Technological Audit of Memory Cards for the April 24, 2012 Connecticut Primary Elections

Posted: August 29th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Post Election, Pre Election | Tags: , , , ,

The Center for Voting Technology Research (VoTeR Center) at the School of Engineering of the University of Connecticut performed pre-election and post-election audit of the memory cards for the Accu-Vote Optical Scan (AV-OS) tabulators that were used in the April 24, 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) one of the four cards per district was to be selected randomly and submitted directly for the purpose of the audit, and (b) any card was to be submitted if it appeared to be unusable. Given that cards in category (a) were to be randomly selected, while all cards in category (b) were supposed to be submitted, and that the cards were submitted without consistent categorization of the reason, this report considers all unusable cards to fall into category (b).

For the pre-election audit, the Center received 124 memory cards from 110 districts. Among these 124 cards, 81 (65.3%) fall into category (a). All of these 81 cards were correct. There are 43 cards (34.7% of all cards) that were found to be unusable by the AV-OS, thus falling into category (b). In particular, 42 cards contained apparently random (or ‘junk’) data, 1 card was unusable by AV-OS, but did not contain random data (this requires further investigation). All these cards were unreadable by the tabulators and could not have been used in an election. Given that such cards were not selected randomly, we estimate that for pre-election audit the percentage of unusable cards is between 1.6% and 9.8% and this is consistent with prior audits.
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Technological Audit of Memory Cards for the November 8, 2011 Connecticut Elections

Posted: April 5th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Post Election, Pre Election | Tags: , , , ,

The Center for Voting Technology Research (VoTeR Center) at the School of Engineering of the University of Connecticut performed pre-election and post-election audits of the memory cards for the Accu-Vote Optical Scan (AV-OS) tabulators used in the November 8, 2011 elections. The cards were programmed by LHS Associates of Salem, New Hampshire, and shipped to Connecticut districts.

For the pre-election audit, the Center received 453 memory cards from 331 districts. Cards were submitted for two reasons per instructions from the SOTS Office (a) one of the four cards per district was to be selected randomly and submitted directly for the purpose of the audit, and (b) any card was to be submitted if it appeared to be unusable. Given that cards in category (a) were to be randomly selected, while all cards in category (b) were supposed to be submitted, and that the cards were submitted without consistent categorization of the reason, this report considers all unusable cards to fall into category (b).

Among these 453 cards, 223 (49.2%) fall into category (a). 100% these cards were correct. 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. We note that the adherence to the election procedures by the districts is improving, however the analysis indicates that the established procedures are not always followed; it would be helpful if reasons for these extra-procedural actions were documented and communicated to the SOTS Office in future elections.
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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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