Mail/Absentee Voting

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.

Israeli Firm Proves Our Point: Fax is as risky as Online Voting

As we have been saying for years, Online/Internet voting risks include email and fax voting.
<Since 2008>

Story today in the Washington Post:
Report: Hackers Target Fax Machines
Phone Line Connected To Computer Network Can Offer Access

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.

Do you have any examples of incorrectly decided elections, errors, and fraud etc.?

Last month as I prepared for the MLK Conversation, I wrote up a couple of Frequently Asked Questions, one asked about Conspiracy Theorists, which I addressed earlier, and then there was this one about actual evidence of incorrectly decided elections, error, and fraud.

Do you have any examples of incorrectly decided elections, errors, and fraud etc.?

In Connecticut there was a question incorrectly decided in New London. Because advocates closely reviewed election data it was obvious that officials counted 50 more voters than voters in one district’s absentee ballots(*).  They demanded a recount and the result was reversed.

The last I heard, the recently replaced municipal clerk in Stamford was under Federal investigation for Absentee Ballot errors. She was reported by the two Registrars…

Testimony on Well-Intended Bill That Would End Publicly Verifiable Elections

On Monday we testified against H.B.5173 An Act Protecting the Privacy of Voters

Note that this version of partially protecting some voters includes preventing open, transparent, and publicly verifiable elections by any and all voters, candidates, and parties.

Here is my testimony <read>. This is the summary:

The heart and soul of democracy is justified trust in elections. [This Bill]would be a death blow to the heart of public verifiability. [It] would preclude independent verification of the lists and electors recorded as voting; it would preclude officials from demonstrating to the public that our elections are on the up and up.

Like paper ballots, voter registration records need to be open, transparent, and publicly verifiable. (And recorded on paper.)

Supreme Court to Bridgeport: Those sort of things just aren’t done in CT

In a 3am decision, the Connecticut Supreme Court ordered a third primary in Bridgeport. CTPost: Supreme Court orders 3rd primary for Bridgeport

“Citizens can expect and are entitled to integrity in the process and a fundamentally fair and honest election, and this, I regret to say, they did not get,” the judge stated in overturning the results of the primary and ordering a new one.

Just a step in the right direction: Merrill meets with Homeland Security

“Yesterday, along with representatives from the state’s information technology and public safety departments, I met with regional officials from the United States Department of Homeland Security to discuss how we can work together to ensure that Connecticut elections are safe from outside interference or manipulation. We had a productive meeting and I look forward to working together in the months and years to come to protect our elections, the bedrock of our democracy.” – Denise Merrill, Connecticut Secretary of the State

We applaud this step in the right direction.  Last year as leader of the National Association of Secretaries of State, Merrill opposed the designation of elections as critical infrastructure, leading in expressing the concern for a Federal take-over of elections. We were critical of that stand then and remain so.

In our opinion this is just a step. There are several aspects to election security/integrity that should be addressed,. This  step may assist in those that are under direct control of the of the the State, yet less so those under local control.

Testimony on Early Voting and Registrar’s Bills

Yesterday, we submitted testimony on a number of early voting bills and a bill likely submitted by the Registrars of Voters Association.

The primary reason to avoid expanded mail-in or no-excuse absentee voting is the opportunity for and documented record of absentee voting fraud. There are other reasons:

  • Contrary to a touted benefit – early voting DECREASES turnout…

And a bill likely submitted by the Registrars of Voters Association.

As an election official, I am sympathetic to the wish of Registrars to make their jobs simpler.  Yet, my sympathy ends when it results in barriers to participation in democracy for candidates and citizens.

Better Access To Voting Within Reach In CT (Annotated)

Courant Editorial, Sunday November 20th: Better Access To Voting Within Reach In CT

We have long had concerns with extending mail-in voting, aka no excuse absentee voting.  We also support in-person early voting, if we are willing to pay for it.  We have a new Courant Editorial joining Denise Merrill in a renewed push for early voting, defeated two years ago by the voters of Connecticut, consistent with our warnings but not our prediction.

Connecticut is one of only a handful of states that does not allow in-person voting before Election Day and requires those casting absentee ballots to provide an excuse — two unnecessary and antiquated barriers to participation in the political process. [Unnecessary only for those who lack concern for election integrity, turnout, and costs]