Post-Election Audits

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>

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 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…


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>

Random Drawing of Districts for November 2022 Post-election Audit

On Thursday Secretary of the State Mark Kohler led the drawing of districts for audit.

Here is a list of the selected districts <press release>

A flawed new version of Risk Limiting Audit bill moves forward in the General Assembly

Last month I wrote about S.B.472 for Risk Limiting Audits, despite all but unanimous testimony that the bill was highly flawed, a flawed substitute was passed shortly thereafter by the General Administration and Elections Committee. Last week that revised bill became available on the web, allowing public scrutiny. There is a Word version and a .pdf version, the .pdf version has a fiscal note and an Office of Legislative (OLR) analysis.

It is revised from the original with some improvements, yet remains ambiguous and confusing, although now it may be closer to an actual Risk Limiting Audit. I question if the person(s) who wrote this updated bill had or took advantage of review by anyone familiar with the science of Risk Limiting Audits. Considering the fiscal note and the OLR Analysis, it seems to me that the description in some cases reads things into the bill that do not seem to be reflected in the bill. In particular, it assumes costs and roles for UConn that are not clear in the bill. Costs and roles that would be consistent with the prototype last year, but not obvious in the bill that would become law.

Testimony on two election bills. One poorly written, the other needing more.

Yesterday I submitted testimony on two bills before the GAE (General Administration and Elections Committee. Unfortunately I was unable to testify in person. It was not for a lack of trying. I had submitted testimony and signed up for the hearing two days in advance, yet only one of my two testimonies was posted in time for the hearing and neither I nor the committee staff could get me the link to testify. Its happened before this year and last, yet only for this committee – in the past the staff was able to correct the problems. In one case not much was lost except to my reputation as the committee still called may name when I was supposed to testify.

S.B.472 Would change our existing 5% audit, adding risk-limiting audits. Unfortunately it is a highly flawed bill. I submitted the most detailed testimony, articulating its many flaws new and existing. Fortunately the testimony, so far, us unanimously against the current bill, with more on the way. Overall no harm done that I could not speak. It would seem that its is very unlikely to move forward this year.

H.J.114 The Constitutional Amendment to provide for no-excuse absentee voting. In this case, not being able to testify in person and my testimony not being up hurt. I am likely the only person speaking and submitting testimony asking that the bill remove another unfortunate restriction in the Constitution that will bite us along the way with absentee voting and/or ranked choice voting. Of course we can wait and learn our lesson the hard way.

A provision of the Freedom to Vote Act reduces credibility, defying common sense

There is a lot that needs to be improved in our elections. The current bill before Senate and House, the Freedom to Vote Act, is well intended yet in at least one provision it actually makes elections less secure, less likely to provide public confidence. This is a change from previous bills H.R.1 and all version of S.1.

This new provision would prevent observers from within eight feet of ballots until after certification. That would make it impossible for observers to actually see that votes were counted and totaled accurately in audits and recounts (recanvasses in CT).

November 2021 Post-Election Audit Drawing

The drawing was held on Wednesday 11/16. 33 polling places and 2 central count absentee ballot locations were selected.

Connecticut RLA Working Group, 2nd Meeting

On Wednesday, the CT RLA (Risk Limiting Audit) Working Group held its second meeting and firmed up plans for the 2021 prototype audits. Below is a video of the meeting and an email I sent the Chair Gabe Rosenberg and the chief scientist from UConn, Alex Russell.

Watch here:

I have watched both meetings of the RLA Working Group and have several Suggestions and comments…