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 2010 November Election

Posted: June 28th, 2011 | 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 performed in the State of Connecticut following the November 2010 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 VoTeR Center on December 22nd of 2010. The audit data received by the VoTeR Center contains 867 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. The statistical analysis in this report deals with the 847 records that are sufficiently complete to perform the analysis.

The VoTeR Center’s initial review of audit reports prepared by the towns revealed a number of returns with unexplained differences between hand and machine counts. The vast majority of records with high discrepancies were concentrated in the following three districts: East Haven (Deer Run School) with the highest reported discrepancy of 180, Hartford (Burns School) with the highest reported discrepancy of 170, and Preston (Town Hall) with the highest reported discrepancy of 55. Additionally, one or more discrepancies were reported in all but one district for the town of Orange; here the highest reported discrepancy was 14, however this could not be explained as no questionable ballots were reported. Following this initial review the SOTS Office performed additional information gathering and investigation and, in some cases, conducted independent hand-counting of ballots in the four districts mentioned above. The final information was conveyed to the VoTeR Center on June 17th of 2011 for the 48 records pertaining to those districts. The rest of the records (799 out of 847) discussed in this audit report are the original records reported by the towns.
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VoTeR Center and SOTS Win 2010 EAC Grant

Posted: May 23rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Awards / Grants | Tags: , , ,

The VoTeR Center and the Office of the Secretary of the State (SOTS) of Connecticut have jointly applied for and won the 2010 Voting System Pre-Election Logic and Accuracy Testing & Post-Election Audit Initiative grant announced by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC).

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The Vector-Ballot Approach for Online Voting Procedures

Posted: December 31st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Other Publications | Tags: , , ,

The Vector-Ballot Approach for Online Voting Procedures
Aggelos Kiayias and Moti Yung
Towards Trustworthy Elections, New Directions in Electronic Voting.
Springer 2010 Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pp 155-174.

Looking at current cryptographic-based e-voting protocols, one can distinguish three basic design paradigms (or approaches): (a) Mix-Networks based, (b) Homomorphic Encryption based, and (c) Blind Signatures based. Each of the three possesses different advantages and disadvantages w.r.t. the basic properties of (i) efficient tallying, (ii) universal verifiability, and (iii) allowing write-in ballot capability (in addition to predetermined candidates). In fact, none of the approaches results in a scheme that simultaneously achieves all three. This is unfortunate, since the three basic properties are crucial for efficiency, integrity and versatility (flexibility), respectively. Further, one can argue that a serious business offering of voting technology should offer a flexible technology that achieves various election goals with a single user interface. This motivates our goal, which is to suggest a new “vector-ballot” based approach for secret-ballot e-voting that is based on three new notions: Provably Consistent Vector Ballot Encodings, Shrink-and-Mix Networks and Punch-Hole-Vector-Ballots. At the heart of our approach is the combination of mix networks and homomorphic encryption under a single user interface; given this, it is rather surprising that it achieves much more than any of the previous approaches for e-voting achieved in terms of the basic properties. Our approach is presented in two generic designs called “homomorphic vector-ballots with write-in votes” and “multi-candidate punch-hole vector-ballots”; both of our designs can be instantiated over any homomorphic encryption function.