Christine Stuart photo
An audit of the new Diebold AccuVote Optical Scan voting machines used by some voters this November found the machines made few errors, Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz announced Thursday. The University of Connecticut audit found that there were small disagreements between the results counted by the machines and the results counted by auditors looking at the printed ballots afterward.
Bysiewicz said out of the 2,943 votes cast in South Windsor a hand count resulted in about 20 questionable ballots. She said in this case the voters did not follow instructions and instead of blackening in the oval they put a check or an X through the oval. She said that in this instance the machine did not reject any of the 20 questionable ballots because a portion of the oval was darkened. The disagreement between the hand count and machine count may have been small, but it was not negligible and may present problems in the future, University of Connecticut researchers concluded in their preliminary report. In East Hartford at Mayberry School, the machine count and hand count differed in the Comptroller’s race. Although the winner was still the same, UConn researchers are worried about municipal elections where the vote margin is smaller and where there may be multiple openings for multiple candidates.In the East Hartford example, Colin Daniel Bennett received 21 votes and Richard Connelly Jr. received 24 votes in the machine count. But in the hand count Connelly received 18 votes. In this case, if the race were just between the two of them, the accuracy of the machine count would have impacted the results of the election, UConn researchers found. “However in the current election there is no impact on the outcome,” they concluded. UConn previously reported on the machines’ vulnerabilities and detailed how they could be corrupted in an Oct. 30 report to Bysiewicz’s office. Click here to read that report. The Diebold AccuVote Scan Optical voting machines that were used in 25 towns this fall will be used in all 169 towns in the next election Bysiewicz said. She said distribution of the machines will begin in January and those towns with May budget referendums will receive delivery first.Bysiewicz said the towns that used the machines learned the bottleneck was not where voters feed their ballot into the terminal that counts ballots, but where the poll workers check voters’ names.