Dead Men Don’t Vote (New Podcast)

My friends at OSET (Open Source Election Technology just officially launched a new podcast yesterday: Dead Men Don’t vote. Its goal it to explain all that officials do under the covers to run our elections. The 1st episode, Do Dead People Actually Vote?, lived up to that goal. They packed a lot into 33 minutes. <link>

 

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).

January 6 was practice. They are much better positioned to subvert the next election.

Bart Gellman article in the Atlantic: Trump’s Next Coup Has Already Begun
January 6 was practice. Donald Trump’s GOP is much better positioned to subvert the next election 

Its a long article, yet, unfortunately the most chilling projection yet of what is awaiting in 2024 and perhaps in 2022. I would emphasize Trump less that Gellman.  It can be as bad if he is not the candidate. Its not just the presidency at stake, its all levels of democracy and our democracy itself.

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:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzakPMlj0LigvokDrkgiDVw/live

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

September 2021 Audit Drawing

This year’s drawing was different. Based on the law passed this year it finally included centrally counted absentee ballots, an item we have been requesting since 2008. We thank Secretary Merrill for initiating the change this year. Better late than never!

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…

RLA Working Group holds its first meeting.

This spring there was a bill to initiate a Risk Limit Auditing Working Group. I testified in favor of the concept and suggested several changes to the bill. A similar bill was passed near the end of the session. Last week the group began its work. Here is a video of the meeting:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhH4JVYcaso

Here is the bill passed by the General Assembly: https://cga.ct.gov/2021/ACT/PA/PDF/2021PA-00002-R00SB-01202SS1-PA.PDF (The RLA section is on page 156.)

The meeting lasted about an hour, primarily consisting of an introduction to RLAs by Alexander Russell from UConn.  Assisted by Ben Fuller also from UConn.  Also in the group was Brian Macdonald, a statistician from Yale.

I am only familiar with the Chair Gabe Rosenburg, Alex Russel, and one of the registrars of voters in the group. There was no published agenda or list of members. The members were listed by the Chair at the beginning of the meeting. I could be wrong, yet as far as I know none of the members of the group have any experience observing or participating in RLAs. A far cry from RIs plan which included experienced experts from around the country and took much more time and effort that seems to be possible here…

What’s the matter with BMDs?

Free Speech for People recently held a forum on Ballot Marking Devices (BMD)’s: An Examination of the Use and Security of Ballot Marking Devices

I recommend watching at least the 1st panel and;
If you are considering purchasing BMDs for all voters then you owe it to your jurisdiction to watch the whole forum;
If you are a voter and your jurisdiction is considering such a purchase of BMDs, you should also watch the whole thing and let your legislators and election officials know what you think.

Our Editorial:

…How much better to purchase the minimum number of BMDs today, fund research, and replace them every five years or so with improved designs.

Why doesn’t anyone know what a voting machine costs?

We recently hosted a discussion on the Price of Voting Machines. Now an article in Politico gives the background story.

Politico: One Man’s Quest to Break Open the Secretive World of American Voting Machines

It began to dawn on Caulfield, slowly at first, that the amount the public didn’t know about these companies was vast. Quarterly profits, regional market share, R&D budgets, even the number of employees—often, there was simply nothing. “Basic, basic data—the basic layout of the industry—was just not out there,” Caulfield recalls. “Eventually, we realized that it didn’t exist.”…

Caulfield’s work points toward something more radical than perhaps even its author intended: a new reason to question the marriage of election administration and private industry. “What kinds of machines would we make if we declared this a public good, and had it produced in public laboratories?” Bollinger asked …