Post-Election Audit of Memory Cards for the August 14, 2012 Connecticut Primary Elections

The Center for Voting Technology Research (VoTeR Center) at the School of Engineering of the University of Connecticut performed post-election audit of the memory cards for the Accu-Vote Optical Scan (AV-OS) tabulators that were used in the August 14, 2012 elections. The cards were programmed by LHS Associates of Salem, New Hampshire, and shipped to Connecticut districts. Cards were submitted for two reasons per instructions from the SOTS Office (a) the 10% of the districts that are the subject of post-election hand-counted audit are randomly selected by the SOTS Office and asked to send their cards for the post-election technological audit, and (b) any card was to be submitted if it appeared to be unusable. Given that cards in category (a) belong to randomly selected districts and were used in the election, 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). The Center received 86 memory cards from 66 districts. Among these cards, 44 (51.2%) fall into category (a). All of these 44 cards were correct. Out of these cards, 16 cards show elections, with 15 cards that were actually used on Election Day (one card shows an election on a different date). There are 42 cards (48.8% of all cards) that were found to be unusable by the AV-OS, thus falling into category (b). All of these cards contained apparently random (or ‘junk’) data. These cards were unreadable by the tabulators and could not have been used in an election. Given that such cards were not selected randomly, we estimate that the percentage of unusable cards is between 1.4% and 15.9% in this audit, and this is consistent with prior audit results. All cards in category (a) contained valid ballot data and the executable code on these cards was the expected code, with no extraneous data or code on the cards. Overall the audit found no cases where the behavior of the tabulators could have affected the integrity of the elections. We note that the adherence to the election procedures by the districts had improved compared to prior years, however the analysis suggests 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. The audit was performed at the request of the Office of the Secretary of the State.

Full report: VC-post-2012-Aug

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