Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Touch Screen Voting Systems Used In Collin Co. Flawed

Collin County voters have been voting on Diebold Election Solutions DRE touch screen voting systems, like the machine pictured left, since the March 4, 2004 primary election. (Following a year-long failed attempt to sell its e-voting subsidiary, the parent Diebold company renamed its wholly owned election system subsidiary "Premier Election Solutions" and gave the business unit its own management team and board of directors in August 2007.)

The newer version voting machine pictured right was used for the first time in Collin Co. during early voting for the November 2008 general election. The older version of the same voting machines used in Collin County since 2004, were used on Election Day 2008.

Premier (Diebold) Election Solutions admitted in a California state hearing Tuesday that the audit logs written by its voting system software miss significant events, including the act of someone (election clerks, judges or other) maliciously or accidentally deleting votes on election day.

The company acknowledged that the problem exists with every version of its GEMS tabulation software prior to GEMS v1.18.24 used nationwide. (This then would include the Premier (Diebold) election system used in Collin County, Texas as well as six other Texas counties.)

The revelation confirmed that a problem noted in a report released two weeks ago by the California Secretary of State's office, has widespread implications for election jurisdictions around the country that use any version of the company's Global Election Management System (GEMS) software to tabulate votes.

The GEMS software is used to tabulate votes cast on every Premier/Diebold touch-screen or optical-scan machine, and is used in more than 1,400 election districts in 31 states. Collin County use Premier/Diebold systems exclusively, therefore the GEMS software counts every vote countywide.

The audit log system on Premier Election Solutions' electronic voting systems fail to record the wholesale deletion of ballots, even when ballots are deleted on the same day as an election. That's the statement made by Justin Bales, Premier's Western Region manager, at a State of California public hearing on the possible decertification of Diebold/Premier's system in California.

An election system's audit logs are meant to record all activity during the system's actual counting of ballots, so that later examiners may determine, with certainty, whether any fraudulent or mistaken activity had occurred during the count. Diebold's software fails to do that, as was recently discovered in Humboldt County, CA, and later confirmed by the CA Secretary of State.

When election officials in Humboldt County tested the reported audit failure by intentionally deleting more than two dozen batches of ballots from their system during the November general election, the Premier/Diebold logs did not show that ballots had been deleted. The flaws, built into the system for more than a decade, are in serious violation of federal voting system certification standards.

BradBlog further reports:
In addition, the software was discovered to have a "Clear" button which, when pressed, would actually delete the contents of an audit log without even asking for confirmation from the user. That, despite repeated federal and state testing and certification of the software which failed to notice the egregious programming flaws in violation of federal voting system standards requiring indestructible logs to track all system events.

The flaws should have kept the systems from receiving certification at all.

Premier, formerly Diebold, Election Solutions is headquartered in Allen in Collin County, TX.

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