Nov 2011 Election Audit Observation Report – Data Available for Public Review

<Full Report (.pdf)>  <Press Release>
 <Executive Summary>  <Audit Integrity, Organization, and Chain of Custody>
 <Audit vs. Scanner Counts>  <Recommendations>
 <Review detail data and municipal reports>

Coalition finds continuing problems with audit integrity
Provides calculations and official data on the web for public review and verification

For the first time, in the interest of public information and transparency, we are making all official municipal audit reports and the data we complied available for everyone to review on the web. Citizens can see the reports from their own town, other towns, and perform their own audit of the Coalition’s data entry and calculations based on those official reports. <See detail data and municipal reports>

The November post-election audits still do not inspire confidence because of the continued:

  • Lack of integrity in the random district selection and race selection processes.
  • Lack of consistency, reliability, and transparency in the conduct of the audit.
  • Discrepancies between machine counts and hand-counts reported to the Secretary of the State by municipalities and the lack of standards for determining need for further investigation of discrepancies.
  • Weaknesses in the ballot chain-of-custody.

Most of our general observations and concerns remain the same as reported in previous reports. However, in this round of audit observations, we note that:

  • Reported discrepancies have decreased, approximating the Nov 2009 post-election audit discrepancies.
  • A significant increase in memory card problems have been reported.

Once again, in the November 2011 random selection, without investigation, we discovered, according to local registrars, two districts selected for audit were not included in the election. This despite the passing of a bill in 2011 by the General Assembly, at the request of the Secretary of the State, that was supposed to help remedy this situation.

 In two towns, for a total of ten selected districts, officials did not select and audit the full three races required by the law. While likely unintentional, if such situations are not investigated and remedied when they occurr, they  provide an opportunity for errors or deception.

 Among our greatest concerns are the discrepancies between machine counts and hand-counts reported to the Secretary of the State by municipalities. We can find no acceptable explanation for attributing these discrepancies either to humans or to the voting machines. In many cases, these discrepancies are not thoroughly and reasonably explained. In other cases the explanations make no sense or contradict the data in municipalities’ reports.

We believe that the lack of organization, planning, and ad-hoc counting procedures used by many municipalities were not sufficient to count accurately and efficiently. Therefore, we believe that the procedural guidelines provided by the Secretary of the State still need further clarification and improvement.

The Secretary of the State should expect officials to be able to organize audits to produce accurate hand counts, but not, in normal circumstances, to have the skills to analyze and explain differences between accurate hand counts and machine counts. Such differences should be investigated by technicians, with appropriate expertise, such as the University of Connecticut VoTeR Center

Audit and chain–of-custody procedures are not followed. This report does not question any individual’s integrity. However, a safe, credible system of security procedures should not permit a single individual any extended opportunity to handle records and ballots unobserved.