National

Don’t Kill the Election Assistance Commission

The new administration and state election officials have the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) in their crosshairs.  It is not a watchdog agency.  The EAC is intended to help assist officials across the country share information and create voluntary standards for election systems. Many states look to and require Federal certification of election equipment.  In a stranglehold for years, the EAC was on life support until commissioners were finally appointed a couple of years back.  Efforts to update outdated standards, improve and streamline the certification process are close to fruition, yet may never be completed.

It is not just the Republicans.  It is the National Association of Secretaries of State, currently headed by Connecticut’s Secretary of the State, Denise Merrill. Good Grief! the EAC is intended to help them do their jobs.  Maybe they will change their stand this week, yet we doubt it.

Journal Inquirer Editorial and Our Response

Journal Inquirer Editorial, Monday:  ARE ILLEGAL ALIENS VOTING IN CONNECTICUT?

Our letter sent yesterday:

I agree with the sentiment but not the details of your editorial…There is a better solution…The solution is routine, independent, and publicly verifiable audits of all aspects of election administration.  With such audits, we would not be in this situation…

Election News Roundup

Several instructive articles and events this week.

  • Last week, Secretary of the State and President of NASS (National Association of Secretaries of  State) held a press conference discussing Donald Trump’s allegations of 3 Million “Illegals” Voting.  Secretary Merrill Challenges President’s Reported Claims of Illegal Voting
  • Meanwhile, at least, Connecticut is no Kansas: The Kansas Model for Voter-Fraud Bluffing
  • Here an article I generally agree with from Forbes: What The Election Can Teach Us About Cybersecurity
  • Speaking of attacks on voter databases here is a story from this fall: Hackers hit Henry County voter database

Will good help be available from Homeland Security, and will Connecticut ask for it?

The Department of Homeland Security has designated Election Infrastructure as Critical Infrastructure. We ask three questions.  We would like to see evaluations in Connecticut.

We emphasize thesee’ as secret evaluations would do little to provide the public assurance, and likely as not, would be available one way or another to those bent on using them to exploit weaknesses in the system.

Video: The Story of the Attempted Presidential Election Audit

Recount 2016: An Uninvited Security Audit of the U.S. Presidential Election

Also, I’m not sure that we at the University of Michigan could hack into all the paper ballots across multiple states sufficient to change the Presidential election. But I’m pretty sure my undergraduate security course could have changed the outcome of the Presidential election this year. It really is that bad, – Alex Halderman

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.

[Election] law is an ass

State and Federal have ruled that Jill Stein does not have standing to call for a recount in Michigan.

Our Opinion: The Michigan law[and or this ruling] is an ass, every single voter in the United States has an interest in the vote in every  state, in every municipality, and that the vote of each voter is counted and totaled accurately. Each of those plays a part in selecting our President and the majorities in the U.S. House and Senate.

How Do We Know Without Recounts?

We have all seen many articles and posts on the recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.  We are likely to see many more.  For now, here are a few points about the recounts:

  • I am entirely in favor of  thorough post-election audits and recounts.
  • I am entirely in favor of the recounts initiated by Jill Stein.
  • Even if there is no change in the state winners, Election Integrity has won already
  • Yet, maybe we will not win that much in the end
  • All the objections to the recounts are partisan

An Electoral House of Cards – When votes are not publicly verifiable

An Alternet interview of Jonathan Simon: Something Stinks When Exit Polls and Official Counts Don’t Match – A discussion with an exit poll expert reveals an electoral house of cards. 

When their were claims that exit polls did not match in the Democratic Primary, I said that neither side made the case  saying, “I stand with Carl Sagan who said, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

Now a very thoughtful interview with Jonathan Simon who outlines the case that we should be concerned about the exit polls and concerned just as much that we cannot verify our elections

Be Careful What You Ask For: NPV Compact Has Unintended Consequences

Once again, we have an election where it is alleged that the losing candidate won the popular vote.  Understandably we have calls from her supporters to abolish the Electoral College by means of the National Popular Vote Compact.

Once again, we must articulate to our friends why this is a bad idea.  Once again, we point out to most of those that support the Electoral College that they support it primarily for the wrong reasons.

We have a broken, risky, unequal election system.  Cobbling a well-intended compact on top of it makes it more risky, more vulnerable, and the results even less credible:

*****Update 11/16/2016 Pleased to be republished at the CTMirror.

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