Post-Election Audits

We respond to Secretary Merrill’s testimony opposing audit transparency bill

Last Monday we testified for S.B. 540, a bill that would increase audit transparency and public verifiability.

Later we noticed that Secretary of the State, Denise Merrill, submitted testimony opposing one provision of the bill and therefor recommending against the entire bill. Her testimony misinterpreted our bill, recommending against it based on something we did not ask for and was not part of the bill.

In response we wrote a follow-up letter to the GAE Committee.

Testimony on bill to improve election audits, transparency, and security

 

Yesterday, we testified in support of our bill to improve the post-election audits, audit transparency, and ballot security.

  • Common sense reforms to require all aspects of audits to be transparent and open to the public.
  • Common sense reforms to establish minimal standards for ballot security.
  • Electronically Assisted Manual Audits that are transparent and publicly verifiable, based on sound science.

Journal Inquirer Editorial and Our Response

Journal Inquirer Editorial, Monday:  ARE ILLEGAL ALIENS VOTING IN CONNECTICUT?

Our letter sent yesterday:

I agree with the sentiment but not the details of your editorial…There is a better solution…The solution is routine, independent, and publicly verifiable audits of all aspects of election administration.  With such audits, we would not be in this situation…

Evidence-Based Elections

We favor “Evidence Based Elections”.  We recently reread this 2012 paper by Phil Stark and David Wagner,  Evidence-Based Elections

It covers at a high level the requirements to provide the public and losing candidates the evidence necessary to convince that its very likely the candidate favored by the voters actually was declared the winner of an election (or determining, if possible, the winner).

Compared to all the states in the Union, Connecticut would rank slightly above average, yet far from approaching credible evidence-based elections. We have paper ballots, inadequate post-election audits, close-vote recanvasses, no compliance audits, and atrociously weak ballot security.  This is a case where a rating/ranking should be the result of multiplying the factors, rather than adding them:

Paper Ballots(1.0)  x  Post-Election Audits(0.3)  x  Self-Correcting(0.4)  x  Compliance(0) = 0

Secretary of the State Ignores Post-Election Audits as Key in Elections

What can we learn from the press release and calendar?

  • Elections Officials and the Secretary of the State’s Office work all year. In many towns the jobs are low pay and part time, yet the schedule is year-round and relentless.  There are only a few periods when officials can take turns taking vacations attending to personal matters, like medical procedures. Occasionally the job is viewed as cushy, partisan, and thankless.
  • The Secretary of the State apparently considers post-election audits as not important enough to be included in the schedule.

Video: The Story of the Attempted Presidential Election Audit

Recount 2016: An Uninvited Security Audit of the U.S. Presidential Election

Also, I’m not sure that we at the University of Michigan could hack into all the paper ballots across multiple states sufficient to change the Presidential election. But I’m pretty sure my undergraduate security course could have changed the outcome of the Presidential election this year. It really is that bad, – Alex Halderman

Amid national election concerns, Connecticut goes the wrong way

CT Mirror Viewpoints

Last week, without public notice, seven Connecticut municipalities conducted electronic “audits” under the guidance of the UConn Center for Voting Technology and the Secretary of the State’s Office, using the Audit Station developed by the Voter Center.
There is a science of election audits. Machine-assisted audits can offer efficiency and ease of use, but any audit process needs to be transparent and provide for independent public verification of the results.

[Election] law is an ass

State and Federal have ruled that Jill Stein does not have standing to call for a recount in Michigan.

Our Opinion: The Michigan law[and or this ruling] is an ass, every single voter in the United States has an interest in the vote in every  state, in every municipality, and that the vote of each voter is counted and totaled accurately. Each of those plays a part in selecting our President and the majorities in the U.S. House and Senate.

How Do We Know Without Recounts?

We have all seen many articles and posts on the recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.  We are likely to see many more.  For now, here are a few points about the recounts:

  • I am entirely in favor of  thorough post-election audits and recounts.
  • I am entirely in favor of the recounts initiated by Jill Stein.
  • Even if there is no change in the state winners, Election Integrity has won already
  • Yet, maybe we will not win that much in the end
  • All the objections to the recounts are partisan

What Do YOU [still] Want? Eight+ Years and Not Counting.

In the summer of 2008 I was on a panel in Fairfield, CT. I opened with remarks on “What Do You Want”. I said voters want five things and what Connecticut could do about them in the short run (three steps over two years).  The two years  passed and little changed, so in 2010 I repeated the post as What Do YOU [still] Want?  Here we are in late 2016 and little has changed for the better:

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