Connecticut Voters Count - Part 30

Testimony: Defending the Secret Vote and Check-in Integrity

Yesterday, I testified against two bills. I do not particularly like testifying against bills that promote concepts that I support, like electronic check-in, yet like all technology, it can be done in a way that helps, without adding risks.

On the other hand, it is a privilege to defend the Secret Vote, one of many, often under-appreciated, keystones of democracy. Also appreciated is the many thoughtful questions presented by the Committee which gave me an opportunity to stand for the Secret Vote.

NPV – A graphic scenario

We are opposed to the National Popular Vote Compact, primarily because it would tend to make the current risky system for determining the President by the Electoral College, much more risky and subject us to open-season for vote suppression, insider fraud, outsider fraud, and legal challenges likely to end with the Supreme Court choosing the President. Paul Choiniere of The Day provides a graphic depiction of a related scenario.

Testimony on three bills – FOI is an issue in elections too

Today I testified on three elections bills before the Government Elections and Administration Committee (GAE). There was also testimony against another assault on Freedom Of Information (FOI). Very appropriate since access to information, transparency, public accountability, and serving the public played a role in my testimony on each bill.

What is lacking in Connecticut’s Post-Election Audits (Part 2)

Some contend that Connecticut has the Nation’s toughest post-election audit law. We contend it has several holes, is not well executed by officials, and if a voting machine were ever to count inaccurately the audit would be unlikely to recognize that. Almost certainly, there will be bills and proposals to weaken and strengthen the audit debated this year. Today, we will focus on:

WWWSD (What would Willie Sutton do?)

Citizen Audit Observation: Flaws Remain after Seven Years

Crosspost: Observation Report – Flaws Remain after Seven Years

Citizen Audit Finds Little Improvement In Election Audits

Post-Election Audit Flaws Remain After Seven Years and Twelve Audits

The report concluded that the official audit results do not inspire confidence because of the continued:

  • Lack of consistency, reliability, and transparency in the conduct of the audit.
  • Discrepancies between machine counts and hand counts reported to the Secretary of the State by municipalities.
  • Lack of investigation of such discrepancies, and the lack of standards for triggering such investigations.
  • Weaknesses in the ballot chain-of-custody.
  • An unsatisfactory improvement in the random audit drawing integrity vs. the November 2012 audit, as reported in our recent Districts In Drawing Study.

Coalition spokesperson Luther Weeks noted, “When compared with audits in 2011 and 2012 we found little difference, positive or negative, on the issues previously identified and the level of concerns affecting confidence.

<Full Report (.pdf)> <Press Release> <Review detail data and municipal reports>

What is lacking in Connecticut’s Post-Election Audits (Part 1)

Some contend that Connecticut has the Nation’s toughest post-election audit law. We contend it has several holes, is not well executed by officials, and if a voting machine were ever to count inaccurately the audit would be unlikely to recognize that. Almost certainly, there will be bills and proposals to weaken and strengthen the audit debated this year. Today, we will focus on:

A Very Critical Vote That will Not Be Audited

Testimony: National Popular Vote

Yesterday was the annual public hearing on the National Popular Vote Compact. Yet it was different, the most thorough and thoughtful hearing I have seen in ten years of testifying and observing the Government Elections and Administration Committee. Unfortunately, it was not televised – you really needed to be there.

3rd Harford Elected Registrar maybe eliminated by Council

So may the 1st and 2nd Elected Registrars

The Courant has long been opposed to a third and even a second Registrar in Hartford. The Editorial Board would rather see the Council appoint registrars, as authorized in a Charter Revision last year. As we explained at that time, contrary to claims by the Courant, the proposal could result in an untrained, unqualified, politically appointed registrar or registrars.

Now we learn that the Courant and supporters now believe they got something else wrong in explaining the Charter Revision to the public.

Citizen Study Finds State Audit Flawed From the Start

Crosspost: Coalition Districts in the Random Drawing Study, Nov 2013

Citizen Study Finds State Audit Flawed From the Start

Post-Election Audit Flawed from the Start by Inaccurate List of Election Districts

Based on concerns with the integrity of the random drawing in previous elections, the Coalition initiated a project to thoroughly check the integrity of the list of districts in the drawing for the November 2013 election.

Coalition spokesperson Luther Weeks noted, “The credibility of our elections depends on the integrity of the Post-Election Audits. The integrity of the audits in-turn depends on the integrity of the drawing.”

The report found,

  • Fewer discrepancies in the random drawing list than were found in November 2012 and efforts by the Secretary of the State’s Office to improve the accuracy of the list.
  • Seventeen (17) voting districts missing from the drawing list or recanvass list. The selection of two (2) fewer districts for audit than required by law.
  • The audit law calling for the random selection and auditing of 10% of voting districts is not being faithfully executed, leaving the integrity and credibility of the audit and our election system open to question and expose it to the potential of future manipulation.
  • The law intended to fix past problems is not being followed. — A failure rate of 67
  • Fully complying with the law is complicated by the loose definition of voting district in the law.

<Full Report (.pdf)> <Press Release> <Backup Data>

Legally Questionable Solution Proposed for Bickering Registrars

The the West Hartford registrars do not get along, resulting in trading complaints, long lines at polls, and an inability to solve that without intervention by the Secretary of the State. The latest is an attempt by the town to fix the problem, despite the fact that the registrars are publicly elected officials charged with running the elections. In our opinion, best that the Town Council members can do is to work with their Town Committees to find candidates who, if elected would work together, or to find satisfactory candidates to win in primaries.

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