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Connecticut


Connecticut: Secretary of State Outraged by Policy Disenfranchising Veterans PDF  | Print |  Email
Connecticut
By Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz   
June 30, 2008
Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz today June 30th openly defied the Department of Veterans Affairs' nationwide policy prohibiting voter registration drives among veterans living at federally funded nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and shelters for homeless veterans. Sec. Bysiewicz was joined by Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, veterans and veterans advocates at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in West Haven to blast the policy, register veterans to vote, and distribute information on the stateтАЩs new voting machines at the facility.

"The practice and policy of banning voter registration drives at veterans facilities is an slap in the face to the people that have served, put their lives on the line and scarified the most for our fundamental freedoms. It is simply wrong" said Bysiewicz. "It defies logic that this administration would even consider disenfranchising tens of thousands of veterans who have served our country and now require care. At a minimum we should make it easier for our veterans to register to vote."

Earlier this month in preparation for the November 4, 2008 Presidential Election, which promises to bring voters to the polls in record numbers, Secretary Bysiewicz requested permission to visit both inpatient and outpatient facilities to educate veterans, especially veterans with disabilities, about Connecticut's new voting machines. Last week, however, West Haven Veterans Hospital denied Secretary Bysiewicz's request.
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Reform Moves Forward In Connecticut PDF  | Print |  Email
Connecticut
By CT Voters Count   
April 18, 2008
While Federal reform is delayed, reform moved forward yesterday in Connecticut. The General Assembly Appropriations Committee passed H.B. 5888 with a joint favorable recommendation to the Legislature. On March 19th, the Government Administration and Elections Committee also passed the bill with a joint favorable recommendation.

H.B. 5888, An Act Concerning Revisions To The Optical Scan Voting System, makes one large future leap forward, along with several small and moderate improvements to increase election integrity in the near term. Its most important provision is to create an independent audit board:

Not later than December 1, 2008, the board shall develop standards and procedures for conducting audits of elections and primaries. In developing such standards and procedures, the board shall be cognizant of the current level of science utilized in the area of election auditing.

Additionally, subject to any other provisions of law, such standards and procedures shall enable any such audit to commence within forty-eight hours of the time when state election officials announce the final unofficial vote in each district…

An Independent Audit Board will provide an opportunity to dramatically revise our current post-election audits which are inadequate and have proven ineffective in practice.

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Connecticut: Coalition Releases 2nd Post-Election Audit Report PDF  | Print |  Email
Connecticut
By Connecticut Citizen Election Audit Coalition   
April 03, 2008
Procedures Alone Insufficient For Effective Election Audits

Download the Report

Coalition report on post-presidential-primary audits finds inadequate adherence to procedures and recommends additional changes in the law.

We report the good news that procedures have been significantly improved and that discrepancies noted in the counts in February post election audit were much lower than November. We are also pleased to report that, for the most part, registrars fully supported the portion of the procedures providing significantly improved observation opportunities for observers. These procedures allowed us to visually verify that ballots were being counted accurately and totals reported were accurately accumulated from those counts.


Unfortunately, now that procedures have been improved, the audit observations have exposed the lack of understanding of those procedures, lack of understanding of the principles behind the procedures, lack of attention to those procedures, and apparent lack of ability for election officials to follow those procedures.  


The February audit observations leave us with the information necessary to vouch for the accuracy of the hand-counting results we observed. However, many of the audits, as observed, leave us uncertain as to whether an error or fraud would have been detected in an audited race where we were not present to observe. We also question the security of the chain of custody to protect the integrity of ballots before the audits and to protect the integrity of ballots and tabulators after the audits such that further audits and investigations could effectively be performed.

Connecticut: Bysiewicz Prepared To Eliminate Manual Recounts PDF  | Print |  Email
Connecticut
By CTVotersCount.org   
January 29, 2008
The Secretary of the State of Connecticut is prepared to discontinue manual recounts in close races. In an e-mail to advocates, good government groups, and the leadership of the Registrar of Voters Association, Deputy Secretary of the State Lesley Mara wrote:

From: Lesley Mara [Deputy Secretary of the State]

Subject: Memory Card audit report


I have received questions from some of you regarding recounts.


As you all know, our regulations regarding optical scan machines call for a review of every ballot in the event of a recount. Where all parties agree that a ballot is clearly and properly marked in a way intended to be read by the scanner, that ballot is put in one pile. All “questionable ballots” are placed in another pile and, of course, are hand counted. Those properly marked are run through a new scanner. This procedure was used most recently in the Courtney/Simmons recount.


The Secretary exercised her authority to specify another procedure this past November during the first statewide use of optical scan technology, given that we had not finalized all of the pieces we now have in place with [the University of Connecticut] UCONN (e.g., post-election audits of memory cards). Since November, we have spoken to legislators and election officials and UCONN and we are prepared to return to the original procedure. Of course, we welcome your thoughts on this issue as well when we meet tomorrow.

The fallacy in recounting by machine, is that the most likely error or fraud would be incorrect programming of the memory cards. All memory cards and optical scanners in a district should be identical, that is the basic assumption of the random memory card testing by UConn. Running ballots through a sister machine with a sister card would only prove that machines do only what they are programmed to do. The results of the recent post-election audits <read> demonstrate that despite separating questionable ballots, the machines may frequently overcount or undercount the voters intent even on unquestionable ballots.

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Connecticut: VoTeR Center Audits Election Technology PDF  | Print |  Email
Connecticut
By University of Connecticut School of Engineering   
January 26, 2008
With the next presidential election just 10 months away, and increasingly negative press concerning the integrity of touch-screen voting machines, Connecticut residents may feel confident that their votes are not at the mercy of uncertain technology. In 2006, Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz inked an agreement with a team of UConn engineering faculty to provide advice to the state regarding new voting technology and to assist in the certification and acceptance testing of the AccuVote Optical Scan (AV-OS) voting machines that Connecticut purchased to replace the old lever machines. These optical scan machines, which use voter-verified paper ballots, offer superior accountability and fewer opportunities for vote fraud versus the controversial touch-screen machines. (See our earlier story.)

Under the auspices of the Voting Technology Research (VoTeR) Center at UConn, the faculty team recently released the findings of their pre-election audit of the programming of memory cards used in AV-OS systems in the November 2007 elections. The team found that the memory cards were properly programmed for the election, and that the AV-OS systems used by Connecticut voters were correctly prepared for elections so long as poll workers accurately followed procedure.

The VoTeR Center team is made up of four faculty members from the Department of Computer Science & Engineering: Drs. Alexander Shvartsman (principal investigator), Aggelos Kiayias, Laurent Michel and Alexander Russell, assisted by engineering graduate students Andy See, Seda Davtyan, Karpoor Narasimha, Nicolas Nicolaou and Sotiris Kentros. The team's first audit was conducted as required under Public Act 07-194, An Act Concerning the Integrity and Security of the Voting Process. The VoTeR Center is also currently performing a post-election audit of the memory cards, along with an analysis of the hand-counted audit of 10% of the districts. The hand-counted audit, not conducted by the VoTeR Center, involves hand counting the ballot votes and comparing them against the results tabulated by the scanning machines.
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Connecticut: Coalition Says Changes Needed in Election Audits PDF  | Print |  Email
Connecticut
By Connecticut Citizen Election Audit Coalition   
January 22, 2008
Four good government groups have proposed 18 recommendations to improve the state’s post-election audit process to assure the integrity of the vote in Connecticut.

The Connecticut Citizen Election Audit Coalition recommended 18 steps to a more effective and meaningful post-election audit process for all future elections in the state. The group’s report summarized the observations of more than 50 impartial citizen observers at 31 state-mandated post-election audits conducted by local officials following November’s municipal elections. Observers came from the membership ranks of the coalition partners—the League of Women Voters of Connecticut, Common Cause Connecticut, the Connecticut Citizen Action Group, and CTVotersCount.

Coalition spokesperson Luther Weeks noted, “Many of the audits, as observed, leave us uncertain as to whether an error or fraud would have been detected in an audited race in this election. More rigorous controls and consistency in manual counting procedures are needed throughout the state, along with follow-up investigations to explain variations in the tallies to attribute discrepancies either to machine or to human error. ”

League Vice President Cheryl Dunson stated that, “in light of the growing use of electronic voting technology throughout the country, elections officials and good government groups are re-examining their election operations. The coalition recommends that the Secretary of the State provide local elections officials with specific directions for auditing and reporting, make a full public report of all post-election audit results, and establish clear criteria for further investigation of audit discrepancies”. The group urged state elections officials to seek out national efforts on “best practices” for conducting audits and ensuring maximum transparency in the audit process. The coalition’s report and a statistical summary is available online at http://www.CTElectionAudits.org
Connecticut: Bysiewicz To Consider Elimination Of Manual Recounts PDF  | Print |  Email
Connecticut
By CTVotersCount.org   
December 01, 2007

Posted at CTVotersCount.org.

 

Last year the Legislature passed PA 07-194 mandating audits of the optical scan machines. Last year, Secretary of the State, Susan Bysiewicz promised advocates that regulations would mandate that recounts be manual recounts and did not need to be included in the law. Now with less than half the mandated audits complete, according to the New London Day she is reconsidering that promise. Just one example of why it is not safe to rely on regulations and procedures to accomplish what should be in the law: <read>

Bysiewicz said if those results continue, she would recommend that future recounts be done by feeding the ballots into a different optical scanner from the one used during the election. Election workers would have to count only ballots that could not be read by the machines.

It seems she may not recommend that change for audits, just for recounts. But don’t voters have even more interest in seeing that their votes were counted as intended in a recanvass?

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Delaware Provides Polling Place Information Using Google Maps PDF  | Print |  Email
Connecticut
By Delaware Commissioner of Elections   
November 01, 2007
The Delaware Commissioner of Elections and the Government Information Center (GIC), an agency of the Department of State, have recently launched a new Internet tool aimed at helping voters find their polling places. Using the popular interactive mapping interface Google Maps, voters can now see the location of their polling place and obtain directions to and from that location.


"We need to continually improve and expand the ways in which we present information to the public," said Governor Ruth Ann Minner, who has been a strong proponent of e-government. "Coordination between state agencies is key to our success in that effort, and this initiative is an example of that collaboration."

Residents in the 14th Senate District will be the first to be able to use the new service in preparation for the November 3rd special election. The polling place map is the newest product of a pilot program that GIC recently launched with a number of its agency partners to better utilize the technology available through Google Maps and Google Earth.

"This is just the first step for us," said Commissioner of Elections Elaine Manlove. "Our plan is to have interactive polling place maps available for the entire state in 2008."

In addition to the polling place map, the pilot project has also yielded a comprehensive online map of all of Delaware's public schools and one that displays the locations of the state's historical markers, with links to the text of each marker and a photo of the site.

Connecticut Legislature Sends Audit Bill to Governor PDF  | Print |  Email
Connecticut
By Warren Stewart, VoteTrustUSA   
June 07, 2007

On Wednesday the Connecticut House voted 150-1 to adopt a post election audit provision supported by Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz's. The bill has already been approved unanimously in the Senate and now goes to Governor M. Jodi Rell for signing.

 

The bill requires audits in 10 percent of randomly selected polling districts during state elections starting in 2008. Bysiewicz had originally proposed a 20%, which would have been the highest post election audit percentage in the nation. Thirteen other states require audits of election results.


Connecticut will begin using optical scan voting systems statewide with this fall's local elections, replacing the lever voting machines used since the 1920s.

Connecticut: Bysiewicz Calls For Mandatory 20% Audit PDF  | Print |  Email
Connecticut
By Warren Stewart, VoteTrustUSA   
January 16, 2007

Connecticut Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz announced that she will submit a proposal to the state legislature's Government Administration and Elections Committee that would require audits in at least 20 percent of the state's 769 voting precincts, to be selected randomly.

In a Hartford Journal-Inquirer article, Secretary Bysiewicz stated "We owe it to the voters to allow them to always feel confident that they have an fair and transparent election process.”

 

"We have the capacity to do it, and I want the taxpayers to know that we've spent money on machines that work," she added.

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