Secretary of the State Denise Merrill Thursday joined voting rights advocates at a news conference at the State Capitol to randomly select the voting precincts which will have election results audited following the Aug. 14 statewide primaries.
As required by state law, 10 percent of the polling precincts in the election using optical scan voting machines are subject to an audit. All told, 523 polling precincts used optical scan voting machines meaning that some 53 precincts were chosen to have their election results audited.
“Voters had their say on August 14 about who they want on the general election ballot,” Merrill said. “Now, it is our duty to audit the machine totals from the statewide primaries to ensure the accuracy of our optical scanners. We are committed to making sure Connecticut voters have continued confidence that their votes were recorded accurately and that’s why these independent audits are so vital.”
The audits could begin Thursday and must be completed by Sept. 17.
“Auditing election results isn’t just a good idea, it’s absolutely essential in order to guarantee the integrity of our elections,” said Merrill. “We don’t just take the machines’ word for it. So we will have every ballot cast in a full 10% of precincts using optical scan machines hand counted and matched against the machine totals. Connecticut has the toughest elections audit law in the country and I am confident that following this audit the numbers will once again match.”
In total, audits will be conducted in sixty precincts. The law requires a hand audit 10% of all polling places where optical scan machines were used in all elections and primaries. (Polling precincts which are already part of a recount are exempt from audits by statute). In addition to the 53 precincts chosen for an audit, there were also 10 alternate precincts chosen. 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.