How not to audit, Chicago style vs. Connecticut style

This video has gone viral over the last week.  It is a hearing of a public comment at the Chicago Board of Elections.

In summary:

  • The audit consisted of counting paper records.
  • The public was not permitted to observe the paper records, to confirm that they were counted correctly.
  • At the end of the count, the counters compared the result to the machine tape result.
  • It showed that the counts were way off.
  • The officials simply erased enough marks from one candidate and added enough to the other to make the audit count equal to the machine count.
  • And the Election Board apparently saw no reason for concern with the audit or with the election results.

This would not normally, exactly, happen in Connecticut

  • We do have procedures that require that observers be able to be close enough to see ballot marks etc.
  • In some audits when counts do not match, officials recount until everyone is confident in the result.
  • In some cases officials work to make the counts match in ways that are hard to follow, and provide little confidence in the reported results.
  • Some audits result in high differences between the scanner counts and audit counts reported on official forms to the Secretary of the State, most, with no confirmation, attribute the differences to “Human Error”.
  • Others reported without indicating “Human Error” result in the Secretary’s Office calling local officials to ask if they agree that the cause was “Human Error”.
  • We do not have an Elections Board that officially reviews and accepts the audit result.
  • We have a mandated audit report after each audit, with no specified deadline for its completion.  The last such report released was for the November 2011 election.
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