Norwalk election notes: Azima, secure elections and voter registrations

Norwalk tabulators aren’t connected to the Internet, Democratic Registrar Stuart Wells said.

The election is Nov. 5.

NORWALK, Conn. — Some Norwalk election information for you:

  • District A BoE candidate Azima shares credentials
  • Wells: Norwalk electoral process secure from hackers
  • Unaffiliated voters outnumber Democrats



Azima: ‘Passion for working with youth’

The Democratic candidate to represent District A on the Board of Education has a master’s degree in social work and is employed by the Connecticut Rise Network as an on track coordinator for Westhill High School.

Godfrey Azima. (Contributed)

Godfrey Azima, a Tracey Elementary School Governance Council member, is running against Republican retired teacher Alexandrea Kemeny in the heavily Democratic district.

Azima, the father of four children all under the age of seven, grew up in Stamford as the son of two Haitian immigrants. He and his wife have lived in Norwalk for 10 years and have carefully considered where they want to raise their children, he said in a letter to District A, writing, “Our positive experience at Tracey Elementary School has single-handedly finalized our decision to stay in Norwalk. I have also learned a great deal about Norwalk Public Schools through my experience on the School Governance Council.”

Azima earned a bachelor’s degree in criminology from Central Connecticut State University, then attained a family advocacy position for Stamford Academy Charter High School, he wrote. He has also worked for the Bridgeport Juvenile Detention Center as a program director and Stamford Public Schools, in a variety of capacities, including head of Links Academy High School, according to his resume.

“These leadership positions gave me the ability to create and facilitate programs that would directly impact minority youth,” he wrote. “I acquired strong management and leadership skills that have enabled me to build a successful record of creating and implementing youth development programs designed to support academic achievement.”


Microsoft not needed

It was recently reported that Microsoft is giving away software to guard United States voting machines.

Norwalk doesn’t need it, Democratic Registrar Stuart Wells said. Neither does Connecticut.

Wells wrote:

“Our Tabulators are not connected to the internet in any way or at any time. They do not have either a USB flashdrive connection or a Cat5 connection. They do have an old-style serial port, which could be hooked up using a 1,200 baud modem – something I haven’t seen in about 20 years and certainly do not have. In any event the serial port is sealed so it can’t be used.

“Also, the tabulator just reads the voter’s hand-filled-out paper ballot and deposits it in a bin in the bottom of the ballot box. We always have the actual ballots in case of any doubt or malfunction. And, of course, all the tabulators are serviced annually and their accuracy is tested prior to each election or primary. The registrars do the testing personally and it is open to the public and the records (test deck and tapes) are kept.

“There is also a ballot marking device designed for certain handicaps, although anyone can use it. However, the voter’s selections are printed onto an actual ballot which is processed by the tabulator like other ballots. The voter can verify that the device marked the ballots correctly by checking the ballot. (Obviously verification fails in the case of a blind voter – the best we can offer is an election official of the voter’s choice to read the ballot choices to the voter for approval before the ballot is cast.)

“Microsoft’s software ‘guard’ mentioned in the article is designed for voting machines that work differently from the tabulators in use throughout Connecticut.

“Both the Secretary of the State’s office and Norwalk’s IT Department are well aware of the potential for electronic disruption of our elections and we are working with them and the Department of Homeland Security to counter any threats. Among other things we get weekly security alerts from the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC).”



Norwalk’s party affiliations

Wells on July 22, provided this breakdown of the Norwalk electorate:

  • 20,562 registered Democrats
  • 9,762 registered Republicans
  • 22,452 unaffiliated voters
  • 1,053 independent voters


That’s 24,666 men and 29,023 women.

By district, the tally is:


District A

  • 4,505 Democrats
  • 1,445 Republicans
  • 4,489 unaffiliated
  • 189 independent


District B

  • 3,780 Democrats
  • 697 Republicans
  • 3,193 unaffiliated
  • 108 independent


District C

  • 3,958 Democrats
  • 2,211 Republicans
  • 4,611 unaffiliated
  • 224 independent


District D

  • 4,058 Democrats
  • 2,842 Republicans
  • 5,386 unaffiliated
  • 271 independent


District E

  • 4,261 Democrats
  • 2,567 Republicans
  • 4,773 unaffiliated
  • 261 independent


Stuart Wells August 12, 2019 at 7:34 am

I doubt that the Russians or any foreign power are “trying to infiltrate” Norwalk’s elections. But the Department of Homeland Security believes that foreign adversaries do want to weaken the U.S. by undermining our faith in our institutions and critical infrastructure. One such “institution” is our election system.
Connecticut’s election system is very hard to “hack” because it is very antiquated and “low tech”. Voter electronic records are backed up by our fine 19th century card file and the results of each election are backed up by the actual voted ballots. (Ballots are locked up and kept for almost two years — it is almost time to shred the ballots from the 2017 election for Mayor, to make room for us to store the ballots from the 2019 election.)
The only problem with a “low tech” system is that the results of each election have to be entered into a state computer system by hand and there are many numbers to enter, several thousand, so it takes time.
Why so many numbers? Each state, federal or city-wide candidate gets votes from a dozen precincts, plus from Absentee Ballots for those precincts, plus from Election Day Registration Ballots for those precincts. That is 36 numbers per candidate. However a cross-endorsed candidate gets 3 different vote numbers from each set of ballots — party 1 votes, party 2 votes, and Unknown Party votes (where the voter fills in the ovals for both Party 1 and Party 2 — which is counted as one Unknown Party vote).
So lots of numbers to be entered by hand, and then double-checked, all of which takes time, but can’t be hacked.

Paul Lanning August 12, 2019 at 2:11 pm

Foreign powers seeking to disrupt U.S. politics probably aren’t particularly interested in local small-town elections.

But when it comes to national elections, the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee found evidence of Russian scrutiny and/or involvement in all 50 states in 2016.

Russia’s goal is to sow discontent and societal division, culminating in the dissolution of our norms, and ultimately paralyzing our democratic process. The strategy of course includes support for the divisive posturing of Trump and his minions, support which Congressional Republicans are happy to accept. Invoking the age-old Republican party hue-and-cry of “states’ rights”, McConnell has repeatedly blocked BI-PARTISAN election security bills such as the DETER Act co-authored by Senators Graham (R) and Durbin (D).

Russia surely isn’t the only foreign adversary that would stand to gain by supporting candidates whose policies stand to weaken the fabric of U.S. society.

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