Chain of Custody

Just a step in the right direction: Merrill meets with Homeland Security

“Yesterday, along with representatives from the state’s information technology and public safety departments, I met with regional officials from the United States Department of Homeland Security to discuss how we can work together to ensure that Connecticut elections are safe from outside interference or manipulation. We had a productive meeting and I look forward to working together in the months and years to come to protect our elections, the bedrock of our democracy.” – Denise Merrill, Connecticut Secretary of the State

We applaud this step in the right direction.  Last year as leader of the National Association of Secretaries of State, Merrill opposed the designation of elections as critical infrastructure, leading in expressing the concern for a Federal take-over of elections. We were critical of that stand then and remain so.

In our opinion this is just a step. There are several aspects to election security/integrity that should be addressed,. This  step may assist in those that are under direct control of the of the the State, yet less so those under local control.

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.

Security Against Election Hacking

From Freedom to Tinker, Andrew Appel: Security against Election Hacking – Part 1: Software Independence <read>

We have heard a lot lately about the vulnerabilities of our elections to hacking.  Both cyberhacking and unsophisticated insider attacks. Andrew Appel describes some common sense approaches to detect and deter error and fraud in our elections, covering three major vulnerabilities:

  • Incorrect or unavailable poolbooks.
  • Voting machines
  • Accumulation of results across polling places and jurisdictions

Marks questions marks: Colorado democracy black and blue

“Where their is smoke there is fire”.  We say, “Where there is black and blue there is a victim” and “When it quacks like a cover up, suspicion is justified”.  In this case we have ballots filled-in in black and blue with cross-outs. We suspect Colorado democracy is the victim.

Once again, a blow to those who claim there  is no voting fraud.  A further justification of counting votes by scanner in public in polling places, limiting mail-in voting, and  limiting central scanning, while  arguing for requiring adversarial election officials in every operation.

TSA provides “Security Theater” , not “Peace of Mind”

The Intercept covers the lack of security and abundance of BS from the TSA: TSA Doesn’t Care That Its Luggage Locks Have Been Hacked 

In a spectacular failure of a “back door” designed to give law enforcement exclusive access to private places, hackers have made the “master keys” for Transportation Security Administration-recognized luggage locks available to anyone with a 3D printer…

Now that they’ve been hacked, however, TSA says it doesn’t really care one way or another.

What reminders and lessons can we learn from this?

Common Sense: Laws must be Sufficient, Enforceable, and Enforced

In one of his books, Gerry Weinberg pointed out that employee evaluations should be multiplicative not additive, that is, the various dimensions of performance and capabilities should be multiplied rather than added to determine the overall value of an employee.

There is an analogy with laws, including election laws.  Laws must be Sufficient, Enforceable, and Enforced. Missing one of the three, all value is lost.

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?

Two Reminders: Transparency and the Limits of All Paper Elections

This week we have had two demonstrations of themes we have discussed in theory at CTVotersCount.
From Connecticut, the importance of transparency.
From abroad the limits of paper only elections.

Education “Reform” provides lessons for voting integrity

? What is more important to you? Democracy or the Education of our children?

Answer: <click>

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