Results of Post-Election Audit of the May 4th Municipal Election

This time we agree with the Secretary of the State on the post-election audit results in Naugatuck.  Both people and machines can count very accurately.    That is what we should always expect of election officials. (Our comments after the article)

Article from:?????? Secretary of the State’s Electronic Newsletter
Issue 39 June 4, 2009:


The results of the latest hand count audits of election results in Connecticut are in: once again, our machine counts were extremely accurate. Post-election audits conducted at two polling places in Naugatuck showed extremely accurate machine counts during the Municipal Elections held May 4, 2009. Polling places located at Central Avenue and Oak Terrace in Naugatuck were chosen at random on May 8th to undergo hand count audits of the machine totals for the May Municipal Elections, representing 10% of all voting precincts in Connecticut for that election. As required by Public Act 07-194, An Act Concerning the Integrity and Security of the Voting Process, 10% percent of the polling precincts used in the election are subject to an audit. Deputy Secretary Lesley Mara directed that the audit precincts be chosen from a pool of 13 precincts in the six towns that held municipal elections May 4th. This pool did not count precincts that required a recount. A review of the audit results has been completed by the Office of the Secretary of State and showed that there was no discrepancy in the counts at the Oak Terrace precinct, while there was only a discrepancy of one vote at the Central Avenue precinct in the race for City Treasurer out of nearly 800 cast. In the majority of cases, small discrepancies between machine totals and hand-counts are due to human error in the auditing process. Once again, these hand count audits have reinforced the integrity of our elections and show that our optical scan voting system is secure and extremely accurate. No matter the size of the election, Connecticut’s post-election audit procedures are the toughest in the nation and they exist to ensure that the will of the voters expressed by the paper ballots is reflected in the machine counts on Election Day. Connecticut voters can be confident in the integrity of our elections and that their votes are counted correctly.

We  agree that “In the majority of cases, small discrepancies between machine totals and hand-counts are due to human error in the auditing process”.  However, that the majority of discrepancies are manual count inaccuracies is insufficient.  We raise the concern that when differences are found, at a minimum, recounts should be performed by local officials until two counts agree – either the machine and a manual count or two manual counts.

We observed the audit in Naugatuck.  The first count of ballots for each district were each off by one ballot, the officials recounted and found where the initial manual count was incorrect.  When vote counts were off they  recounted until they were convinced that their manual counts were accurate.  That should be the standard met by all audits, in every municipality, in every election.  The  Coalition reports show significant discrepancies in municipal counts in previous audits, while recounts of the manual counts by the Secretary of the State’s Office show that people  can count inaccurately and that people can also count accurately <read>

We appreciate the Secretary of the State’s Office, Deput Mara, and Naugatuck election officials for conducting the audit and the Secretary of the State for reaffirming the value of audits.  No election and no vote is exempt from the risk of error and fraud.  There is more work to do, more gaps to close <read>


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