Computer Assisted Post Election Audits
Tigran Antonyan, Theodore Bromley, Laurent Michel, Alexander Russell, Alexander Shvartsman and Suzanne Stark
State Certification Testing of Voting Systems National Conference
June 20-21, 2013, Harrisburg, PA, USA
The introduction of electronic voting technology in Connecticut necessitated the development of new policies and procedures by the Secretary of the State (SOTS) Office to safeguard the integrity and security of the new electoral process. Forming a partnership with the University of Connecticut, SOTS Office developed a comprehensive approach that extended the existing electoral procedures to incorporate the use of the new optical scan electronic voting equipment. The new procedures include pre- and post- election audits of the voting equipment programming, and hand-counted post-election audits in 10% of randomly selected districts. Observing that the hand-counted audits are expensive, time-consuming, labor-intensive, and error-pone, it was decided to explore a semi-automated approach to post-election ballot audits. A semi-automated approach was chosen over a completely automated one due to the risks and inadequacy of the latter. Supported by the U.S. EAC and the State of Connecticut, an Audit Station was developed for the purpose of conducting computer-assisted post-election audits. The Audit Station speeds up the audit process, increases audit accuracy, and most importantly, empowers the human auditors to have complete control over the audit down to the interpretation of each voted “bubble.” In essence, the Audit Station does not take the place of a hand count, but augments it by presenting scanned ballot images with useful data for the auditors to consider or to contrast with the official paper ballots. The system is also auditable; upon the completion of the audit it exports the recorded ballot interpretations and the overall results that allow direct comparison with physical ballots and independent validation. The system is implemented using inexpensive commercial off-the-self components, and is equipped with a projector that enables the auditors (and the public) to easily observe the audit process and to control and override it as necessary. The system was recently used in successful pilots in four Connecticut municipailites.
Download full paper: AS-2013.pdf