CHAPTER 148
ELECTION CANVASS AND RETURNS

Table of Contents

Sec. 9-310. Sealing of tabulator by moderator.
Sec. 9-320f. Manual audit of votes by registrars of voters or town clerk. Offices subject to audit. University of Connecticut analysis. Discrepancy recanvass. Voting machine failure to record votes. Secretary of the State investigation and report. Regulations. Definitions.

      Sec. 9-310. Sealing of tabulator by moderator. As soon as the count is completed and the moderator's return required under the provisions of section 9-259 has been executed, the moderator shall place the sealed tabulator in the tabulator bag, and so seal the bag, and the tabulator shall remain so sealed against voting or being tampered with for a period of fourteen days, except as provided in section 9-311 or pursuant to an order issued by the State Elections Enforcement Commission. If it is determined that a recanvass is required pursuant to section 9-311 or 9-311a, immediately upon such determination the tabulators, write-in ballots, absentee ballots, moderators' returns and all other notes, worksheets or written materials used at the election shall be impounded at the direction of the Secretary of the State. Such package shall be preserved for one hundred eighty days after such election and may be opened and its contents examined in accordance with section 9-311 or upon an order of a court of competent jurisdiction. At the end of one hundred eighty days, unless otherwise ordered by the court, such package and its contents may be destroyed. Any person who unlocks the voting or operating mechanism of the tabulator or the counting compartment after it has been locked as above directed or breaks or destroys or tampers with the seal after it has been affixed as above directed or changes the indication of the counters on any voting tabulator within fourteen days after the election or within any longer period during which the tabulator is kept locked as ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction or by the State Elections Enforcement Commission in any special case, except as provided in section 9-311, shall be imprisoned for not more than five years. Any tabulator may be released in less than fourteen days, for use in another election, by order of a court, if there is no disagreement as to the returns from such machine and no order directing impoundment has been issued by the State Elections Enforcement Commission.

      (1949 Rev., S. 1214; 1953, S. 788d; 1957, P.A. 526, S. 4; 1963, P.A. 318, S. 4; P.A. 77-239, S. 2; P.A. 85-514, S. 3; P.A. 86-1, S. 3, 5; P.A. 87-382, S. 35, 55; P.A. 95-88, S. 2; P.A. 07-194, S. 36.)

      History: 1963 act made technical change in language; P.A. 77-239 added provision for opening package of write-in ballots, where there is a recanvass in case of a discrepancy, to the existing provision for opening them on order of court of competent jurisdiction; P.A. 85-514 amended section to require impoundment of machines, write-in ballots, absentee ballots, moderators' returns and all other notes, worksheets or written material upon determination of a recanvass; P.A. 86-1 added references to order issued by state elections enforcement commission; P.A. 87-382 substituted "one hundred eighty days" for "six months"; P.A. 95-88 changed number of days machine remains locked from 10 to 14; P.A. 07-194 replaced provisions re locking of machines with provisions re sealing of tabulators by moderator and made conforming and technical changes.

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      Sec. 9-320f. Manual audit of votes by registrars of voters or town clerk. Offices subject to audit. University of Connecticut analysis. Discrepancy recanvass. Voting machine failure to record votes. Secretary of the State investigation and report. Regulations. Definitions. (a) Not earlier than the fifteenth day after any election or primary and not later than two business days before the canvass of votes by the Secretary of the State, Treasurer and Comptroller, for any federal or state election or primary, or by the town clerk for any municipal election or primary, the 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. Any election official who participates in the administration and conduct of an audit pursuant to this section shall be compensated by the municipality at the standard rate of pay established by such municipality for elections or primaries, as the case may be.

      (b) The voting districts subject to the audit described in subsection (a) of this section shall be selected in a random drawing by the Secretary of the State and such selection process shall be open to the public. The offices subject to the audit pursuant to this section shall be, (1) in the case of an election where the office of presidential elector is on the ballot, all offices required to be audited by federal law, plus one additional office selected in a random drawing by the Secretary of the State, but in no case less than three offices, (2) in the case of an election where the office of Governor is on the ballot, all offices required to be audited by federal law, plus one additional office selected in a random drawing by the Secretary of the State, but in no case less than three offices, (3) in the case of a municipal election, three offices or twenty per cent of the number of offices on the ballot, whichever is greater, selected at random by the municipal clerk, and (4) in the case of a primary election, all offices required to be audited by federal law, plus one additional office, if any, but in no event less than twenty per cent of the offices on the ballot, selected in a random drawing by the municipal clerk.

      (c) If a selected voting district has an office that is subject to recanvass or an election or primary contest pursuant to the general statutes, the Secretary shall select an alternative district, pursuant to the process described in subsection (b) of this section.

      (d) The manual audit described in subsection (a) of this section shall consist of the manual tabulation of the paper ballots cast and counted by each voting machine subject to such audit. Once complete, the vote totals established pursuant to the manual tabulation shall be compared to the results reported by the voting machine on the day of the election or primary. The results of the manual tabulation shall be reported on a form prescribed by the Secretary of the State which shall include the total number of ballots counted, the total votes received by each candidate in question, the total votes received by each candidate in question on ballots that were properly completed by each voter and the total votes received by each candidate in question on ballots that were not properly completed by each voter. Such report shall be filed with the Secretary of the State who shall immediately forward such report to The University of Connecticut for analysis. The University of Connecticut shall file a written report with the Secretary of the State regarding such analysis that describes any discrepancies identified. After receipt of such report, the Secretary of the State shall file such report with the State Elections Enforcement Commission.

      (e) For the purposes of this section, a ballot that has not been properly completed will be deemed to be a ballot on which (1) votes have been marked by the voter outside the vote targets, (2) votes have been marked by the voter using a manual marking device that cannot be read by the voting machine, or (3) in the judgment of the registrars of voters, the voter marked the ballot in such a manner that the voting machine may not have read the marks as votes cast.

      (f) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 9-311, the Secretary of the State shall order a discrepancy recanvass of the returns of an election or primary for any office if a discrepancy, as defined in subsection (o) of this section, exists where the margin of victory in the race for such office is less than the amount of the discrepancy multiplied by the total number of voting districts where such race appeared on the ballot, provided in a year in which the Secretary of the State is a candidate for an office on the ballot and that office is subject to an audit as provided by this section, the State Elections Enforcement Commission shall order a discrepancy recanvass if a discrepancy, as defined by subsection (o) of this section, has occurred that could affect the outcome of the election or primary for such office.

      (g) If The University of Connecticut report described in subsection (d) of this section indicates that a voting machine failed to record votes accurately and in the manner provided by the general statutes, the Secretary of the State shall require that the voting machine be examined and recertified by the Secretary of the State, or the Secretary's designee. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit the Secretary of the State from requiring that a voting machine be examined and recertified.

      (h) The audit report filed pursuant to subsection (d) of this section shall be open to public inspection and may be used as prima facie evidence of a discrepancy in any contest arising pursuant to chapter 149 or for any other cause of action arising from such election or primary.

      (i) If the audit officials are unable to reconcile the manual count with the electronic vote tabulation and discrepancies, the Secretary of the State shall conduct such further investigation of the voting machine or tabulator malfunction as may be necessary for the purpose of reviewing whether or not to decertify the voting machine or machines in question or to order the voting machine to be examined and recertified pursuant to subsection (g) of this section. Any report produced by the Secretary of the State as a result of such investigation shall be filed with the State Elections Enforcement Commission and the commission may initiate such further investigation in accordance with subdivision (1) of subsection (a) of section 9-7b as may be required to determine if any violations of the general statutes concerning election law have been committed.

      (j) The individual paper ballots used at an election or primary shall be carefully preserved and returned in their designated receptacle in accordance with the requirements of section 9-266, 9-302 or 9-310, whichever is applicable.

      (k) Nothing in this section shall be construed to preclude any candidate or elector from seeking additional remedies pursuant to chapter 149.

      (l) After an election or primary, any voting machine may be kept locked for a period longer than that prescribed by sections 9-266, 9-310 and 9-447, if such an extended period is ordered by either a court of competent jurisdiction, the Secretary of the State or the State Elections Enforcement Commission. Either the court or the Secretary of the State may order an audit of such voting machine to be conducted by such persons as the court or the Secretary of the State may designate, provided the State Elections Enforcement Commission may order such an audit under the circumstances prescribed in subsection (f) of this section. If the machine utilized in such election or primary is an optical scan voting system, such order to lock such machine shall include the tabulator, memory card and all other components and processes utilized in the programming of such machine.

      (m) The Secretary of the State may adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, as may be necessary for the conduct of the manual tabulation of the paper ballots described in subsection (a) of this section and to establish guidelines for expanded audits when there are differences between the manual and machine counts.

      (n) Notwithstanding any provision of the general statutes, the Secretary of the State shall have access to the code in any voting machine whenever any problem is discovered as a result of the audit described in subsection (a) of this section.

      (o) As used in this section, "discrepancy" means any difference in vote totals between machine and manual counts in a voting district that exceeds one-half of one per cent of the lesser amount of the vote totals between machine and manual counts where such differences cannot be resolved through an accounting of ballots that were not marked properly in accordance with subsection (e) of this section, "state election" means "state election", as defined in section 9-1, and "municipal election" means a municipal election held pursuant to section 9-164.

      (P.A. 07-194, S. 1.)

      History: P.A. 07-194 effective July 5, 2007.

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