74 Districts in 55 towns chosen for audit. And the surprises just keep coming.

Yesterday, the Secretary of the State with the assistance of members of the Connecticut Citizen Audit Coalition chose 74 districts.  This is the 1st drawing I have not attended since they started in August 2007, but the Coalition including CTVotersCount was well represented.

We had understood from Deputy Secretary Mara that the registrars would have until 12/1 to complete the audits, so we were surprised when the press release said they had to be complete by next Monday 11/22.  The law says they must be complete two days before certification which is next Wednesday, although we recall past audits that went beyond.  In any case, we and the registrars are all scrambling, especially since the drawing was four or five days later than usual.  Hard for us to fault the registrars for not complying with the Secretary of  the State’s procedures which require a three day public notice before the audits occur.

The surprises just keep coming!

At the drawing the Secretary announced an agreement with the Bridgeport Registrars that the 12 districts with the copied, hand counted, ballots would be voluntarily audited with all the ballots for the race for Governor counted. Surprise Surprise! It seems that not everyone in Bridgeport government agreed to the agreement, so for now it seems to be off, from the Ken Dixon at CTPost:

Bridgeport rejects ballot recount

HARTFORD — Bridgeport officials, citing a lack of authority for Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz, have rejected a request to recount ballots in the 12 city voting precincts that were kept open an extra two hours on Election Day.

Bysiewicz’s office said Arthur C. Laske III, deputy city attorney, called Monday afternoon to announce that the city would not be redoing the count that they originally performed in the days after the Nov. 2 election.

Laske’s call occurred hours after a Bysiewicz news conference announcing that Bridgeport’s voting registrars agreed to perform an additional review of the ballots as part of a routine statewide recount of totals in 74 polling precincts.

We would like to say more, but we have audit observers to schedule.

Update from CTNewsJunkie <read>

In a joint statement Bridgeport Attorney Mark Anastasi and Deputy City Attorney Arthur Laske said Anastasi spoke with an attorney in the elections division of Bysiewicz’s office Monday afternoon to tell them “no one in the city had agreed to such a recount.“

Bysiewicz’s office has no legal authority to force them to do a recount, but those polling places were left out of the random drawing for the statewide audit of 74 polling places.

“It seems the Secretary was mistaken both as to whom her office spoke with from the City of Bridgeport and what was said on Monday,” Anastasi and Laske said. “The Bridgeport Registrars of Voters had preliminary discussions with Deputy Secretary of the State Leslie Mara about this subject, but neither Registrar agreed to the proposal or received a promised follow-up call about the proposal.”

While a voluntary audit may ensure confidence in the results of the governor’s race, Anatasi and Laske said “The City can find no legal authority which either requires or even allows the State or the City to conduct such a recount.”

“We believe that the Secretary of the State is equally aware of this absence of legal authority,” the two attorney’s said.

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