Pre-Election Audit of Memory Cards for the November 6, 2012 Connecticut Elections

The Center for Voting Technology Research (VoTeR Center) at the School of Engineering of the University of Connecticut performed pre-election audit of the memory cards for the Accu-Vote Optical Scan (AV-OS) tabulators that were used in the November 6, 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) 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). The VoTeR Center received 150 memory cards from 141 districts. Among these 150 cards, 94 (62.6%) fall into category (a). All of these 94 cards were correct. There are 56 cards (37.4% of all cards) that were found to be unusable by the AV-OS, thus falling into category (b). In particular, 53 cards contained apparently random (or ‘junk’) data, one card was unusable by AV-OS, but did not contain random data (this requires further investigation), one card was formatted using AV-OS tabulator, however, it was not programmed , and one card contained only zeros. All 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 for pre-election audit the percentage of unusable cards is between 1.7% and 9.9% and this range is consistent with the results for prior audits. Cards that fell into 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 has improved compared to prior years, however the analysis indicates that the prescribed 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-pre-audit-Nov-2012

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