News Published: May 10, 2011 - 5:49 PM

Merill selects precincts for audit

By Secretary of the State Denise Merrill's office

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Hartford, CT - Secretary of the State Denise Merrill today joined Connecticut voting rights advocates for a public drawing to randomly select three precincts that will have election results audited following the May 2, 2011 municipal elections that took place in 14 Connecticut communities. The three precincts selected are West Side Middle School District 2 and William Seely School district 4 in Groton and the Stonington Fire House in Stonington. Two alternate precincts were also chosen to be ready to audit results if necessary: Center School district 3 in Woodbridge and Griswold Town Hall in Griswold.

“On May 2nd voters went to the polls across Connecticut to choose public servants to fill very important roles in local government,” said Secretary Merrill. “No matter how big or small the election, our audit law exists to hold our election process accountable and reassure the public to have continued confidence that all votes were recorded accurately.”

Voters went to the polls for municipal elections in the following 14 Connecticut communities on Monday May 2, 2011: The towns of Andover, Bethany, Naugatuck, Union and Woodbridge, the Boroughs of Litchfield, Newtown, Stonington, Bantam(Litchfield), Danielson(Killingly), Fenwick (Old Saybrook), Jewett City (Griswold), Woodmont (Milford) and the City of Groton. The majority of Connecticut’s municipalities will hold primaries if necessary on September 13, 2011 and a General Election for municipal candidates on November 8, 2011.

As required by Public Act 07-194, An Act Concerning the Integrity and Security of the Voting Process, 10% percent of the polling precincts used in the election are subject to an audit. Secretary Merrill directed that a pool of 24 precincts from the towns and boroughs that held municipal elections May 2nd, not counting precincts that required a recount or counted ballots by hand instead of using the optical scan voting machines in the selection. To comply with the law, three precincts were chosen to have their election results audited. The alternate precinct will only face an audit if one of the selected precincts cannot perform an audit. All audits may not begin before May 17, 2011 and must be completed no later than May 31, 2011.

The law requires a hand audit 10% of all polling places in all elections and primaries. (Polling precincts which are already part of a recount are exempt from audits by statute). The provisions in the law, developed in close cooperation with the computer science department at the University of Connecticut, give Connecticut one of the strictest audit statutes in the country. Connecticut is the first state in New England to require a comprehensive audit of election results.

Public Act 07-194 states that local Registrars of Voters, “… shall conduct a manual audit of the votes recorded in not less than ten per cent of the voting districts in the state, district or municipality, whichever is applicable. Such manual audit shall be noticed in advance and be open to public observation.” The results of audits will be analyzed by the University of Connecticut and then presented to the Secretary of the State’s Office and the State Elections Enforcement Commission, and ultimately made available to the public.

The law contains a detailed description of the audit process:

“The manual audit… shall consist of the manual tabulation of the paper ballots cast and counted by each voting machine subject to such audit. Once complete, the vote totals established pursuant to the manual tabulation shall be compared to the results reported by the voting machine on the day of the election or primary. The results of the manual tabulation shall be reported on a form prescribed by the Secretary of the State which shall include the total number of ballots counted, the total votes received by each candidate in question, the total votes received by each candidate in question on ballots that were properly completed by each voter and the total votes received by each candidate in question on ballots that were not properly completed by each voter. Such report shall be filed with the Secretary of the State who shall immediately forward such report to The University of Connecticut for analysis. The University of Connecticut shall file a written report with the Secretary of the State regarding such analysis that describes any discrepancies identified. After receipt of such report, the Secretary of the State shall file such report with the State Elections Enforcement Commission.”

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