Primary Audits Insuffient – The Numbers and The Loopholes

CORRECTION: Watching the CT-N rerun Secretary Bysiewicz said 98%-99%

UPDATE: I participated in the random district drawing today at the Secretary of the State’s press conference.

Actual count: 110 districts, 11 to be audited.
Loophole leaves West Haven, part of Bridgport, and other elections exempt from audit.
Secretary claims audits detect errors and fraud 96?-98% of the time, I say at most 2%-4%.
More details and comment tomorrow.

Original post 09/12/07:

We say that the audits mandated by Public Act 07-194 are insufficient. Yesterday twenty-three Connecticut municipalities held primary elections. Here are the numbers, if I have them correctly:

Primary elections: 23

Election districts (approximately): 125

Districts, statewide, to be selected for audit: 13

Minimum number of primaries that will not be audited: 10

Maximum probability a town with one district will be audited: 10%

Maximum probability Hartford mayoral race will be audited: 50%
(If audited, 1 race of 2 will be selected randomly)

Maximum probability Bridgeport mayoral race will be audited: 33.3%
(If audited, 2 races of 6 will be selected randomly)

Known loopholes in Public Act 07-194 that may be invoked: 3

  1. If one race in a municipality is closer than 0.5% it will be subject to automatic recanvass, and all other races in the municipality will be exempt from the audit.
  2. If one race is contested and will be recanvassed all other races in the municipality will be excempt from the audit.
  3. Although the districts to be audited must by law be selected in a statewide public random audit, the races are only required to be selected in a random audit, which is not required to be public.

Bottom line it is likely that the mayoral races in Bridgeport and Hartford will not be audited. It is possible that the random drawing(s) which select other races may be conducted out of public view. It is possible that a candidate in another race can contest the result and thereby block an audit of a Mayoral race.
I sincerely hope that:

  • The municipal clerks will do the right thing, and hold the drawings publicly.
  • By luck the mayoral races are audited
  • At least 10% of the districts in Hartford and Bridgeport are audited.
  • That any discrepancies found in the audits are not explained away.
  • That the legislature heeds our call to fix the audit law in time for the November 2008 election.
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