CT Irony #3: Passed in 2005: Tougher Audits and Custody for Equipment/Paper We Don’t Use

In 2005 the Legislature passed the Voter Verified Paper Trail Bill. They also passed post-election audits along with a minimum one hundred and eighty day seal on the paper. Unfortunately, they had not anticipated optical scan, limiting the audit to DRE (Touch Screen) equipment. We actually have tougher post-election audits and custody laws on the books that would have applied to DRE than apply to the optical scanners we do have. We are not advocating DRE machines, Connecticut voters have a much safer, auditable, economical voting system with optical scan.

We have pointed out many weaknesses in the optical scan audit law passed in 2007 which applies to optical scan. Among the inadequacies of the law are that we don’t audit enough of the votes, we don’t do it soon enough after the election, and we have a questionable chain-of-custody provision which many believe only lasts fourteen days – with the audits starting on day fifteen. But on the books is a much tougher audit law for DRE’s which does not apply to optical scanners. This law has a much bigger audit, started sooner, audits all races and questions, and with a much longer and clearer chain-of-custody This would be an expensive audit as DRE paper tapes are much more time consuming to audit than paper ballots: Sec. 9-242b. Procedures for use of direct recording electronic voting machines

(5) Not later than five business days after each election in which a direct recording electronic voting machine is used, the registrars of voters or their designees, representing at least two political parties, shall conduct a manual audit of the votes recorded on at least (A) two direct recording electronic voting machines used in each assembly district, or (B) a number of direct recording electronic voting machines equal to fifty per cent of the number of voting districts in the municipality, whichever is less. Not later than five business days after a primary in which a direct recording electronic voting machine is used, the registrar of voters of the party holding the primary shall conduct such a manual audit by designating two or more individuals, one of whom may be the registrar, representing at least two candidates in the primary. The machines audited under this subdivision shall be selected in a random drawing that is announced in advance to the public and is open to the public. All direct recording electronic voting machines used within an assembly district shall have an equal chance of being selected for the audit. The Secretary of the State shall determine and publicly announce the method of conducting the random drawing, before the election. The manual audit shall consist of a manual tabulation of the contemporaneously produced, individual, permanent, voter-verified, paper records produced by each voting machine subject to the audit and a comparison of such count, with respect to all candidates and any questions or proposals appearing on the ballot, with the electronic vote tabulation reported for such voting machine on the day of the election or primary…

(6) The individual, permanent, voter-verified, paper records contemporaneously produced by any direct recording electronic voting machine in use at an election or primary held on or after July 1, 2005, shall be carefully preserved and returned in their designated receptacle in accordance with the requirements of section 9-266, 9-302 or 9-310, whichever is applicable, and may not be opened or destroyed, except during recanvass or manual audit as set forth in this section, for one hundred eighty days following an election or primary that does not include a federal office, pursuant to section 9-310, or for twenty-two months following an election or primary involving a federal office, pursuant to 42 USC 1974, as amended from time to time.

What we need in Connecticut is a stronger, independent, more comprehensive, more timely post-election audit of all types of ballots cast with a stronger chain-of-custody.

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