Digital Democracy Good – for Voting Bad Bad Bad!


Our friends across the pond are thinking of Internet Voting. Tech unsavvy elders apparently want to entice young voters. Hopefully, the young are savvy enough to understand the security risks and are too smart to trust democracy to smart phones.

Editorial in ComputerWorldUK highlighted at TheVotingNews: Digital Democracy? – Yes, Please; but Not Online Voting

Citizen Audit Cites Improvements, Faults Flaws, in Official Election Audits

SOTS Office makes improvements, significant Registrars of Voters flaws continue

Improvements noted by the Citizen Audit include:

  • Small, yet significant improvements in and corrections to the Official Audit Procedures made by the Secretary of the State’s Office (SOTS Office) at the request of the Citizen Audit.
  • Increased integrity and credibility of the audit based on a Citizen Audit of the random drawing of districts and races. (As reported separately on 1/21/2015)
    • Significantly fewer errors in the random drawing list in November 2014 compared to November 2013.
    • Public and transparent drawing of races to be audited after the November election.

The audit observation report concluded that the official audit results do not inspire confidence after eight years and fourteen audits, because of the continued:

  • Lack of consistency, reliability, and transparency in the conduct of the audit.
  • Discrepancies between machine counts and hand counts reported to the Secretary of the State by municipalities.
  • Lack of investigation of such discrepancies, and the lack of standards for triggering such investigations.
  • Weaknesses in the ballot chain-of-custody.

The audit observations also uncovered tabulator errors and inadequate election procedures which cause some votes for registered write-in candidates to not be counted.

Citizen Audit spokesperson Luther Weeks stated, “We appreciate improvements made by the Secretary of the State’s Office. We remain disappointed after eight years that significant improvements remain to achieve a credible audit, especially by local election officials, in too many municipalities.

<Full Report (.pdf)> <Press Release>
Detail data/municipal reports <Nov> [read post] | By on January 22, 2015 - CT, Post-Election Audits

Citizen Audit Cites Improvements, Faults Flaws, in Official Election Audits

SOTS Office makes improvements, significant Registrars of Voters flaws continue

Improvements noted by the Citizen Audit include:

  • Small, yet significant improvements in and corrections to the Official Audit Procedures made by the Secretary of the State’s Office (SOTS Office) at the request of the Citizen Audit.
  • Increased integrity and credibility of the audit based on a Citizen Audit of the random drawing of districts and races. (As reported separately on 1/21/2015)
    • Significantly fewer errors in the random drawing list in November 2014 compared to November 2013.
    • Public and transparent drawing of races to be audited after the November election.

The audit observation report concluded that the official audit results do not inspire confidence after eight years and fourteen audits, because of the continued:

  • Lack of consistency, reliability, and transparency in the conduct of the audit.
  • Discrepancies between machine counts and hand counts reported to the Secretary of the State by municipalities.
  • Lack of investigation of such discrepancies, and the lack of standards for triggering such investigations.
  • Weaknesses in the ballot chain-of-custody.

The audit observations also uncovered tabulator errors and inadequate election procedures which cause some votes for registered write-in candidates to not be counted.

Citizen Audit spokesperson Luther Weeks stated, “We appreciate improvements made by the Secretary of the State’s Office. We remain disappointed after eight years that significant improvements remain to achieve a credible audit, especially by local election officials, in too many municipalities.

<Full Report (.pdf)> <Press Release>
Detail data/municipal reports <Nov> <Aug>

Hartford Election Report: Sad, yet an easy recommended read.

As they and we often say, “Diagnosis before cure”. Lest the cure be ineffective or worse than the disease.

The Hartford Common Council empowered a Committee of Inquiry to gather facts on the widely reported late opening of polls on election day, the long known disfunction in the Registrars Office, and the less reported inaccurate, yet to be corrected reports of election results. We recommend reading the whole report. It is an easy read, yet sad, disappointing, and as some have said outrageous

WNPR Where We Live: Inside Cyber Security

Yesterday, Where We Live, with John Dankowski, was a discussion of Cyber Security for consumers and business.

At about 17:49 into the show, I called in and reminded John Dankoski of the Secretary of the State’s Symposium on Online voting that he moderated just over three years ago. In response to my comment, Professor Bryan Ford of Yale, gave a very thorough summary of the potential risks of Internet voting.

Election Reformers as Entertainers?

Last week Paul Krugman had an interesting Economics editorial that by analogy can apply to some election reformers as well. In general, I agree with Mr. Krugman when it comes to Economics. Beyond that he has a skill making readable opinion pieces that make single points well, even if they are based on very detailed economic theory or analysis. This article is a little different in subject, yet makes an important, useful point that applies widely, including to election reformers

Not everything you want, is a solution to every problem

In Wednesday’s print edition of the Courant, one in a series of editorials setting an agenda for the State, Agenda Toward A More Open Government. There is much to like and agree with in the editorial: Stronger investigative subpoena for state prosecutors; closing the cash spigot for campaign finance; and strengthening the watchdog agencies.

While we are skeptical of the benefits of open primaries, their potential, and ultimately the value of “more moderate nominees”, we are particularly in disagreement with one section, Do-Over for Early Voting.

Its been said that when you only have a hammer, you see that as a cure to every problem.

Ambitious agenda should be reasoned and well-planned

In today’s print edition of the Courant, one in a series of editorials setting an agenda for the State, Agenda 2015: Ambitious Goals For The State, one portion focuses on elections,

We diverge from the Courant in our opinion. We continue to point out that the most comprehensive system of election administration reform would be to regionalize elections, obtaining some of the same benefits obtained by regionalizing probate.

Also, Professionalization does not include ignoring science. There is a reason we do not connect our scanners to the internet to report results.

General Assembly ready to protect everything Internet. Except voting?

Meanwhile Congress, in-spite of gridlock, takes the time to appeal old law calling for Internet voting experiments. Isn’t it time for the General Assembly to follow suit?

Election Day Registration: Sadly, we told you so.

Like the rest of the U.S., Connecticut had low turn out in the November 2014 mid-terms. Much better than the national average. It is always hard to judge the cause of turnout differences in a single election.

But one thing is clear, Election Day Registration (EDR) has failed to meet the expectations of its proponents – unfortunately results were more in line with our predictions.

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