The Perils of Dependent Investigation

One of the prime objectives our Petition To Enhance Confidence In Connecticut Elections is “Requiring the Independent Audit Review Board”. Here is an example of the questions that can surround an investigation by an elections entity attempting to investigate itself, in Washington, D. C., from the Washington Post, Primary Vote Still Doesn’t Add Up: <read>

As District officials continue to investigate errors in the early vote tallies from the Sept. 9 primary, one number stands out: 1,542.

That number appeared in the category for “over votes” in 13 separate races when the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics released early results on election night. But those votes inexplicably vanished shortly after midnight, when officials posted what they identified as corrected results…

A memo obtained by The Washington Post shows that three of the four members of the elections board task force reviewing the blunders also work for the board: Darlene Lesesne-Horton, data services manager; Mohammad M.B. Maeruf, information technology project manager; and Vialetta Graham, chief technology officer. The fourth member is Clifford Tatum, a Help America Vote Act consultant from Georgia…He said that too often elections boards become the chief investigators when something goes awry.

“Yet again, they are investigating their own mistakes,” Jefferson said. “Time and time again, experience shows we need independent technical investigations of incidents like this. I wish the D.C. Council or whoever has authority would just order it.”

Several years ago, questions arose about the academic background of Graham, the board’s chief technology officer.

In 2003, the District’s inspector general completed a year-long investigation on the board and found that Graham had misrepresented her academic credentials on two city job applications, saying she had received a bachelor’s degree in computer science from American University when she had not.

Update: What Could Possibly Be Worse Than Dependent Investigation? Relying on the vendor to explain discrepancies: The West Palm Beach problem goes on and on <read>

They’ve called in Sequoia Voting Systems, the company that sold the county the machines.

The board says those officials are flying in from California and are expected to look into the issue Monday.

Canvassing board interim chair, Judge Peter Evans, told election workers and reporters Sunday, “At this point we feel its best to step back and get these questions answered before we take any further steps hastily and that’s what we’re going to do.”…

The canvassing board is expected to meet Monday afternoon at 3pm for an update on Sequoia’s findings.

Reference: VotersUnite report on outsourcing.

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