Post-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 post-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) the 10% of the districts that were randomly selected for the post-election hand-counted audit as well as any districts that were interested in participating in the audit were 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 the cards were submitted without consistent categorization of the reason, this report considers all unusable cards to fall into category (b). The Center received 578 memory cards from 286 districts (as of March 15, 2013). This is the largest number of cards submitted since 2008. Among these cards, 375 (64.9%) fall into category (a). All of these 375 cards were correctly programmed. Out of 375 cards, 174 contain completed elections (the rest were not used in the elections). There remaining 203 cards (35.1% of all cards) were found to be unusable by the AV-OS, thus falling into category (b). Among those, 192 cards contained apparently random (or ‘junk’) data, 7 cards were unusable by AV-OS, but did not contain random data (this requires further investigation), 4 cards were formatted using AV-OS utility, however, they were not programmed. None of these cards are usable by the AV-OS for the purpose the election. Given that such cards were not selected randomly, we estimate that the percentage of unusable cards is between 6.7% and 17.7% 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. The adherence to the election procedures by the districts had improved compared to prior years, especially in preparations for election. However the analysis the established procedures are not always followed and in several cases problems with tabulators were apparently encountered at the districts and were not reported to the SOTS Office. It would be helpful if any extra-procedural actions and technical problems 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: evt14.pdf