Good Bye Manual Recounts – No Paper No Problem

According to an article in the New Haven Register, the Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz has revised recount procedures to eliminate manual recounts. <read>

As we reported last month, Secretary Bysiewicz was “Prepared” to eliminate manual recounts <read> It seems that preparation must have included writing new recount procedures which are now apparently in place, according to the Register:

Adam Joseph, a Bysiewicz spokesman, said new procedures put in place since the election will help avoid similar problems.

Under existing law and procedures worked out in consultation with the University of Connecticut’s Voting Technology Research Center, “What we’re going to direct registrars to do in upcoming elections with regard to recounts is to review the ballots” and “questionable ballots should be set aside,” he said.

Registrars would run the remaining ballots through with a different memory card and then count the questionable ballots by hand with all parties looking on, Joseph said.

Surprisingly, if Mr. Joseph was accurately quoted, this new procedure was put in place sometime between February 5th and February 23rd, for an election eight months off — while just last Friday the Secretary announced a Voting Security and Accessibility Board, presumably to advise her office on such matters. Equally surprising is that the change would be put in place at the same time the legislature is holding hearings around the state to gather concerns from the public relative to electronic voting.

It seems there will also be a push in the legislature from Representative Lawlor and others to fix this in the law, possibly preventing a future Secretary of the State from reverting to manual recounts:

Lawlor is a [Government Administration and Elections] committee member. Lawlor said that he, along with other members of East Haven’s legislative delegation, soon will submit legislation in response to last November’s East Haven mayoral election, which resulted in two hand recounts and, according to Lawlor, revealed “serious flaws” in the state’s guidelines regarding how recounts of the new paper ballots should be carried out.

To our knowledge, Representative Lawlor was the first legislator to call for scrapping manual recounts. <read>

At the Public Hearings we have been providing copies of Ten Myths About Electronic Voting In Connecticut. Although about audits, Myth #3 applies equally to recounts:

Myth #3 Hand counting is prone to human error. Electronic voting is more reliable because computers produce the same result over and over again. We should abandon manual audits and just run the ballots through another machine to validate the count.


  • Computers and memory cards are programmed by humans and just as prone to human error.
  • An improperly programmed computer will miscount the vote over and over again.
  • Since all cards in a district should by definition contain exactly the same information, re-scanning on a similar machine would not detect erroneous or fraudulent programming.
  • People can determine voter intent more exactly. They can produce an accurate/verifiable count given time, proper procedures, and controls.

One response to “Good Bye Manual Recounts – No Paper No Problem”

  1. The BRAD BLOG : 'Daily Voting News' For February 23, 2008

    […] CT: Good Bye Manual Recounts – No Paper No Problem […]

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