Citizen Audit Report: After 10 Years, Serious Flaws Continue

Citizens Audit Report:
After 10 years, 18 post-election audits, and 800 local audit counting sessions, serious flaws continue

From the Press Release:

Post-election vote audits of the November 2017 elections continue to fail to meet basic audit standards. They again undermine confidence in the accuracy of our elections, concludes the non-partisan Connecticut Citizen Election Audit.

Among the group’s concerns:

  • 41% of reports required to be submitted to the Secretary of the State by registrars were incomplete or were not submitted. The Secretary’s Office failed to follow up on those reports.
  • Weaknesses in ballot chain-of-custody and security.
  • Continued use of flawed electronic audit procedures that are not publicly verifiable.

On the bright side, developments related to the electronic audit point the way to improvement:

  • The Secretary of the State’s Office and UConn Voter Center solicited feedback on improving the electronic audits.
  • Write-in counting issues and failure to separate ballots as required were clearly identified by the electronic audit and observed by the Secretary of the State’s Office.

Luther Weeks, Executive Director of the Citizen Audit said, “We are frustrated with so little improvement after 18 statewide audits over 10 years. Citizens deserve better. Yet, if the Secretary of the State’s Office follows up on these problems and pursues publicly verifiable electronic audits, progress can be achieved in the near term.”

<Press Release .pdf> <Full Report pdf> <Detail data/municipal reports>

Are you a Conspiracy Theorist?

Last week as I prepared for the MLK Conversation, I wrote up a couple of Frequently Asked Questions, one asked about Conspiracy Theorists.

Are you a Conspiracy Theorist?

I think we all are.  We just don’t recognize that many of the things we believe are conspiracies.  Many were unproven allegations before we believed them…

Reading the Hartford Courant and the New York Times its amazing how many articles involve actual or alleged conspiracies.  I counted at least a score  in those two publications, just today. Take this as an exercise. Pick up your newspaper, online news site, or look at Facebook for a while and see how many you see that you believe are actual conspiracies, are possible, or are doubtful.  Here are some ideas to ponder…

“Does your vote count?” Glastonbury MLK Conversation

Last Wednesday evening, I was one of five speakers and a moderator at a Community Conversation held by the Glastonbury Martin Luther King Community Initiative. There were about 60 to 75 in attendance. We addressed “Does your vote count? An examination of the Issues” I addressed issues in two areas: How could you know if your vote was counted? And what I would recommend to expand democracy in Connecticut, without risking election integrity. Here are my prepared remarks:

Supreme Court to Bridgeport: Those sort of things just aren’t done in CT

In a 3am decision, the Connecticut Supreme Court ordered a third primary in Bridgeport. CTPost: Supreme Court orders 3rd primary for Bridgeport

“Citizens can expect and are entitled to integrity in the process and a fundamentally fair and honest election, and this, I regret to say, they did not get,” the judge stated in overturning the results of the primary and ordering a new one.

Video: Atticus v. The Architect: The Political Assassination of Don Siegelman

I have followed this story off and on for years. As promised this film not only reviews the story but adds additional information. People ask me if any elections have been stolen. I say probably a few are and point to this as one that was. The cover-up is much much worse than the initial crime. The cover-up of the cover-up even worse. Yet, nothing happening once everything was pretty much in the open is worst of all. Like many documentaries, the first half or so is a little slow, yet you will be richly, disturbingly rewarded for watching till the end.

The constitutional case against partisan gerrymandering

The Chicago Tribune, via Verified Voting: The constitutional case against partisan gerrymandering

The case against partisan gerrymandering is not hard to make. It frustrates democracy by preventing voters from evicting those in power. It penalizes voters of one party or the other by deliberately diluting their electoral strength. It renders the consent of the governed largely moot.

Virginia saga continues

Last time we editorialized that the Virginia race that came down to a single ballot and a drawing was noting to be alarmed at, nothing but a close vote.  Yet, there is a new twist,  with many voters in Virginia registered in incorrect districts.  In the district in question just a single voter incorrectly voting in the district or incorrectly excluded could have changed the result. Virginia: Thousands of Virginians may have voted in the wrong state House districts

We cannot trust computers, communications, or officials with elections

Recently two serious structural flaws in computer chips have been disclosed (they were discovered several months ago). So far, the understanding is that one will be difficult to fix and the other impossible, without a new computer architecture.  See:  The World Grapples with Critical Computer Flaws <read>

We cannot say it enough, “Ultimately, computers cannot be protected from fraud and error.” We also cannot trust officials to operate flawlessly. Fortunately, there are solutions.

No New York, Virginia is not like Florida 2000

From the New York Times: Virginia: Voting Mess Was Never Supposed to Happen After Bush v. Gore 

I don’t know where the impression was left that somehow we would not have close elections after 2000.  There are some analogies here but not everything is the same.

Editorial:

Close elections happen.  Each voter and each vote is critical to the result.  Every error by voters, by officials, by machines, and by fraud can change the result. When it is this close it truly is a crap-shoot, even when one candidate or the other wins by a hand-full of votes.  What is needed is a process that is of high-integrity, every step of the way, followed by a fair, per-established adjudication method.  In our opinion that is exactly what is happening in Virginia. A far cry from 2000 and Gore v Bush.

Yes, Virginia your vote does count [if you do vote]

The Virginia House election does remind us. From the Hill: Tied Virginia election proves every vote actually does count

  • Just as one more vote would have made a winner. One vote less on either side would have lost.  So, those who voted can all take credit for the result.
  • This was bigger than it seems.  The final adjudication will determine which party controls the Virginia House.
  • There is no Santa, democracy is in our hands.