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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Statistical Analysis of the Post Election Audit Data 2009 November Elections

Posted: April 23rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Statistical Analysis | Tags: , , , , , ,

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 in the State of Connecticut following the November 2009 election. The audits 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 Center on December 8th and 18th of 2009. The original audit data contained 776 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.
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Post-Election Audit of Memory Cards for the November 2009 Elections

Posted: April 23rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Post Election | Tags: , , , ,

The Center for Voting Technology Research (VoTeR Center) at the School of Engineering of the University of Connecticut performed a post-election audit of the memory cards for the Accu-Vote Optical Scan tabulators that were used in the November 2009 elections. The cards were programmed by LHS Associates of Methuen, Massachusetts, and shipped to Connecticut districts for use in the elections. The VoTeR Center received in total 120 memory cards from 49 districts after the elections. The cards were received during the period from December 12, 2009 to February 12, 2010. Among the received cards, 49 were used in the elections, the rest remained unused (either being unusable or serving as back-up cards). This document reports on the findings obtained during the audit.

Among the 49 cards actually used in the elections all were properly programmed, however 2 cards were involved in duplication and one card was a non-standard (32K) card. These cards contained valid ballot data and the executable code on these cards was the expected code, with no extraneous data or code on the cards. Concerning the remaining cards, 14 (12% of the total number of cards) were found to contain junk data, that is, they were unreadable, which is easily detected by the tabulators; had a card contained junk data at the time of the election, it could not have been used. A separate report will document our findings regarding the reasons causing occurrences of such cards.
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Pre-Election Audit of Memory Cards for the November 2009 Elections

Posted: April 23rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Pre Election | Tags: , , , ,

The Center for Voting Technology Research (VoTeR Center) at the School of Engineering of the University of Connecticut performed a pre-election audit of the memory cards for the Accu-Vote Optical Scan tabulators that were to be used in the November 2009 Elections. The cards were programmed by LHS Associates of Methuen, Massachusetts, and shipped to Connecticut districts for use in the elections. The VoTeR Center received in total 491 memory cards from 481 districts before the elections. This document reports on the findings obtained during the audit. The 491 cards represent over 80.6% of all districts, thus the audit is broad enough to draw meaningful conclusions.

Among the 491 cards representing those intended for use in the elections, 87% were properly programmed. These cards contained valid ballot data and the executable code on these cards was the expected code, with no extraneous data or code on the cards. Concerning the remaining cards, 42 or 9% were found to contain “junk” data, that is, they were unreadable, which is easily detected by the tabulators; had a card contained junk data at the time of the election, it could not have been used. It was determined that weak batteries is the primary cause of this and a separate report will document our findings.
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