Frequency of being picked for audit irks Berlin registrar

Published on Wednesday, 15 November 2017 21:48
Written by Charles Paullin

Staff Writer

BERLIN - A precinct in Berlin was randomly chosen by the secretary of state to be audited and the Republican registrar of voters doesn’t think the process in which a precinct of hers was chosen is fair.

“New Britain has 17 (precincts), we have five and Cromwell has one,” said Elizabeth Tedeschi, Republican registrar of voters for the Town of Berlin. “Now, who do you think is going to be chosen?”

The drawing of District 2 American Legion came along with the random drawing of 33 other precincts across the state - equal to 5 percent of the 677 precincts that use an optical scanner to read marked paper ballots and tally the results in Connecticut. The audit is dictated by Connecticut General Statutes Section 9-320.

“We did four audits in a row,” said Tedeschi while noting Berlin’s high tendency to be chosen for an audit while some towns haven’t been selected at all.

“I’m sure there’s some happiness by registrars who didn’t get picked,” said Kevin McCauley, Democratic registrar of voters in Bristol.

MCauley’s city had Chippens Hill Middle School selected for an audit. “But everyone has their fair shot,” McCauley said.

According to Tedeschi, the town clerk will randomly select three offices on the ballot to be audited.

From there a handful of people will gather with Tedeschi and Fred Jortner, the Democratic registrar of voters in town, to count the ballot results of the those three offices and compare them with the voting tapes of the machines used at the district in question.

It is not a recount, Tedeschi explained. The precinct drawn had 1,095 votes in the most recent election.

While saying that’s a lot of votes to count, Tedeschi said it “shouldn’t be too bad.”

The audit has to be completed by Dec. 18 and will likely take place during the first week of December due to scheduling conflicts.

From there, a report of the audit will be sent to the University of Connecticut for additional analysis. If a margin of victory in a race is less than the number of discrepancies multiplied by the total number of voting districts in the town, a recount, is needed.

For example, 323 votes separated Mark Kaczynski in his victory over Richard Paskiewicz and over 64 discrepancies would need to be found in order to cause a recount.

In either case, if a discrepancy is found with a voting machine, the secretary of state can further investigate if a counting machine was compromised and submit a report to the State Elections Enforcement Commission, which may further investigate to determine if any violation of election law was committed.

Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074, or on Twitter @CPaullinNBH.

Posted in New Britain Herald, Berlin, New Britain on Wednesday, 15 November 2017 21:48. Updated: Wednesday, 15 November 2017 21:50.