Major Concerns With CT Law

“This new legislation ensures that regular and thorough audits are conducted in an open transparent process and that voters can have the highest confidence that their vote is being counted” – Secretary of the State, Susan Bysiewicz, Press Release 6/6/2007

“We still have a lot of work to do and we need concerned citizens like you to stay involved…I share your belief that we should make our audit law the strongest in the nation and that its size and scope is adequate to achieve its goals…” – Secretary of the State, Susan Bysiewicz, Letter to CTVotersCount.org Petitioners, March 5, 2008

Intended or not, the focus of Senate Bill 1311, now Public Act 07-194, audits is on validating the certification of voting equipment. However, protecting the integrity of voting requires a focus on validating the total vote for individual election races. This would require stricter objective criteria for calling for full manual recounts and an emphasis in reducing the time between elections and the completion of audits.

The most likely problem is an error or fraud in programming or tabulating of a single race in an election. More races need to be audited to deter fraud and prove the continuing reliability of the programming, testing, and counting processes.

SB1311 audits a minimum of three or 20% of races. No referendums or ballot questions will be audited. The maximum probability of detecting a error or fraud in a state wide race is 20%- 30%. In races, such as state representative, senator, or small to mid size municipal races, the probability of detection would be much lower, 2%-4%
In the case of a close or contested state wide race, there will be no random audit in the entire election. No polling place should be exempt from random audits.
Criteria for counting discrepancies and calling for recounts creates barriers to recounts that are too high:

  • Recounts should be automatic when audit discrepancies projected from any one polling place change the results by 1% (and even less in closer races)
  • Recounts should also be mandatory when “a discrepancy, has occurred that could affect the outcome of the election or primary”.
  • Discrepancies should be defined by the variation between total initially reported counts for a race and the counts of all votes by manual hand counts.

Audit and recount decisions are of the responsibility of the Secretary of the State — the same office which is responsible for certifying equipment, training, and conducting elections. Non-profit groups, laws in other states, and proposed federal laws describe this as a conflict of interest and call for audit oversight and judgments by an entity independent of a state’s chief election official.

“Mandatory election audits are a critical step for restoring public confidence in the electoral system … Secretaries of State can play a number of crucial additional roles that will facilitate efficient and effective election audits, but because of the appearance of conflicts of interest should not be supervising and conducting federal audits” (embolding added)
– Candice Hoke, Director, Center for Election Integrity, Cleveland State University, to Subommittee on House Administration, 3/30/2007

Updated 9/6/2007

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One response to “Major Concerns With CT Law”

  1. talknationradio.com » Connecticut Regulations Leave Door Open to Fraud and the Further Privatization of State Elections to LHS and Diebold

    […] initially hopeful that the Secretary of State, Susan Bysiewicz would update security protocols and regulations designed to protect the vote. Professor Michael J. Fischer of Yale University is president of the […]