Technological Audit of Memory Cards for the November 8, 2011 Connecticut Elections

The Center for Voting Technology Research (VoTeR Center) at the School of Engineering of the University of Connecticut performed pre-election and post-election audits of the memory cards for the Accu-Vote Optical Scan (AV-OS) tabulators used in the November 8, 2011 elections. The cards were programmed by LHS Associates of Salem, New Hampshire, and shipped to Connecticut districts. For the pre-election audit, the Center received 453 memory cards from 331 districts. Cards were submitted for two reasons per instructions from the SOTS Office (a) one of the four cards per district was to be selected randomly and submitted directly for the purpose of the audit, and (b) any card was to be submitted if it appeared to be unusable. Given that cards in category (a) were to be randomly selected, while all cards in category (b) were supposed to be submitted, and that the cards were submitted without consistent categorization of the reason, this report considers all unusable cards to fall into category (b). Among these 453 cards, 223 (49.2%) fall into category (a). 100% these cards were correct. 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. We note that the adherence to the election procedures by the districts is improving, however the analysis indicates that 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 future elections. There are 230 cards (50.8% of all cards) that were found to be unusable by the AV-OS, thus falling into category (b). In particular, 215 contained apparently random (or ‘junk’) data, 12 cards were unusable by AV-OS, but did not contain random data (these require further investigation), 2 cards were formatted using AV-OS utility, however, they were not programmed, and 1 card contained only zeros. All these cards are unreadable by the tabulators and could not have been used in an election. Given that such cards were not selected randomly, we estimate that for this audit the percentage of unusable cards is between 7.4% and 17.4%, and this is consistent with prior audits. For the post-election audit, the Center received 157 cards. Out of these cards 20 cards were used on Election Day. Given that the small sample of such cards does not allow for a meaningful statistical analysis, we report our finding in abbreviated form. To enable more comprehensive future post-election audits it is important to significantly increase the submission of cards that are actually used in the elections. The audit was performed at the request of the Office of the Secretary of the State.

Full report: VC-audit-main-11

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