CT

CT Attorney General’s opinion on Ranked Choice Voting

https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/AG/Opinions/2024/2024_1_AGO_Formal_Opinion_on_Ranked_Choice_Voting.pdf

AG William Tong concludes that for State Offices (General Assembly, Judge of Probate, Governor, LT Governor etc.) would require a Constitutional Amendment.

I would go one step further that the Constitutional requirement that such offices be counted and certified within 10 days of the election would be all but impossible to coordinate across the entire State if they required multiple hand recanvasses (recounts) , as the order of elimination can be critical and more than one can be very close.

Random Audit Drawing – First to use 10-sided die, rather than barrel

After several years of our asking, Secretary Thomas uses 10-sided die for drawing. This is much more fair, transparent, and random than drawing slips from a barrel. The Secretary gets our applause for this change.

Here are the districts chosen, from the Press Release:

This time there were a number of medium and large cities with recanvasses, exempt from the audit. So a higher percentage were chosen from the remaining towns. Also we believe Fairfield is exempt based on a highly publicized recanvass, so at least Suffield will be added from the alternates: <read>

Don’t be deceived: Drop Boxes are more of a solution than a problem

Since the absentee ballot cheating in Bridgeport we have heard more and more calls for banning drop boxes. That is illogical.

This evidence was only possible because of video surveilled drop boxes.  Without drop boxes and surveillance ballots could have been mailed through many post office boxes,  from individual mail boxes, or just added to the system in city hall, somewhere between the mail room and the municipal clerk’s office.

The alternative would be unsurveilled mail boxes, sent through the mail, to the mail room, and then through some unknown system to the clerk’s office.  Even if U.S. mail boxes were surveilled (which might be illegal for those in post offices or at homes) there would  be no way of identifying what was mailed by particular individuals…

You can legitimately be concerned with the greater risks of mail balloting. Yet we all should recognize that drop boxes are a part of the solution, not a part of the problem.

Betting on the SEEC to get to the bottom of Bridgeport AB issues

From the CTNewsJunkie: State Commission Probes Bridgeport Primary Amid Ballot Concerns

I’m betting on the SEEC to get to the bottom of Bridgeport AB issues This might be a bit of work, but straight-forward. We have long advocated against signature checking during AB counting as that is a very sophisticated process requiring experts and a lot more than one signature given years ago or electronically at the DMV.  However the value of signatures on AB applications and AB envelopes is just for these cases of suspected mass insider AB fraud…

Republicans focus on eliminating drop-boxes is exactly what not to do. The drop-boxes are not the problem, they are part of the solution…

Activists for hand-counting ballots don’t acknowledge drawbacks: More mistakes, time, and money

We have said it before, we will say it again: The best protection is machine counting in polling places on election night followed by sufficient post-election audits and recounts. <for example>

A recent article in Votebeat: Activists for hand-counting ballots don’t acknowledge drawbacks: More mistakes, time, and money

Years ago a minority of liberals wanted only hand-counts now its election-denying conservatives.

It seems that those who have never tried have opinions that are not informed by sufficient facts.

Testimony on two small, instructive bills

Last week I submitted testimony on two bills before the GAE (General Administration and Elections Committee.) (Read my testimony here)

This is likely the last time I will testify this year. Both of the bills seem minor, yet offered and opportunity to highlight errors and inconsistencies in the law that are overlooked and not addressed.

The first about collecting envelopes from drop boxes. There is no requirement for more than one person to collect the envelopes. There is no requirement that the collection and materials be logged. Who supports that ballots and other materials should be collected and transported by only one person, at any time?

The other making minor changes to the recanvass law, including requiring a training video from the Secretary of the State. I suggested several other changes, such as notifying all candidates, sending the video link along (so that everyone involved know the rules, and that one observer should be allowed per counting team.

When submitting testimony one can specify Support, Oppose, or General Comments. When signing up to speak the choices are Support or Oppose. I often wrestle with this. I know that some look just at how many support or oppose a bill. Here there is much missing, so I choose oppose.

Testimony opposed to six bills on RCV and RLAs

On Monday I testified against five bills on Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) and one on Risk Limiting Audits (RLAs),

As I said,

I am not opposed to the concepts of Risk Limiting Audits (RLAs) or Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) but I am opposed to all six of these bills as they are insufficiently detailed. They also provide no guarantees of transparency..

Both of these concepts involve detailed technical and computational issues. Neither are as simple as looking at marks on ballots and simply counting votes. Officials, candidates, the public, and the SEEC need to know exactly what is expected of officials, so they can perform as expected and such that all can determine if they are doing what is required, uniformly across the state…

 

Testimony on Early Voting and Absentee Voting Bills

Yesterday I submitted testimony on four bills before the GAE (General Administration and Elections Committee.) (Read my testimony here)

I was pleased to learn that Secretary of the State, Stephanie Thomas generally agreed with me and that she called out my testimony in hers!

It was clear before I spoke that the Committee understood my main points, so I asked them to read the testimony and spent my three minutes discussing additional thoughts:

Nov 2022 Post-Election Audit Report

From the Press Release:

Watchdog Group: 24 Audits Since 2007 with Little Improvement

Independent Observation and Analysis of Connecticut’s Nov 2022 Post-Election Audit

HARTFORD: We conclude, based on citizen observations and analysis of official municipal post-election vote audit of the November 2022 election, that it failed to meet basic audit standards

After 16 years with disappointing, locally performed, hand-count audits, we recommend replacement of all local hand-count audits with sufficient and efficient electronically assisted manual audits utilizing the UConn Audit Station.

The non-partisan Connecticut Citizen Election Audit has provided volunteer observation and post-election audit reports since the adoption of optical scanners statewide in 2007. Without the hours and mileage incurred by these volunteers after every election nobody but a few election officials would know the actual quality of the audits performed, while officials would have less motivation toward credible audits.

<Press Release .pdf> <Full Report pdf> <Detail data/municipal reports>

CT Secretary calls for 10 days of early voting starting in 2023

https://portal.ct.gov/SOTS/Press-Releases/2023-Press-Releases/Secretary-Thomas-Presents-Legislature-with-Recommendations-for-Early-Voting-Program From no ePollbooks currently approved and no early voting in place, this will be a tall order for the two elected registrars in each of our 169 towns. Likely tripling the number of pollworker days in most towns, requiring lots of recruiting and training and loads of novice pollworkers. This will also put a lot of work on the Secretary’s small staff to develop procedures, provide training, and approve all sorts of plans in a short time.

Editorial:..