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86 Voting Precincts to Be Audited

by Christine Stuart | Nov 15, 2010 2:12pm
(0) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Election 2010

Christine Stuart photo

Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz

In addition to the dozen Bridgeport voting precincts, which were allowed to stay open until 10 p.m. based on a judge’s order, 74 voting precincts throughout the state will be audited before Nov. 22.

A total of 86 of Connecticut’s 734 polling places will be audited by local election officials. The audits will compare the machine counts to hand counts in the races for governor, attorney general, and U.S. Senate.

The annual audit of 10 percent of the state’s voting precincts was implemented a few years ago in an effort to determine if the new optical scan voting machines were working properly, but this audit may also offer a peek into what went wrong in Bridgeport on Election Day.

A shortage of ballots in that city forced poll workers to use photocopied ballots, which were subsequently counted by hand because they could not be fed through the machines. The voting counting in Bridgeport lasted almost three days after the polls closed and held up the definitive declaration of Connecticut’s next governor.

The post-election audit is not expected to impact the results of the governor’s race, which Democrat Dan Malloy won by more than 5,000 votes, making it the closest statewide election since 1956.

“Confident once we have this hand count of randomly selected precincts that this will shine the sunlight on this very close governor’s race and ensure our machines were working properly,” Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz said Monday. “We think this will put to rest any questions about those results in Bridgeport.”

She said the local elected officials agreed to hand count the machine ballots and the photocopied ballots in those 12 Bridgeport precincts. She said it’s still unknown how many photocopied ballots were cast in that city.

“We audit the results every year by hand counting and matching up those totals with the machine counts,” Bysiewicz said.

“We were very pleased that there was a strong turnout. We don’t have exact numbers yet, but it’s somewhere between 60 and 65 percent turnout,” Bysiewicz said.

Bysiewicz is expected to certify the vote on Nov. 24.

Meanwhile, in order to avoid running out of ballots in the future, lawmakers like Rep. Don Clemons of Bridgeport is expected to introduce legislation next session which requires the state to purchase ballots through the Citizens’  Elections Fund.

Bysiewicz said the legislature may want to consider a law that requires one ballot per voter to be purchased by the state.

Cheri Quickmire of Common Cause Connecticut, who was in Bysiewicz’s office Monday to help randomly select the precincts included in the audit, said she thinks taking money out of the Citizens’ Elections Fund is a terrible idea. She said the fund continues to be a target for plugging other budget holes when it should be used to help fund clean elections.

On Wednesday Beth Rotman, executive director of the Citizens’ Election Program, is expected to give an update of where the fund currently stands. Earlier this year the legislature swept millions of dollars from the fund to balance the budget.

Despite figuring out how it will be funded, it’s certain how ballots are purchased will be up for discussion this legislative session.

In 2007 the state paid for the ballots. In 2008 the federal government paid for the ballots, Bysiewicz said. In 2009 for the municipal races it wasn’t an issue.

“If Bridgeport had only ordered as much as they ordered in the ‘09 election—28,000 ballots—it wouldn’t have come to light,“ Bysiewicz said.

Deputy Secretary of the State Lesley Mara said when they surveyed other states with optical scan machines she found none of them with a statute on the books that require a certain percentage of ballots be ordered.

A panel created by Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch to look into the ballot shortage is scheduled to hold its first public meeting on Tuesday.

List of polling places to be audited:

Town      Polling Place

Bethel                       Frank A Berry School District 5

New Britain                 Generale Ameglio Society District 7

Waterbury                 St. Peter & Paul School Gym 16 District 74

Granby                       Granby Memorial High School District 1

Plainville                     Wheeler School District 4

Killingly           South Killingly Fire Station District 3

Montville                   Town Hall Gym District 6

Hartford                     Burns School District 9

Stratford                     Second Hill Lane 120 District 100

Danbury                     Danbury High School Gym Ward 1 District 1

Southbury                   Sacred Heart Church District 2

New Haven                 Firehouse Woodward Ward 17 District 17

Sprague                     Baltic Fire House District 1

New Milford               Catherine E Lillis Building District 2

Southbury                   The Jewish Center District 4

Middletown               Farm Hill School District 11

Greenwich                 North Mianus School District 12

Colchester                 Bacon Academy Cafeteria District 1

Mansfield                   Mansfield Library/Buchanan Auditorium District 3

Seymour                     Paul Chatfield School District 3

Wilton                       Driscoll School District 2

Ansonia                     First Congregational Church Ward 2 District 2 Precinct 2

East Haven                 East Farm Village 1-S District 1

Southington               Derynoski Elementary School District 3

Cheshire                     Norton School District 4

Newington                 Anna Reynolds School District 3

New Britain                 Graham Apartments District 5-2 District 5

East Haven                 Hays School District 5

Fairfield                     Dwight School District 3

Stratford                     Bunnell High School 120 District 90

Hartford                     Achievement 1st Hartford Academy District 1

Milford           Harborside Middle School District 5 District 529

Thompson                 Quinebaug Volunteer Fire Department District 3

Waterbury                 Edward D Bergin Apartments District 72

West Haven               City Hall Voting District 4 District 1

Preston                     Town Hall District 1

Norwalk                     Kendall School Voting District A3 District 140

Greenwich                 Town Hall District 2

Madison                     District 2 North

Hartford                     South End Senior Wellness Center District 13

Orange                       Mary L Tracy School District 1

Fairfield                     Osborn School 133 District 4

Thomaston                 Town Hall – Lena Morton Gallery District 1

Bloomfield                 Firehouse Number 3 District 5

Kent                         Town Hall District 1

Hamden                     Dunbar Hill School District 7

Stafford                     West Stafford Fire Department District 3

East Hartford               Langford School District 2

New Britain                 New Britain Senior Center District 5

Meriden                     Meriden Community Towers Area 1 District 12

Danbury                     War Memorial Gym Ward 5 District 5 Precinct 10

Enfield                       JFK Middle School District 1 District 2

Branford                     Community House Voting District 1, Precinct 0 District 1

Groton                       West Side Middle School District 2

Middletown               Woodrow Wilson Middle School District 3

Stratford                     Wilcoxson School 120 District 70

New Haven                 New Horizons School District 6 Precinct 2

Stamford                   Julia A Stark School District 11

Norwich                     Stanton School District 8

Simsbury                   Henry James Memorial School District 1

Windsor Locks   Windsor Locks High School District 2

Mansfield                   Audrey P. Beck Municipal Building District 1

Plainfield                   4 Atwood Hose Station District 4

Lyme                         Lyme fire House District 1

Southington               Reuben Thalberg Elementary School District 9

Ashford                     Knowlton Town Hall District 1

Danbury                     Pembroke School Gym Ward 2 District 2

Berlin                         Senior Center District 4

Newington                 Elizabeth Green School District 4

Torrington                   Armory District 8

Wallingford                 Evarts G. Stevens School District 2

Plainville                     Our Lady of Mercy Parrish Hall District 2

Milford                       Orange Avenue School District 1-2 District 127

Tolland           Hicks – Town Hall District 2

The 12 Bridgeport polling places are as follows:

Beardsley School, 500 Huntington Avenue

Read Middle School, 130 Ezra Street

Central High School, 1 Lincoln Blvd.

John Winthrop School, 85 Eckart St.

Hallen School, Division St.

Thomas Hooker School, Roger Williams Rd.

Black Rock School, 545 Brewster St.

John F. Kennedy Campus, 700 Palisade Ave.

Blackham School, 425 Thorme St.

Park City Magnet School, 1526 Chopsey Hill Rd.

City Hall, 45 Lyon Terrace

Longfellow School, 139 Ocean Terrace

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