Chain of Custody

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…

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 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:

Early Voting in Connecticut – Part 1 – Expectations

Having passed the Early Voting Constitutional Amendments in November, everyone expects the General Assembly will pass implementing legislation in 2023 and give some time for officials to implement it, i.e. the Secretary of the State’s Office to detail procedures and registrars to implement them.

We plan a series of posts. Today we will start with the expectations of various groups, as we understand them.


We can only speculate what voters expect, certainly they are not a homogeneous group. They have read and seen in the news that Connecticut is one of only four states that do not support some form of early voting (in-person early voting and/or no-excuse mail-in voting). They likely understand that this amendment only authorizes in-person early voting…

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.

Testimony: Suggest Correcting Two Serious Flaws in the Law.


Yesterday I testified on a technical elections bill that the General Assembly should go farther in two regards:

Transparency, Ballot Security, and Public Verifiability are the basis for justified confidence in our elections. So much more important now that many question the integrity of our elections.

As I testified in 2016 and 2015, existing law and a new law providing for interrupted counting lasting up to 48 hours have serious flaws:

  • First, the new law for interrupted counting did not provide any method for the public, candidates, or parties to be notified when counting was to resume.

Second, since the inception of optical scanners in 2007 the law has never recognized that ballots are cast in polling places. That portion of the law assumes, apparently, that we are still using lever machines.

It is long past time for Connecticut to begin a path toward full transparency, public verifiability, and protecting our paper ballots, upon which justified confidence in elections is based. <testimony>

The Arizona “Republican Audit”, no so fast

There are many reviews of the Arizona “Republican Audit” <read> and critiques, like this one <read>. I have to admit that I did not attend or watch the audit and have not read the report in detail, yet I have heard from those who have read the report and some who observed parts of it. Democrats and others are celebrating. Don’t rush to any conclusions, consider:

  • There are many distorted claims in the audit report, yet a few point to weaknesses in our election process, not just in Arizona…

Risk Limiting Audits: A Guide for Global Use

A recent report, Risk Limiting Audits: A Guide for Global Use is about the most comprehensive and balanced introduction to Risk Limiting Audits that I have seen. Its 38 pages will take an hour or two to read in detail, and well worth it.

I am a fan of Risk Limiting Audits, yet I am concerned that they are misunderstood in several dimensions:

  • RLAs are not a panacea:…

Testimony on two Elections Bills


Earlier this week we testified on two elections bills.

First a bill for a Task Force to provide a prototype and recommend state laws for Risk Limiting post-election Audits (RLAs). See our testimony and that of the inventor of RLAs, Philip Stark, and John Marion of RI. Phil and I disagree just a bit on our recommendations. I find November is just not the best time to do a prototype and then providing less that two months to make recommendations to the General Assembly is not enough time. Here is all thee testimony <read>

Then on a long bill with several election changes recommended by the Secretary of the State. We had comments on two sections: We asked that two officials empty drop boxes and sign logs listing their content. Also a reform we have been requesting for a long time – including central count absentee ballots and Election Day Registration ballots in post-election audits <testimony>