Our Editorials

The Risky Way to Make an Important, Costly Decision

On March 11th,  Secretary of the State, Denise Merrill, released an RFP along with a Press Release: Secretary of the State Aims to Revolutionize Voting Devices for Persons with Disabilities in Connecticut.

From what I can determine, this is a rushed, unsound plan.  It is likely to be wasteful, risks chaos in November, and unlikely to satisfy the needs of those with disabilities, taxpayers, or polling place officials.

The Iowa Caucus vs. a Primary

There are several differences between a caucus and a primary election.  These differences are glaring, especially in the case of the Iowa Democratic Presidential Caucus.  Like all elections, the rules,  eligibility, and voting methods vary from state to state. In presidential primaries and caucuses they can vary from party to party.

Here is our list of important concerns with the Iowa Democratic Caucus. All things considered, democracy would be better served by a  primary than the Iowa Caucus.

Editorial: No Crisis in CT, unless we make one

For Connecticut this is a time for our legendary “Land of Stead Habits”. A real crisis would be a knee-jerk reaction to claims of a crisis. It would be the National reaction to 2000 and the Help America Vote Act all over again.

There will be a time to change deliberately, once better systems are available and proven.

Common Sense: Laws must be Sufficient, Enforceable, and Enforced

In one of his books, Gerry Weinberg pointed out that employee evaluations should be multiplicative not additive, that is, the various dimensions of performance and capabilities should be multiplied rather than added to determine the overall value of an employee.

There is an analogy with laws, including election laws.  Laws must be Sufficient, Enforceable, and Enforced. Missing one of the three, all value is lost.

Courant Editorial: Cheap Way To Boost Turnout

Today the Hartford Courant printed an editorial citing the Citizen Audit’s latest report:  Cheap Way To Boost Turnout

Editorial: Diagnosis before cure. Planning before plunging ahead.

We agree in part with the other critics, that we need radical change in Connecticut election administration. Yet, we need a carefully considered approach and a deliberate implementation of change. Our recommended approach is to do for elections what we have done for probate: Regionalize, Prioritize, and Economize. It won’t be easy, simple, or cheap in the short run, yet simply moving local administration to municipal clerks as many suggest would be a band-aid, with many of the same limitations and risks of the current system.

Let us act deliberatly to actually improve elections

We are amazed by the number of election integrity issues raised by this election and the flurry of suggestions for improvement, led by the Hartford Courant. Yet in all the excitement and rush to judgement and improvement, among the good intentions and good ideas, there is also a misunderstanding of the system, ideas that are not feasible, uninformed, and that would make a worse system.

Op-Ed: End Exemptions To Post-Election Audits

[I]t doesn’t make sense that the Connecticut’s post-election audit law exempts all votes on questions, election day registration, originally hand-counted ballots and absentee ballots from our post-election audit. Election integrity and public confidence demand that all ballots be subject to random selection for audit. Exempt ballots already determine many elections, while the number and percentage of exempt ballots is growing.

Op-Ed for Connecticut Citizen Election Audit published today at CTNewsJunkie

Editorial: Improve Turnout By Making Voting Worthwhile

It seems that turnout is the holy grail of elections. Many election reforms are justified on a claim, true or not, that the reform will increase turnout. But, turnout is more a symptom of democracy, than an end in itself.

We have some suggestions to consider:

  • Make it easier for third-party candidates to get on the ballot, easier to qualify for public financing. Let us start with a level playing field for public financing, and officials that follow the law, with a “Chief Election Official” with actual responsibility for elections.
  • Reform the decentralized partisan election system.
  • Eliminate the “Spoiler” effect, provide more democracy, with a true runoff election when one candidate does not get 50_% of the vote.

Let us recall that in this generation, two third-party “spoilers” did win elections in Connecticut: Governor Lowell Weicker, and Senator Joe Lieberman.

Common Sense: [How] Do you know if your vote counted?

The Citizen Audit has just opened up our signup for the audits for the primary, which start fifteen days after the primary. The primary is August 12th, so the audits will begin Aug 27th.

Q: So, why bother signing to spend a day observing the audits?
A: To understand and the question ” [How] Do you know if your vote counted?”

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