The UConn VoTeR Center performed a post-election audit of the memory cards for the Accu-Vote Optical Scan tabulators that were used and to be used in the November 2008 Elections. The cards were programmed by LHS Associates of Methuen, Massachusetts, and shipped to Connecticut districts for use in the elections. The VoTeR Center received in total 462 memory cards from a number of districts after the elections. This document reports on the findings obtained during the audit. Among these cards, 279 were used in the elections, the rest remained unused, serving as back-up cards. The 279 cards represent over 30% of all districts, thus the audit is broad enough to draw meaningful conclusions. We note that in a few cases, districts apparently had problems with one tabulator and had to complete the election using another tabulator.
Among the 462 cards received and tested, 421 cards (91%) were found to have been properly programmed for election. These cards contained valid ballot data and the executable code on these cards was the expected code, with no extraneous data or code on the cards. The remaining cards, 41 or 9% were found to contain “junk” data, that is, they were unreadable, which is easily detected by
the tabulators as such, and could not have been used in the election. We are currently performing additional analysis to determine the cause of this. A separate report will document our findings.
Among the 279 cards actually used in the elections, all cards were properly programmed. Three cards contained a few unexpected data characters beyond the range of memory used by the tabulators; these characters do not affect the operation of the tabulator. Three additional cards did not match the pre-election baseline, and all such cases we found a valid reason for these discrepancies.
There are a number of cards that, although not presenting an immediate security concern, were found in unexpected states or contained unexpected timing of events. For example, a number of cards were duplicated prior to the election. We note that the adherence to the election procedures by the districts is improving, however additional effort is needed to ensure that the established procedures
are followed and that any exceptions are documented and communicated to the SOTS Office.
In summary, (1) all cards used in the election were properly programmed, (2) cards with junk data continues to be a problem, and additional analysis is in progress to determine the cause, (3) a number of cards show that the pre-election procedures are not followed uniformly and that cards continue to be duplicated; we recommend that a stronger policy statement is needed on handling the cards
before and during the election and disallowing memory card duplication.
The audit was performed on request of the Office of the Secretary of the State.
Full report: 2008-nov-post-v10