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Citizen Coalition Reports Discrepancies in 2013 CT Election Audit

Report finds 17 districts that were either left out or should not have been included in the state's election audit.

Photo Credit: Aaron Boyd
Photo Credit: Aaron Boyd
A report released this week by the Connecticut Citizen Election Observation Coalition reviewed the state’s election audit procedures and found discrepancies in the number of voting districts placed in the lottery compared to the number of districts used in 2013 Municipal Elections.

By state statute, the Secretary of the State’s (SOTS) Office conducts an audit of election results by requiring mandatory hand recounts from a random drawing of 10 percent of voting precincts.

The Coalition found 15 instances in which districts were left out of the lottery drawing and two towns where there were more districts in the pool than there were on Election Day.

Statutes require town registrars and moderators to file a comprehensive list of polling places with the SOTS — explicitly for the audit process — a month before the election, however state records show only 55 town reported in 2013.

“It’s not necessarily something we can do anything about,” SOTS Director of Communications Av Harris said Thursday, noting that the SOTS does not have any authority to compel the towns to comply.

The SOTS, however, does have a legal mandate to complete the audit on time.

In order to compensate, the state uses the list of districts kept by the Inspired Vote-by-Phone System (IVS), which has a phone line installed in each district to assist disabled voters.

“We have an election to run and an audit to manage afterward,” Harris said. Having towns that do not report “should not affect our ability to follow post-election audit law.”

Even using this system, there are still discrepancies.

“It could be we did indeed miss those locations because of last-minute changes in polling places,” Harris suggested, adding, “There is always going to be a small discrepancy, and this is a very small discrepancy.”

A margin of 2.5 percent (17 discrepancies among 674 districts) seems too large for Coalition spokesman Luther Weeks.

“A lot of elections are closer than that,” Weeks said. “To have a credible audit you need to do a random drawing that represents everyone that voted.”

Weeks said he believes the discrepancies are honest mistakes, however the Coalition would like to see the issues fixed.

The Coalition’s report [download above] includes recommendations for refining the process, as well as the methodology used to gather information.

Harris said the SOTS's Office is also interested in improving the process and is hopeful that new online reporting tools being put into effect over the next few election cycles will help.
tom palmisano February 22, 2014 at 10:19 AM
Who audits during the election count? Bottom line: boot them! They aren't paid to make "hones" mistakes.
Catherine & Dennis February 22, 2014 at 02:41 PM
In CT?????? No say it ain't so!
TJ Billings February 23, 2014 at 02:13 PM
Where's the accountability? What is the Secretary of States' plan to fix it? When are the Town registrars going to be held to the statutes? As a tax payer, you can go to jail for not filing and paying your taxes, when will a Town registrar be removed for not following the rules? Further mistakes happen, but what is being implemented to avoid the mistake for the next audit?
Joe Blow February 23, 2014 at 02:16 PM
Hey TJ, they're working on it. They just handed out 1000's of free licenses to the illegals to get them on the rolls.

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