Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Watchdog group will watch audit

I received an email today from Michael Fischer, Professor of Computer Science, Yale University, and one of the organizers of True Vote CT.org, a group tasked with making sure the new voting technology is fair and secure.

When I asked him about the manual audit, Michael told me that his group was a bit behind on updating their website but that they're still working with the SOTS's office; and he also wrote some general comments about the optical scanners:
The UConn team showed that they can be seriously compromised by anyone with access to the memory card.

Procedures to seal the card in the machine help to prevent tampering after the card is inserted, but the issue of corrupt "programming" on the card by the preparer of the card (LHS Associates, Inc. of Massachusetts), or by anybody while the card is in transit from LHS to the towns, has not been addressed. In short, LHS has the power to completely control the election outcome of any voting district in the state that uses the new electronic equipment.

(CT Bob: "Yikes!")

The only way such voting fraud would be detected is by hand-counting the ballots. The recanvass procedures currently being used, to run the ballots through the scanners again with a different memory card, are ineffective at detecting deliberate misprogramming of the memory cards, since presumably the "spare" card to be used in the recanvass is just a copy of the one used in the first place.

The recanvass may "settle" the election outcome, but it won't give us confidence that the votes were counted correctly.
Clearly, these are issues that must be addressed with secure procedures and manual audits.

I'm still waiting to hear from the SOTS office, but something tells me we'll have a firm canvass number sometime tonight. Regardless of the spread, it's likely that Rob Simmons will have every right to demand a full recount, which could take much longer.

Updates as I receive them (and if Blogger works; it wouldn't let me post for 2 hours today!)

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