Warning: This Elecition Will Not Be Audited

The following report about a recent election in Plainfield raises several issues:

  • The Help America Vote Act does not require electronic voting. All paper balloting for federal elections is OK. But according to this article not in Connecticut.
  • In general we have no problems with all paper ballot elections, although there is attraction to the security of counting by machine followed by a sufficient audit involving a strong chain-of-custody (since errors or fraud would be harder to accomplish, requiring multiple independent mistakes, or coordinated machine and paper fraud.
  • But we do raise a concern with any vote “election”, “primary”, “special election”, “question”, or “referendum” that is not audited. Like every “question”, “special election”, or “referendum” in Connecticut, this one will go entirely unaudited.
  • We have an especial concern with paper ballots that are not audited. We have gone through two major post-election audits and several public hearings where election officials in towns and at the state level have consistently claimed that election officials in Connecticut are unable to reliably count paper ballots.
  • While we believe that paper ballots can be counted accurately by Connecticut election officials, unless the officials believe it is possible and take the appropriate precautions it is very risky. (Actually it should be easier to count during audits rather than on election night with possibly tired election officials who have had a long long day.)
  • In the February Presidential Primary several towns had a shortage of ballots, necessitating hand counting of copy machine ballots — they were never audited. This is a very big vulnerability and loophole in our election laws.

PS: I personally observed the February Presidential Primary Post-Election Audit in Plainfield. Of the twelve audits I haved observed it was one of the most transparent and reliable counts I have seen. So I have no reason to doubt the result in this case.

Plainfield budget clarification: Paper ballot use was OK <original>

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
Norwich Bulletin
Posted May 20, 2008 @ 05:02 PM
Plainfield, Conn. –

The Board of Selectmen’s decision to not use the electronic voting machine at Monday’s referendum on the $44.4 million budget was not in violation of Connecticut state statues, a spokesman from the Secretary of State’s office said.

It was unclear Monday night whether or not the move, which First Selectman Paul Sweet said was to save money, was in accordance with the statutes.

Adam Joseph, spokesman for Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz, said towns must use the new voting machines for elections, but for referenda they may be used at the town’s discretion.

Both the education and general government budgets failed Monday.

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