More towns in the Second Congressional District were chosen as test sites for the new optical scan voting technology than any other Congressional District. Of the 25 towns chosen at least 10 of them were in the Second Congressional District where there has been a recanvas in the race between Democrat Joe Courtney and Republican incumbent Rob Simmons. Coincidence?
There were 10 towns chosen in the Second Congressional District, seven in the First Congressional District, five in the Fifth Congressional District, three in the Third Congressional District, and two in the Fourth Congressional District. At least two towns were counted twice in this calculation because they are parts of two congressional districts. Deputy Secretary of State Lesley Mara said Tuesday that the 10 towns will not be part of the random audit on the new technology. The University of Connecticut was hired by the state to audit the results of the new machines. Mara said because of the recanvas in Second District election officials have already audited much more than expected, so the 10 towns will be excluded from the random audit. The recanvas requires each town in the district to review all their ballots.The random drawing for the UConn audit, which will include 20 percent of the polling places in the remaining 15 towns, will be held Wednesday at 11 a.m. A recanvas with the new technology means each ballot is looked over by officials from both parties, then the ballots where the circle is clearly marked get fed back through the machine, Mara said. She said ballots election officials disagree on are hand counted. Most of the towns reporting mistakes are towns that have used the old lever technology like Lebanon, where officials misread the numbers off the machines. As of 3 p.m. Tuesday, Secretary of State spokesman Dan Tapper said, Courtney was ahead by 87 votes. In late October UConn reported that it found a number of vulnerabilities with the new Diebold AccuVote Optical Scan machines. For example, if a voter put two Post-It notes on their ballot before it’s fed through the terminal, it counts a vote for a candidate numerous times. But the vote tabulation calculations were not the only vunerability UConn found in its report. The report found that without even if someone were unable to get to the memory card, they could compromise the results of the election by “neutralizing one candidate so that their votes are not counted, swapping the votes of two candidates, or biasing the results by shifting some votes from one candidate to another.” “When we considered possible new voting technologies, security was paramount. Optical scan machines are the most secure form of voting technology, and the fact that there is a paper record of each vote adds significantly to our confidence in this technology,” Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz has said.