers and a moderator at a Community Conversation held by the Glastonbury Martin Luther King Community Initiative. There were about 60 to 75 in attendance. We addressed “Does your vote count? An examination of the Issues” I addressed issues in two areas: How could you know if your vote was counted? And what I would recommend to expand democracy in Connecticut, without risking election integrity. Here are my prepared remarks:

Danbury Officials did not follow the law in case diseased candidate

The failure to remove Mr. Seabury’s name, either by having the ballots reprinted with the name of the replacement candidate, having stickers with the replacement candidate’s name placed on the ballots or, in the event no replacement has been nominated, “(C)caus[ing] blank stickers to be so affixed if the vacancy is not filled,” is in direct violation of Conn. Gen. Stat. § 9-460 (adding emphasis).

Our Opinion: We understand that diseased candidate Seabury was not elected, likely leaving the Democrats with no reason to go to court.  Yet, the Registrars deserve an SEEC complaint and large fines for blatantly failing to follow the law.

We respond to Secretary Merrill’s testimony opposing audit transparency bill

Last Monday we testified for S.B. 540, a bill that would increase audit transparency and public verifiability.

Later we noticed that Secretary of the State, Denise Merrill, submitted testimony opposing one provision of the bill and therefor recommending against the entire bill. Her testimony misinterpreted our bill, recommending against it based on something we did not ask for and was not part of the bill.

In response we wrote a follow-up letter to the GAE Committee.

Testimony on several bills, including the National Popular Vote Compact

Yesterday, we testified on several bills, submitting three packages of written testimony. Most of the bills were proposals for the National Popular Vote Compact. We half agree with those testifying for the Compact and half disagree. We would be in favor of a National Popular Vote with a sufficient Constitutional Amendment. We oppose the Compact. Its misfit with our presidential election laws portent chaos.

Lessons from the “recount”. What would have happened here?

The Nation, hopefully, learned some lessons about our existing “recounts” after the November Election.  We learned some disappointing lessons in three states.  We likely would have learned similar lessons in the other states that have recounts.  Remember that only about half the states have recounts at all.  What might we have learned about Connecticut’s recanvasses?

We recommend three articles and comment on Connecticut’s recanvasses.

Our best guess is that Connecticut would rank close to Pennsylvania.  Observed variations and poor recanvass procedures, with courts sooner or later. stopping or blocking the recanvass.