Bysiewicz: “Optical scanners were remarkably accurate”

Press Release:  BYSIEWICZ RELEASES FINAL REPORTS ON INDEPENDENT AUDIT OF NOVEMBER 2009 MUNICIPAL ELECTION RESULTS AND MEMORY CARDS <read>

“My office entered into this historic partnership with the University of Connecticut VoTeR Center so that we could receive an independent, unbiased accounting of Connecticut’s optical scan voting machines,” said Bysiewicz. “The results of these three studies confirm that numbers tallied by the optical scanners were remarkably accurate on Election Day November 3, 2009. Voters should feel confident that their votes were secure and accurately counted.”…

As part ofUConn’s report, a total of 776 records of races were reviewed by the VoTeR Center following the local audit process. Of that sample, 57.6% or 447 records were complete and contained no obvious audit errors. Of those, only 36 or 8% showed a discrepancy between machine counts and hand audits of between one and three votes, with the largest single discrepancy being three votes. Officials from the Secretary of the State’s office investigated another 299 records of audits where larger discrepancies were originally shown that were later determined to be caused by human error during the hand-count auditing process.

Unlike Secretary Bysiewicz: We do NOT agree that phoning election officials and getting them to agree that they counted inaccurately provides much confidence in the audit, least of all proof that the machines counted accurately.  Nor does disregarding incomplete reports create credibility.

See our comments on the UConn Report:

We have several concerns with these investigations:

  1. All counting and review of ballots should be transparent and open to public observation.  Both this year and last year we have asked that such counting be open and publicly announced in advance.
  2. Simply accepting the word of election officials that they counted inaccurately is hardly reliable, scientific, or likely to instill trust in the integrity of elections.  How do we know how accurate the machines are without a complete audit, any error or fraud would likely result in a count difference, and would be [or could have been] very likely dismissed.
  3. Even if, in every cases officials are correct that they did not count accurately, it cannot be assumed that the associated machines counted accurately.
  4. Simply ignoring the initial results in the analysis of the data provides a simple formula to cover-up, or not recognize error and fraud in the future.

Sort of like Major League Baseball doing a random drug test, and then calling the team managers and having them agree that they must have botched the tests that were positive for drugs.

We also question if audit would pass muster as “Independent” since all the counting is supervised by the same officials responsible for the conduct of the election in the first place.  Only the statistical analysis might be considered independent, being performed by UConn.

We will find it remarkable if anyone disagrees with our conclusions.

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