March 2014

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Mid-Term Report: Two bills that should go forward

Today we highlight two bills important to election administration that we hope will be passed. As is often the case, nothing is perfect, yet sometimes testimony improves an inadequate bill, based on a good concept. Sometimes we support a bill that falls short, that none the less would be an improvement.

Mid-Term Report: Two really dangerous bills and a duck

Yesterday, the Government Elections and Administration (GAE) held its last meeting of the year to approve bills originating in the Committee. Today we will recap three of be seven election bills we are tracking.

It is hard to compare and prioritize the importance and impact of bills for good or ill. Today’s three bills provide an instructive contrast. All three are well intended, yet ill conceived. One is extremely threatening to democracy, yet the threat may be way off or ultimately avoided. Another sets a bad precedent for Connecticut and the Nation, flaunts reason, with a message almost the opposite of that intended. The third aimed at fairness is unfair to most of those seeking redress for an imagined unfairness. UPDATED.

Testimony: Defending the Secret Vote and Check-in Integrity

Yesterday, I testified against two bills. I do not particularly like testifying against bills that promote concepts that I support, like electronic check-in, yet like all technology, it can be done in a way that helps, without adding risks.

On the other hand, it is a privilege to defend the Secret Vote, one of many, often under-appreciated, keystones of democracy. Also appreciated is the many thoughtful questions presented by the Committee which gave me an opportunity to stand for the Secret Vote.

NPV – A graphic scenario

We are opposed to the National Popular Vote Compact, primarily because it would tend to make the current risky system for determining the President by the Electoral College, much more risky and subject us to open-season for vote suppression, insider fraud, outsider fraud, and legal challenges likely to end with the Supreme Court choosing the President. Paul Choiniere of The Day provides a graphic depiction of a related scenario.

Testimony on three bills – FOI is an issue in elections too

Today I testified on three elections bills before the Government Elections and Administration Committee (GAE). There was also testimony against another assault on Freedom Of Information (FOI). Very appropriate since access to information, transparency, public accountability, and serving the public played a role in my testimony on each bill.

What is lacking in Connecticut’s Post-Election Audits (Part 2)

Some contend that Connecticut has the Nation’s toughest post-election audit law. We contend it has several holes, is not well executed by officials, and if a voting machine were ever to count inaccurately the audit would be unlikely to recognize that. Almost certainly, there will be bills and proposals to weaken and strengthen the audit debated this year. Today, we will focus on:

WWWSD (What would Willie Sutton do?)

Citizen Audit Observation: Flaws Remain after Seven Years

Crosspost: Observation Report – Flaws Remain after Seven Years

Citizen Audit Finds Little Improvement In Election Audits

Post-Election Audit Flaws Remain After Seven Years and Twelve Audits

The report concluded that the official audit results do not inspire confidence 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.
  • An unsatisfactory improvement in the random audit drawing integrity vs. the November 2012 audit, as reported in our recent Districts In Drawing Study.

Coalition spokesperson Luther Weeks noted, “When compared with audits in 2011 and 2012 we found little difference, positive or negative, on the issues previously identified and the level of concerns affecting confidence.

<Full Report (.pdf)> <Press Release> <Review detail data and municipal reports>

What is lacking in Connecticut’s Post-Election Audits (Part 1)

Some contend that Connecticut has the Nation’s toughest post-election audit law. We contend it has several holes, is not well executed by officials, and if a voting machine were ever to count inaccurately the audit would be unlikely to recognize that. Almost certainly, there will be bills and proposals to weaken and strengthen the audit debated this year. Today, we will focus on:

A Very Critical Vote That will Not Be Audited