Statistical Analysis of the Post-Election Audit Data 2014 August Primary Elections

The Center for Voting Technology Research (VoTeR Center) at the School of Engineering of the University of Connecticut received the data gathered in the post-election audit performed in the State of Connecticut following the August 12, 2014 election. The audit involved the randomly selected 10% of the districts and the audit returns were conveyed by the Office of the Secretary of the State (SOTS) to the VoTeR Center on December 4, 2014. The audit data received by the Center contains 305 records, where each record represents information about a given candidate: date, district, machine seal number, office, candidate, machine counted total, hand counted total of the votes considered unquestionable by the auditors, hand counted total of the votes considered questionable by the auditors, and the hand counted total, that is, the sum of undisputed and questionable ballots. This report contains several statistical analyses of the audit returns and recommendations. This report presents the analysis of 275 records. This is the total number of records less the 6 records improperly filled-out and the 24 additional empty records; these records are not considered for this report. There are 11 records with differences between hand and machine count greater than or equal to 1. There was 1 record with a discrepancy greater than 1, and that record’s discrepancy was 2 votes between hand and machine counts. The causes for such differences, as reported by the auditors, mostly fall into one of the following:

  • Human error in counting.
  • Questionably marked ballots, e.g., barely filled in ovals, ovals being marked either as V’s or being crossed off.
  • In one case 1 ballot was reported missing, which accounts for the difference between the machine and hand counted totals.
  • There are four hand-count reports that reported unexplained discrepancies (and none of the discrepancies reported were more than 2 votes):
    • Hartford (Cong. 1, St. Senate 2, Assembly 1)
    • East Lyme (Cong. 2, St. Senate 20, Assembly 37)
    • East Haven (Dist. 5)
    • Middletown (Dist. 11&12)
  • In one case (Hartford Dist. 5), it is assumed that a ballot was stuck in the AVOS and run twice, resulting in a one vote discrepancy. A follow up may be conducted by the SOTS Office for the relevant districts, in this case the report will be revised accordingly. The data presented in this analysis show that the average reported discrepancy is lower than the average number of questionable votes on the ballots (0.04 versus 0.20). The conclusion is that for the audited districts the tabulators appear to be operating properly. This analysis was performed on request of the Office of the Secretary of the State. Full report: 2014-Aug-Hand-Count-V1.0

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