Ten Myths In The Nutmeg State – Revised, Downward

We have been distributing our document, Ten Myths About Electronic Voting In Connecticut, since early February to citizens, election officials, and legislators. To date, exactly no (ZERO) errors or inaccuracies have been brought to our attention.

But in reviewing the Myths we find that things have changed – for the worse:

Myth #2 – The November 2007 post-election audits proved that our voting machines count accurately.

Reality

    • Registrars reported 31 instances of discrepancies between the machine and hand counts with differences ranging from 10 to 54 for a candidate, in a single district. The highest percentage discrepancies were: 44%, 19%, 18%, 13%, 13%, 11%, and 10%.
    • Without a physical investigation we cannot attribute the differences to either machine or human counting errors.
    • To date, none of these discrepancies have been physically investigated. Evidence for a complete investigation is no longer available as the ballots are no longer under seal and memory cards were reprogrammed for the February primary.

 

  • A legally mandated analysis of the February Presidential Primary was not released as of Sept 1, 2008. (added 9/2008)

 

 

After each election and primary our election audit law mandates that UConn produce a report to the Secretary of the State analyzing the post-election audit. Here we are seven months after the election with no report. We have to ask: What good would a report do now? What good is a law that mandates a report, yet sets no required time frame?

Myth #9 – If there is ever a concern we can always count the paper.

Reality

The law limits when the paper can be counted.

  • Audits can protect against error or fraud only if enough of the paper is counted and discrepancies in the vote are investigated and acted upon in time to impact the outcome of the election. See myths #1 and #2.
    • An automatic recanvass (recount) occurs when the winning vote margin is within 0.5%. The polling place moderator or the Secretary of the State can call for a recanvass, but even candidates must convince a court that there is sufficient reason for an actual recount.
    • Recounting by hand is not required by law. It is currently required by a procedure that can be changed at any time by the Secretary of the State.

 

  • Recounting by hand is not required by law. In early 2008 the Secretary of the State reversed her policy of hand recounts. We now recount by optical scanner(rev 9/2008).

 

Perhaps we are guilty of delay too. We should have revised this one months ago. The Secretary of the State should not have revised her policy. The legislature should have strengthened the law, but actually intended to make it weaker than the Secretary’s original policy.

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