Mail/Absentee Voting

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 5 – Choices and Disappointments

This is the fifth in a series on Early Voting in Connecticut. See <Part 4 – Electronic Pollbooks>

In this post we will cover the choices for implementing Early Voting facing the General Assembly along with the disappointments associated with each choice.

Disappointments are based on the expectations outlined in our first post. See <Part 1 – Expectations>

Option 1 – Fourteen or So Long Days of Early Voting Places
Option 2 – Four to Six Days, Six to Seven-Hour Early Voting Days
Option 3 – In-Person Absentee Voting

Why follow California and Colorado to massive early in-person early voting for just 5% of voters who could all easily choose to vote by mail or on Election Day?  Why not benefit/save from their experience, before they do?  Start slow, gain experience, add mail-in voting, and learn from our own experience…

A new twist: Fraud allegations added in Stamford

Earlier this week in Federal Court a former Stamford Democratic Chair was found guilty of absentee voting fraud: Former Stamford Democratic Chief Found Guilty of 28 Felonies in Ballot Fraud Case 

For those not familiar with the case, suspicions started with a single voter attempting to vote in-person being told that he has already voted absentee, followed by a State Elections Enforcement Investigation leading to a referral to  Federal investigators. The Dem Chair was indicted, while a former Republican Town Clerk turned state’s evidence and was not indicted.

 

But there was one surprising development in the trial:

Among the documents was a complaint sent to the FBI by a city official alleging improprieties in the town clerk’s office during the 2017 municipal election. Because of that, Randolph said he was obligated to inform the witnesses that they had the right not to testify because anything they said could be used against them by the FBI in its investigation.

Seeger said he’d planned to call Loglisci and two clerks that worked under her, Diane Pesiri and Maria Stabile, in his final chance to question them near the end of the trial. But Pesiri and Stabile declined to testify, as did Willy Giraldo, who also received ballots from Loglisci. After that, Seeger did not try to bring Loglisci or other witnesses to the stand.

Now there is more information: Stamford Clerk Warns FBI of Possible Ballot Fraud in Second Election

 

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.

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…

S1 Tempers “For the People Act” Impact on Connecticut

As we pointed out earlier, H1, the House version of the “For The  People Act” would have a large impact on Connecticut’s elections.

Recently there was a new Managers’ Amendment in the Senate, S1 https://www.rules. senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Klobuchar%20Substitute%20S1.pdf

We have reviewed the new version and are pleased to report that there are many improvements that would ease its impact on Connecticut election officials, yet the impact remains significant.

Among the changes:

Testimony on two more election bills: RLAs and Internet Voting

H.B.6325 was a second bill similar to an earlier on that proposed a task force for Risk limiting Audits (RLAs). My detailed testimony only changed a little bit. For the previous bill, I only testified on paper. For this bill I spoke, especially giving my answer to a legislators question of another on another bill. I’m glad I had a few days contemplate an answer: “How would you explain RLAs to forth graders?”

That is a good question: Risk Limiting Audits are intended to confirm that elections are correctly counted and totaled or to correct incorrect results…