Bridgeport Recount Report and Recommendations

Votes were miscounted and miscalculated adding votes to each candidate, but not changing winner in the race for governor

<Full Report, Press Release, Detail Data>

From the Press Release and Executive Summary:

Each candidate for the governor’s race gained votes in the recount when compared to the officially reported results, as follows: Foley (+174), Malloy (+761), and Marsh (+19).  These differences parallel candidate shares in the initially reported results. Counting of all ballots in the governor’s race resulted in differences in many counts, totaling 1,520 votes miscounted, of these 1,236 were initially under reported and 284 were initially over reported.

Luther Weeks of CTVotersCount states, “We found evidence suggesting just about every type of counting and calculation error one would imagine from officials who worked extended days and counted under pressure. We also found differences between numbers of ballots cast and numbers of voters checked-in at the polls.”

In one district, the ballot case contained Provisional Ballots cast at that district but sealed in ballot containers and not brought to the attention of registrars for evaluation or, if applicable, for counting in the election.  This represents a communication and training problem between the moderators, head moderator, and registrars. Provisional Ballots should not have been sealed with the other ballots and from the Moderator’s  Returns should have been recognized as having been voted from the Provisional Ballot Inventory Form.

Connecticut Citizen Action Group Executive Director, Tom Swan said, “In a closer election, similar errors could have changed an election result, precluded a necessary recanvass or caused an unnecessary one.”

In several districts the counts of ballots differed from the check-in list counts, and in several districts, our counts of the check-in lists differed from the counts on the moderators’ reports.  In many districts check-in list counts closely paralleled ballot counts, yet some counts were over by 21 ballots or less or under by 30 ballots or less. While some variation can be expected due to the difficulty of interpreting some check-in marks, we found several districts where the check-in lists were clearly not counted accurately. In one district, results were under by 117 ballots less than voters checked- in based on our counts.

Cheri Quickmire, Executive Director, Common Cause of Connecticut said “While the recount showed no evidence of fraud, there were numerous errors.  It is time for elections officials to be accountable to the citizens of the state. It is time to professionalize elections in Connecticut.”

From the Press Release and Recommendations:

Cheryl Dunson of the League of Women Voters of CT stated, “Voters deserve better.  Municipalities must provide sufficient numbers of ballots. Election officials need more training, organization, and more time to determine and report results. There is also a need for more enforcement of our election laws.”

We suggest possible components of a comprehensive solution that deserve consideration:

    • Mandatory formulas for minimum ballot orders

Adoption of emergency plans: It’s important to note that, simply printing more ballots only reduces the chance of the specific problem that occurred in Bridgeport. There are other causes that could result in a municipality having to scramble to photocopy ballots or perform hand counting such as a massive power failure or ballots lost in a fire, flood, or accident shortly before or during Election Day.

    • Enforceable laws, regulations, and proceduresfor the monitoring of turn-out to provide sufficient warning of ballot shortages
    • Enforceable laws, regulations, and procedures for the creation, security, and accounting for all ballots and for the creation and handling of emergency photocopied ballots
    • Additional state-provided training and improved manuals should be available for election officials
    • In addition to head moderators, the Secretary of the State should have the power to order discrepancy recanvasses
    • Allow more time for the initial reporting of results, investigation of minor discrepancies, and for the accomplishment of recanvasses and the certification of results
    • Enforceable laws, regulations, and procedures for the accounting for and public verification of the reporting of election results from counting teams, polling place officials, and head moderators, to the Secretary of the State’s Office
    • Require detailed reporting of votes for cross-endorsed candidates

<Full Report, Press Release, Detail Data>