Testimony on another flawed bill

Last week there was a public hearing for another well-intended yet risky bill. This bill would allow absentee voting for any person who was absent for any amount of time from their town on election day. We are sympathetic to those who are gone most of the day and cannot be sure if they will get back from work in time.

Absentee voting is most prevalent cause of detected voting fraud in Connecticut and across the country.We offered a compromise of allowing an absentee ballot to anyone gone from 7:00am to 6:00pm. That should give them time to vote in the morning or in the evening, even if they are a bit late returning to town.

Courant Editorial: Cheap Way To Boost Turnout

Today the Hartford Courant printed an editorial citing the Citizen Audit’s latest report:  Cheap Way To Boost Turnout

SOTS Plan: Real problems, yet no solution

One Wednesday, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill held a press conference to introduce her solutions to the recent problems with elections caused by registrars in several towns.  The problems are real. These solutions will do little to help, and might actually might make things worse. Its not worth the effort and the risks. As we have said many times, the solution is to “Do for elections what we have done for probate: Regionalize, Professionalize, Economize”.

Aaron Swartz, me, you, and our money.

Aaron Swartz “killed by our Government.” ? Fittingly his life, torture, and death available for all in an outstanding, free documentary. What does this have to do with you and me? Why is it fitting that the documentary is free?  Read on.

Citizen Audit Study Shows Low-Cost Way to Improve Turnout

Review of 169 municipal election websites shows election
information lacking, yet easily remedied

From the press release:

February 25, 2015. The Connecticut Citizen Election Audit released a study evaluating election information provided to voters in all 169 municipalities across Connecticut. Information was collected by volunteer evaluators in the days just prior to the 2014 November election.

Citizen Audit spokesperson Luther Weeks stated, “Many towns do not provide the information most sought by voters across Connecticut, such as ‘What is on the ballot’ or ‘Where do I vote?’. Many also failed to inform citizens of online registration, which could have saved citizens time and municipal expenses.”

Municipal website findings include:

  • Only 28% answered, “What is on the ballot?”.
  • Only 56% provided the “Date of the next election”.
  • Only 64% answered “Where do I vote?”
  • Only 15% posted results for their 2013 municipal election.
  • Many with broken links and obviously outdated information
  • Many with up-to-date event calendars and front page bulletins, listing current events, and Ebola preparations, that did not list election-day.

<Full Post and Report>

Testimony on two well-intended, yet (hopefully) fatally flawed bills

A week ago Friday, I testified against two well-intended, flawed bills that hopefully will not go forward.  One illustrates a terribly written bill that may have some underlying merit, yet leaves the public with no opportunity to understand the merits, the risks, and propose reasonable solutions.  The other intended to save work for registrars of voters, would not save much work at the expense of the voters and pollworkers.

So you want to connect voting machines to the Internet?

60 Minutes Shows Threats to Autos and Voting Machines are Real

We need a system that does not rely on trusting the Government or the abilities of officials and pollworkers. Sometimes the risks sound crazy and too theoretical and unlikely. For several years it has been known that many vehicles can be taken over via the Internet – but not really understood at a gut level. Last week 60 Minutes demonstrated the risks to Lesley Stahl so she will never forget, and perhaps by watching her we will also understand.

UConn Researchers: Turnout goes down as corruption goes up.

As we have mentioned before, turnout is the “Holy Grail” of elections.  Any election reform is touted as a means of increasing turnout. From touch screens to early voting that is one of the justifications, yet in actuality touch screens create annoying lines and early voting actually DECREASES turnout.

To increase turnout, lets avoid the gimmicks with integrity risks or unproven claims. Lets start with the hard work of rooting out corruption. There is a worse alternative, we could avoid looking. Maybe the public would be more likely to vote if corruption were ignored.

Two days at the Voting and Elections Summit

Three simple ideas standout among the many things I learned and relearned:

  1. When we are concerned about every cost associated with voting, small and large, compare those costs to what we spend “spreading democracy” elsewhere.
  2. Contemplate what people spend in time and expense for the excitement of the Superbowl. Why are we not similarly engaged in Election Day, where the who wins is much more significant to our lives?
  3. Should we be at least as concerned with protecting and auditing paper ballots, as we are with the footballs used in the semi-finals?

Sanity returns (mostly) to Maryland

Paper Ballots Return to Maryland Elections. Once Maryland implements optical scan, there will only be five states left without a voter verified paper record for voting.

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