Pre-Election Audit of Memory Cards for the November 2008 Presidential Elections

The Center for Voting Technology Research (VoTeR Center) at the School of Engineering of the University of Connecticut performed a pre-election audit of the memory cards for the Accu-Vote Optical Scan tabulators that are to be used in the November 2008 Elections in Connecticut. The cards are programmed by LHS Associates of Methuen, Massachusetts, and shipped to Connecticut districts for use in the elections. For the pre-election audit the VoTeR Center received and examined 620 memory cards as of November 3, 2008. These cards correspond to 620 distinct districts in Connecticut. About 2/3 of these memory cards were randomly chosen by the VoTeR Center personnel during the visits to LHS and before the cards were packed and shipped to the towns. Another 1/3 of the memory cards came from the towns directly, where the cards were randomly chosen for pre-election audit (this procedure applied to the town for which the cards were not selected at LHS). The towns that shipped the cards to be audited were not asked to perform the local pre-election testing before shipping, thus the majority of the cards received from the towns did not contain the pre-election testing events in their audit logs. This document reports on the findings obtained during the audit. Among the 620 cards received and tested as of this writing, 564 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. Among the remaining cards, 1 card (0.16%) was not programmed and 55 cards (or 8.9%) were found to contain “junk” data, that is, they contained apparently random data. Such cards are easily detected as during the pre-election testing by the tabulators, and they cannot be used in any election. However, this constitutes a high percentage of faulty cards. During this audit more memory cards were examined than in any previous audit in Connecticut, with 620 cards representing over 70% of the districts. As the audit progressed, several verbal reports were given to the Office of the Secretary of the State (SOTS) before November 4, 2008. The VoTeR Center staff discussed the preliminary reports with SOTS staff, with no issues surfacing that would necessitate either contracting or broadening the scope of the audit. The audit was performed on request of the Office of the Secretary of the State.

Full report: audit08-nov-pre-10

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