State Audit Working Group comments on H.R.1

This week the State Audit Working Group published a letter sent to Rep Sarbanes regarding the collective concerns with the bill <read>

Here are the details from the cover letter to Rep Sarbanes:

We write to request critical changes to H.R.1, along with suggested improvements. Without a few key changes, we believe the bill might degrade election integrity and miss opportunities for improvement, rather than meet its well-intended, laudable goals. Our comments are restricted to election administration and integrity issues pp78-407 of the bill.

Attached to this letter is a list of detailed comments. Here we summarize the most critical items:

  • >Requirements for grants should be stronger, to help ensure effective Risk Limiting Audits (RLAs). We suggest specific improvements to the HR1 grant requirements. Grants should be available to audit compliance and eligibility which are crucial for valid RLAs.
  • Poll books should be part of the Federal certification program, as proposed. So should other systems used to determine the eligibility of voters or ballot packets. They however, should be tested and certified separately from the voting system. Competition will be stifled if pollbooks are only tested as part of an entire voting system. Election officials will end up with fewer and less innovative purchase choices.
  • Ballots cast by an in-person voter by hand marked paper ballots may be rejected later under the current text. When a voter appears in person they must be offered an opportunity to be authenticated and, upon authentication, vote on a hand marked paper ballot  without further eligibility checks.
  • Voter Privacy / Ballot Secrecy. Ballots should never be associated with voters, thus compromising ballot secrecy There should be no unique identification numbers on some ballots for voters with disabilities. Voters should not be able to waive their ballot secrecy, a collective right.
  • Voting over the internet is not secure and does not protect the secrecy of the ballot. For security and integrity, votes should not be transmitted over the internet or by other electronic means such as email or fax.

Last week we posted a three-part series on our concerns with H.R.1. There concerns were largely based on the effects for states like Connecticut.

PS: I am the Moderator of the State Audit Working Group. Members spent hours over a couple of weeks under tight deadlines to publish our concerns.

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