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UConn Report Shows Junk Memory Cards Direct From Vendor PDF  | Print |  Email
By CTVotersCount.org   
October 13, 2008
UConn has a new report dated October 7th of the Pre-Election testing of memory cards for the August 2008 Primary, Pre-Election Audit of Memory Cards for the August 2008 Connecticut Primary Elections <read>

There was a different methodology used to gather cards for this report. Previous reports were of an incomplete selection of memory cards shipped to UConn by registrars — which should have been subject to pre-election testing before selection and shipping to UConn. Those reports demonstrated that many election officials failed to properly follow pre-election testing procedures. In addition there were questions about “junk” data cards that could not be read. This latest report avoids the embarrassing level of failure to follow procedures, while getting closer to the source of the “Junk” memory card problem — cards were shipped to UConn directly from the vendor, LHS:
Larger than acceptable number of cards contained what we describe as “junk” data. By saying that we understand that the card does not contain proper programming, and instead contains what appears to be random noise. When one puts the card containing the “junk” data into the AV-OS terminal it issues a prompt requesting to format the card. Thus such cards are easily detectable and cannot possibly be used in an election. It seems unlikely that these cards were (electromagnetically) damaged in shipping. Consequently, it appears that these cards were either not adequately tested by LHS Associates, or they experienced some kind of hardware/software failure at some point. Among the audited cards 5.4% of the cards contained junk data. This percentage is high and this issue has to be resolved in the future.

We performed pre-election audit of cards for all districts, and in this sense it is a complete audit. However the cards do not contain the results of pre-election testing done by the districts, and they were not randomly selected by the districts for the purpose of the audit. Instead the cards were provided to us directly by LHS. The results of the audit would be strengthened if it covered also the pre-election testing done by the districts. Our previous memory card audits in fact included this. However, our forthcoming companion report (to be available at http://voter.engr.uconn.edu/voter/Reports.html) will document the results of the post-election audit, covering most of the districts, and containing the observations about the card usage in pre-election testing at districts and in the election itself.
This is a useful report as it gets closer to the source of memory card errors and is an example of UConn’s excellent work. We must also recognize that none of the memory card reports accomplished so far have really covered a complete and random selection of memory cards.
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