Post-Election Audit of Memory Cards for the November 2009 Elections

The Center for Voting Technology Research (VoTeR Center) at the School of Engineering of the University of Connecticut performed a post-election audit of the memory cards for the Accu-Vote Optical Scan tabulators that were used in the November 2009 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 120 memory cards from 49 districts after the elections. The cards were received during the period from December 12, 2009 to February 12, 2010. Among the received cards, 49 were used in the elections, the rest remained unused (either being unusable or serving as back-up cards). This document reports on the findings obtained during the audit. Among the 49 cards actually used in the elections all were properly programmed, however 2 cards were involved in duplication and one card was a non-standard (32K) card. 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. Concerning the remaining cards, 14 (12% of the total number of cards) were found to contain junk data, that is, they were unreadable, which is easily detected by the tabulators; had a card contained junk data at the time of the election, it could not have been used. A separate report will document our findings regarding the reasons causing occurrences of such cards. The contents of 7 additional cards (that were not used in the election) did not match the reference data received by the Center from LHS before the election: 4 of these cards were programmed for Avon special election, and 3 cards were non-standard (32K) cards, otherwise they were programmed correctly. There were also 2 cards that were blank (not programmed). There are 30 cards that, although not presenting an immediate security concern, had audit log entries showing unexpected procedural event sequences. For example, there are 5 card duplication events prior to the election. We note that the adherence to the election procedures by the districts is improving, however the established procedures are not always followed; it would be helpful if reasons for these extra-procedural actions were documented and communicated to the SOTS Office. In summary, (a) all cards representing those used in the election were properly programmed, (b) cards with junk data continue to be a problem; we believe we know the reason and are finalizing the findings, (c) a number of cards show that the pre-election procedures are not followed uniformly and that cards continue to be duplicated; we recommend that in addition to the prohibition of duplication of cards, that whenever there is a perceived necessity to duplicate a card, the reason be documented and furnished to the SOTS Office. The audit was performed at the request of the Office of the Secretary of the State.

Full report: 2009-nov-post-card12

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