Technological Audits of Optical Scan Voting Systems: Summary for 2007 to 2010 Connecticut Elections

Posted: October 20th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Audit Reports, Post Election, Pre Election | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Security and integrity concerns regarding the use of electronic voting technologies in elections necessitate comprehensive election audits. Two types of audits are routinely performed in all state-wide elections in Connecticut: random post-election hand-counted audits and technological audits. This report presents the summary of the technological audit results in Connecticut from 2007 to 2010. The technological audits were designed on the request of the Secretary of the State (SOTS) of Connecticut by VoTeR Center and are conducted by the Center before (pre-election) and after (post-election) each state-wide election and selected primaries. The technological audits focus on the information contained on the memory cards used with the AccuVote Optical Scan (AV-OS) tabulators. This report presents the cumulative results of the pre-election and post-election technological audits. The audits examine the correctness of the programming of the memory cards with respect to the specific elections and the usage patterns at the districts in light of the election procedures established by the SOTS Office. The audits also assess the reliability of the memory cards. The conclusions are that districts do not always adhere to the established pre-election procedures. Most notably, in recent elections over 6% of the memory cards are duplicated by the districts, a practice that is not permitted by the SOTS Office; additionally, the number of cards submitted for audits has been substantially lower since 2008. The audits also established that more than 10% of the memory cards may experience data loss between the time they are programmed and the day of the election; this is apparently the reason for card duplication done by the districts. This data loss is most likely caused by the weak batteries on the cards (however, as of this writing it is not clear how long a fresh battery lasts in a memory card as some cards are known to consume substantially more power than others). To provide a better statistical basis for the overall elections landscape in Connecticut, it is recommended that the number of cards examined by the audits is substantially increased.
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