Middletown's 9th voting district at Wesley Elementary School is among 16 precincts statewide chosen by lottery today to have primary election votes audited.
Secretary of the State Denise Merrill today joined Connecticut Voting Rights advocates at a news conference at the State Capitol to randomly select the voting precincts which will be audited following the Sept. 10 municipal primaries in 23 Connecticut cities and towns.
Middletown's registrar of voters will conduct the audit locally.
In all, 356 ballots were cast at Middletown's District 9 voting station during the Democratic planning and zoning commission primary on Sept. 10: 81 for Robert Blanchard, 77 each for Paul Turenne and Daniel Russo, and 121 for Stephen Devoto.
Devoto, Russo and Blanchard earned enough votes to qualify for the November ballot.
As required by Connecticut General Statutes 9-320f, 10 percent of the polling precincts in the election using optical scan voting machines are subject to an audit. All told, 156 polling precincts used optical scan voting machines on Sept. 10, meaning that some 16 precincts were chosen to have their election results audited, with five others chosen as alternates.
“Voters in nearly two dozen Connecticut communities had their say on September 10th about who they want on the general election ballot for important local offices,” said Secretary Merrill, Connecticut’s chief elections official.
“Now, it is our duty to audit the machine totals from these primaries as we do following every election 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 can begin as soon as Sept. 25 and must be completed by Oct. 11.
“Auditing election results isn’t just a good idea, it’s absolutely essential in order to guarantee the integrity of our elections,” Merrill said. “We don’t just take the machines’ word for it. So we will have every ballot cast in a full 10 percent of precincts using optical scan machines hand counted and matched against the machine totals."
Audits will be conducted for 16 precincts. The law requires a hand audit 10 percent 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 16 precincts chosen for an audit, there were also five 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.
Connecticut General Statute 9-320f states that local Registrars of Voters, “… shall conduct a manual audit of the votes recorded in not less than ten per cent of the voting districts in the state, district or municipality, whichever is applicable. Such manual audit shall be noticed in advance and be open to public observation.”