Handmarked paper ballots more verifiable than ballot marking devices

New study The study What Voters are Asked to Verify Affects Ballot Verification: A Quantitative Analysis of Voters’ Memories of Their Ballots

As a practical matter, do voters verify their BMD-printed ballot cards, and are they even capable of it?  Until now, there hasn’t been much scientific research on that question…

  1. In a real polling place, half the voters don’t inspect their ballot cards, and the other half inspect for an average of 3.9 seconds (for a ballot with 18 contests!).

  2. When asked, immediately after depositing their ballot, to review an unvoted copy of the ballot they just voted on, most won’t detect that the wrong contests are presented, or that some are missing.

Blockchain a technology with great claims, without documented success

Blockchain has been wildly mis-sold, but underneath it is a database with performance and scalability issues and a lot of baggage. Any claim made for blockchain could be made for databases, or simply publishing contractual or transactional data gathered in another form.

76 Bad ballots, followed by unfortunate decision for election integrity

Rep. Philip Young, D-Stratford, won re-election to a second term on Nov. 6, defeating Republican Jim Feehan by 13 votes in the 120th District. But Feehan says as many as 76 voters at Bunnell High School were given ballots for the 122nd District, which uses the same polling place.

Ruling from the bench, Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis dismissed Feehan’s request for a new election, agreeing with the attorney general’s office that she had no jurisdiction to do so under the Connecticut Constitution, lawyers for Feehan and Young said.

“That power has been committed exclusively to the House of Representatives, and this Court therefore lacks jurisdiction to grant the relief that Feehan requests,” the attorney general’s office said in a brief filed Thursday.

 

Courant Editorial Misses the Mark on At Least Three of Five Points

On Sunday the Hartford Courant lead Editorial proposed fixes to its perceived problems with Connecticut’s election system: 5 Fixes For State’s Broken Election System. Note that all the statewide races were decided by 8:00am on Wednesday morning after the election.

To the Courant’s credit, for the second time in a row, they published a letter of mine criticizing an editorial.

Proposed Fixes Could Make Problems Worse

The editorial “Five Fixes for State’s Broken Election System” misses the mark on at least three of its five proposals

See a problem, propose a solution you want that might make the problem worse

There were long lines for Election Day Registration (EDR) and it took a whole 10 hours to count enough votes to determine the Governor in Connecticut. Our EDR is a problem, but waiting ten hours for result is just a concern hyped up by a overly impatient press and used as a opportunity by advocates to promote early voting as a solution.

As of this time the states of California, Colorado, Florida, and Georgia are still counting votes. They all have mail-in early voting.  California has a Friday deadline to receive mail-in ballots postmarked by election day and counts them for weeks after election day.  As of Friday all those other states were still counting.

There real are problems and there are reasonable solutions.

Connecticut dodges EDR bullet. How long will EDR dodge the Civil Rights bullet?

In this election as in recent elections, we issued our Election Day Registration Warning to voters. We have been issuing warnings to the General Assembly for several years as well. We have warned that it is a “Civil Rights violation waiting to happen.” since the Secretary of State declared that voters in line at 8:00pm could not have the opportunity to register and vote unless officials completed their registration by 8:00pm.

Yesterday, there was great concern when for the third time in three even year elections, voters were deprived of registering and voting due to Secretary Merrill’s ruling and inadequate work by registrars. Read the New Haven Independent’s story: Ballot Pandemonium: Machines Break All Over Town; Voters Wait Hours; Stefanowski Seeks Injunction

By day’s end it appeared that hundreds of the people in line — mostly Yale students — wouldn’t be able to register in time (8 p.m.) to cast ballots. “Let us vote!” they chanted.

Sadly, our history with election concerns is to quickly move on from concerns, once a clear winner has been determined.

 

Georgia voter registration system crisis touches Connecticut

Georgia Secretary of State, Brian Kemp, just launched an investigation of the Democratic Party of Georgia, after their consultant pointed out a serious vulnerability in Georgia’s voter registration system/database: Kemp’s Aggressive Gambit to Distract From Election Security Crisis

This touches Connecticut because the vendor for Georgia’s system, PCC, is located in Bloomfield Connecticut and supplies Connecticut’s voter registration and election night reporting systems. It is not certain that the reports so far accurately portray PCC’s role in Georgia and if any of the same vulnerabilities apply to the Connecticut’s system. From our understanding Connecticut has paid a lot of attention to the security of our voter registration system and that PCC supplies the software by is not involved in its operation. We have reached out to the Secretary of the State’s Office suggesting that they address the relevance of the Georgia report to Connecticut.

WARNING:

THE ONLY WAY TO BE SURE YOUR VOTE WON’T COUNT – IS TO NOT VOTE.

Vote tomorrow. Your vote is very likely to make a difference!

Warning! CT: EDR, won’t save you if you arrive late to vote

The front line of election security in Connecticut has about 169 weak points

Last week, West Haven paid a $2,000 ransom to hackers to unlock its computer systems. In a statement from the city, the ransom was characterized as a “one-time fee.” The word-choice here reveals an oversimplified view of the reality of ransomware, a cyberattack in which hackers lock data and demand payment.

First, West Haven was lucky to regain access to its systems after paying the ransom. Fewer than a quarter of ransomware victims actually get their files back after paying up. More often, hackers pocket the money and leave the data scrambled.

The notion of a “one-time fee” also fails to account for reputation damage and loss of trust. A city like West Haven — which is already navigating difficult financial straights — needs to rally community support. A blunder like this undermines the momentum it was building…