Voting Vendor and Yale Professor – Suggest Changes To Election Procedures

Dori Smith aired the second segment of a four part series on voting integrity, yesterday at 5:00 PM on WHUS. Once again, I highly recommend listening to the audio and reading the transcript while also marking your calendar for next week. Also review segment one.

This segment has further interviews with John Silvestro, President of LHS, our voting machine vendor and Professor Michael Fisher of Yale University and President of TrueVoteCT.

Mr. Silvestro suggests that the problem of ignored or violated procedures, like the one in the 2nd District in November, 2006, can be handled by auditing fully the machines involved:

Then automatically in my mind that precinct should come into the post election audit OK? And that you know although you are going to select 10% that one precinct may end up being, and it should, end up being one of the automatic entries into that 10% post election audit. And that’s the beauty of post election audits is that you can take situations that arise on election day and say OK. We want to do 10% of 793 with whatever that comes to, 79 or let’s call it 80 precincts. But we had problems in precinct you know A, B, C and D or E and F and whatever. Eight precincts? Those eight are already included and the other 72 are going to be randomly withdrawn. And that’s how I believe you would do this. – John Silvestro

I agree that Mr. Silvestro has a basically good idea, yet I also have three concerns:

  1. It is not covered in the current law, so, for this to be accomplished it should be changed in the law. This spring, the Secretary of the State’s office argued that if the legislature did not pass Senate Bill 1311 there would be no audit, because the Secretary otherwise had no power to order towns to perform post-election audits.
  2. Mr. Silvestro suggested that the districts so audited be counted against the 10% random audit mandated by Senate Bill 1311, now Public Act 07-194, but this would defeat the purpose of a ‘10% RANDOM’ audit.
  3. The situation under discussion involves a significant violation of procedures that went unrecognized and unreported until Dori Smith’s investigation. It remains uninvestigated and unpunished by the State. So, Mr. Silvestro’s suggestion would not have resulted in timely action, nor even any action at all in this case.

The segment also covers Mr. Silvestro’s views on the benefits of outsourcing elections. My view is that outsourcing elections, as we do now, is not a solution, it is an additional barrier making solutions more difficult.

But you also have you know the issue of support and service and longevity and you know that’s one of the things that you get with privatization. That’s you know why doesn’t the Military make their own planes? You know you can go in and look at privatization and say why are a lot of these things done, you know, and on the other side why are they not? Why is health care not, why is is privatized why isn’t it public? I mean you know it’s a discussion of this country and I think it’s a good discussion. I mean it’s beneficial to have these discussions, to talk about what should and shouldn’t be done. How things should be done.

I’m very concerned. This is me, this is not as a President of LHS Associates so if you want to talk about this or quote it or anything, I’m just as concerned that the Parties would be involved. The Parties would actually be involved with election process if it wasn’t privatized. – John Silvestro

Professor Fisher provides prospective on the current problems and several areas where procedures in programming and supervising the election process can increase the integrity of voting and our confidence it it.

His company [LHS] has the power, but its not just his company, any employee of his company…has the power…if he decided it was the interest of his company to have a certain outcome in the elections in Connecticut, he could also cause that to happen…..The State and the Secretary of the State’s office does not have the technical expertise to deal with this new technology and so they have been turning to LHS for many different aspects of running elections. And one of the things we’ve advocated is that the State acquire some expertise…

There are many things we need to be working on and in some sense they all come down to procedures:…certification…what is the certificating process in this State?…all that has happened in the past is that some paperwork gets filed…security is one of these things that many eyes make for better security…we need protocols that work and that are actually effective at giving us honest and fair elections. – Michael Fisher

Once again, I highly recommend listening to both segments in their entirety.

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