(For your consideration regarding the change in how we all will vote in CT with the new optical-scan machines - what steps do we need to take to protect the vote? - promoted by Maura)
This year SB1311 is intended to increase integrity and confidence in CT's new optical scan voting machines. It has several flaws that need to be corrected before it becomes law. http://www.cga.ct.go...
In Sunday's Hartford Courant two members of TrueVoteCT, Michael Fisher Professor of Computer Science at Yale, and Christina Spiesel outlined its worst flaws: http://www.courant.c...
The biggest defect is that responsibility for conducting the audits and acting on the results is given to the secretary of the state - the same person who attests to the accuracy of the machines, who controls the contracts for programming the machines, and who has a political and partisan interest in the outcome of the races to be counted by the machines.
This concentration of power in the secretary of the state creates a classic conflict of interest, where the person with the power to corrupt the process also has an incentive to do so.
The purpose of any audit is to provide an independent check. Without independence, an audit is nothing more than window dressing. The first change that is needed to the proposed legislation is to put responsibility for the audits in the hands of an independent, nonpartisan board of trustees.
We have one person responsible for selecting the equipment, certifying the equipment, contracting with an outside vendor to program elections, training election staff, and conducting the election. With pressure to show that there were no problems with the equipment, the programming, and the conduct of the election, how can that same individual be responsible for auditing that same election and making audit decisions?
There are other significant problems with the law as now written:
- Mandatory recounts/recanvasses such as that held in the Nov for U.S. Representative in the 2nd CD need to be manual hand counts, not simply rerunning ballots through the machines.
- All races should be subject to random audit. An intentional loophole in the law exempts all polling places where any race is recounted or contested from an audit. This is undesirable for two reasons 1) If one statewide race is recounted or contested then there will be no audit in the entire election. 2) In close races that are recounted, the audit would be that much more important to insure election integrity.
- Now only a maximum of three races are audited. All races should be audited since the most likely error is a miss programming of a single race.
- The deadline for contesting any race should be several days after the detailed audit results are made publicly available.