Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill has launched an electronic system that will allow towns to audit election results more easily. The electronic scanners – touted as being faster and cheaper than traditional hand counts – will be used to audit seven randomly chosen polling locations this week, including Danbury.
By law, 5 percent of the polling places that use optical scan machines are subject to an audit.
“Every year we randomly draw towns to have polling locations audited, and it is the lottery that no one wants to win,” Merrill said. “The audits are time-consuming and require towns to spend hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars that were not budgeted at the start of the year. The electronic auditing system is exponentially faster than the traditional hand counts and will spare towns the cost of hiring staff. This is a big step forward.”
The system works by feeding marked ballots into a scanner that reads the coordinates of the markings to calculate vote counts, which are then compared with the optical scanner’s results.
The audit results will be analyzed by the University of Connecticut, the Secretary of the State’s Office and the State Elections Enforcement Commission.
The scanners were developed and programmed by the University of Connecticut’s Center for Voting Technology Research and funded with a grant from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.
Other towns being audited are South Windsor, Meriden, Vernon, Washington, Stonington and Colchester.