post election audit

Tag Archive

Kansas: Appeals court to grapple with Beth Clarkson voting-machine case in Wichita | The Wichita Eagle

Is voting rigged in Sedgwick County? Is there any way to prove it is or isn’t? Those are the fundamental questions underlying a Kansas Court of Appeals case to be argued Tuesday morning in a special court session at Friends University in Wichita. The appeals court is being asked to allow a recount of votes on audit tapes from voting machines to test the accuracy of the tallies reported by Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman. Wichita State University statistician Beth Clarkson has tried for seven years to gain access to the tapes. Her request was denied by Lehman and the denial was upheld in district court. Lehman and Sedgwick County say that there is no problem with the votes and releasing the tapes would risk compromising the secrecy of people’s ballots. Tuesday’s appeal arguments will feature two prominent Wichita attorneys. Read More

National: Bipartisan Push for Electoral Security Gets Priority Status | Roll Call

A bipartisan effort to enhance election security is among the priorities for Senate Democrats as part of the debate on the annual defense authorization measure. “The consensus of 17 U.S. Intelligence agencies was that Russia, a foreign adversary, interfered in our elections. Make no mistake: Their success in 2016 will encourage them to try again,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said Tuesday. “We have state elections in a couple of months and the 2018 election is a little more than a year away. We must improve our defenses now to ensure we’re prepared.” The New York Democrat was speaking on the floor about a bipartisan effort led by Sens. Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, and Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican. Read More

National: Electronic voting systems in the U.S. need post-election audits | TechTarget

The state of Colorado has taken a step toward rebuilding public trust in the election system in the United States. Beginning in November 2017, Colorado will require risk-limiting audits, or RLAs, in elections statewide. The state has always required traditional post-election audits, but in 2009, a law passed requiring RLAs throughout Colorado. According to the statute, an RLA is “an audit protocol that makes use of statistical methods and is designed to limit acceptable levels of risk of certifying a preliminary election outcome that constitutes an incorrect outcome.” This means that all post-election audits in the state of Colorado compare a random sample of paper ballots to their digital counterparts. Colorado’s law is, in large part, a reaction to recent events in the U.S. and across the globe that have called the security of electronic voting systems into question and emphasized the importance of election audits for all levels of elections. Read More

Editorials: Outdated technology is a greater threat than hackers to US elections | Antonio Mugica/Washington Examiner

The recent DefCon hacking conference demonstrated why America needs to modernize its voting systems with more technology, not less. Participants exposed vulnerabilities in various pieces of election technology at DefCon’s Voting Machine Hacking Village and, predictably, had no difficulty infiltrating many of the systems. The twist? They were hacking into technology that hadn’t been updated since the early 2000s. Interestingly, the key takeaways from this hack-a-thon closely mirror the recommendations recently put forth to Congress by 100 security experts. They include the need for multiple levels of encryption, post-election audits and secure servers. But it’s important to remember that these findings aren’t new. And my company, Smartmatic, has been using such measures to protect voters for over a decade, so we know the technology exists. The hackers at DefCon highlighted the dramatically archaic state of U.S. voting machines and reminded the public to prioritize securing voting infrastructure for upcoming elections. In a field where the half-life of software can be just a few months, it’s no surprise hackers took down equipment that was over a decade old. The concerning part is that some of this technology is still used in elections today. Read More

Colorado: State to require advanced post-election audits | Politco

Colorado on Monday said it will become the first state to regularly conduct a sophisticated post-election audit that cybersecurity experts have long called necessary for ensuring hackers aren’t meddling with vote tallies. The procedure — known as a “risk-limiting” audit — allows officials to double-check a sample of paper ballots against digital tallies to determine whether results were tabulated correctly. The election security firm Free & Fair will design the auditing software for Colorado, and the state will make the technology available for other states to modify for their own use. The audit will allow Colorado to say, “with a high level of statistical probability that has never existed before,” that official election results have not been manipulated, said Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams in a statement. Read More

Voting Blogs: Free & Fair to build risk-limiting audit system for State of Colorado | Free & Fair

We are proud to announce that Colorado has chosen Free & Fair to build a risk-limiting audit (RLA) system to be used statewide beginning with the November 2017 general election. First developed in 2008, RLAs promote evidence-based confidence in election outcomes by comparing a random sampling of paper ballots to their corresponding digital versions. This will be the first time anywhere in the United States that risk-limiting audits are conducted on a regular, statewide basis. Free & Fair has already prototyped an open source risk-limiting audit tool called OpenRLA, for RLAs of election contests in single jurisdictions. The production RLA system being developed for Colorado will facilitate statewide, multi-county and individual county audits. Like OpenRLA, the RLA system developed for Colorado will be released under an open source license (GPL Version 3). Risk-limiting audits provide strong statistical evidence that a jurisdiction’s voting system accurately interpreted and tabulated voter markings on paper ballots, with relatively little hand counting. The “risk limit” is the largest chance that an outcome-changing error in the initial tabulation will not be discovered and corrected in the audit. If the risk limit is 5% and the outcome wouldn’t match the result of a full, accurate count of the paper ballots, there is at least a 95% chance that the audit will correct the outcome. Read More

National: How Applied Mathematics Could Help Democracy | The Atlantic

American voting relies heavily on technology. Voting machines and ballot counters have sped up the formerly tedious process of counting votes. Yet long-standing research shows that these technologies are susceptible to errors and manipulation that could elect the wrong person. In the 2016 presidential election, those concerns made their way into public consciousness, worrying both sides of the political fence. The uncertainty led to a set of last-minute, expensive state recounts—most of which were incomplete or blocked by courts. But we could ensure that all elections are fair and accurate with one simple low-tech fix: risk-limiting audits. Risk-limiting audits are specific to elections, but they are very similar to the audits that are routinely required of corporate America. Under them, a random sample of ballots is chosen and then hand-counted. That sample, plus a little applied math, can tell us whether the machines picked the right winner. Read More

Rhode Island: Legislators consider making post-election audits law in Rhode Island | WPRI

Rhode Island’s General Assembly is currently considering legislation that would mandate post-election audits. The evaluations are conducted in order to ensure that equipment and procedures used to count votes during an election worked properly and also to ensure public confidence in the results. According to the Secretary of State’s office, 29 states and the District of Columbia require a post-election audit; typically the process is done by hand counting the results, usually by a random sampling of precincts. Read More

Editorials: Using randomness to protect election integrity | Eugene Vorobeychik/The Conversation

Democratic societies depend on trust in elections and their results. Throughout the 2016 presidential election, and since President Trump’s inauguration, allegations of Russian involvement in the U.S. presidential campaign have raised concerns about how vulnerable American elections are to hacking or other types of interference. Various investigations – involving congressional committees, the FBI and the intelligence community – are underway, seeking to understand what happened and how. There are many potential problems with elections: Voters can be individually coerced or bribed into changing their votes; the public can be misled about important facts, causing them to draw inaccurate conclusions that affect their votes; and the physical – and electronic – process of voting can itself be hacked. Without conducting a full, vote-by-vote manual recount, which is impossible because many voting machines leave no paper trail, how can we be sure an election was conducted fairly and not interfered with? Read More

Michigan: Stein: Election audits should be automatic in Michigan | The Detroit News

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein said Wednesday her abbreviated recount effort showed the vote “was not carefully guarded” in Michigan and should spur legislative action to require automatic post-election audits. Republican President-elect Donald Trump was poised to maintain his 10,000-vote margin over Democrat Hillary Clinton when Michigan’s hand recount was halted more than two million ballots in, but Stein suggested the rare glimpse under the hood of the state election system served an important purpose. “What we discovered is we do not have a system that we can trust,” Stein said in a radio interview on Michigan’s Big Show, citing complaints from Detroit election officials who said 87 optical scanner voting machines failed on Election Day, along with other documented vote count and ballot handling irregularities. Read More