Diebold Audit Logs Miss Critical Data

Kim Zetter at wired has on of several reports on hearings in California <read>

Summary:  “The Humboldt Election Transparency Project” discoverd 179 missing ballots in the original election accounting.  One memory card total was dropped in accumulating votes after the election.  Subsequent investigations found that there was a known (to some) problem in the code that could cause that to happen, yet, no record of the event was in the audit logs and the audit logs could be easily deleted.   Yesterday the Secretary of State held hearings as reported by  Kim Zetter:

“Today’s hearing confirmed one of my worst fears,” said Kim Alexander, founder and president of the non-profit California Voter Foundation. “The audit logs have been the top selling point for vendors hawking paperless voting systems. They and the jurisdictions that have used paperless voting machines have repeatedly pointed to the audit logs as the primary security mechanism and ‘fail-safe’ for any glitch that might occur on machines. To discover that the fail-safe itself is unreliable eliminates one of the key selling points for electronic voting security.”

Following a public records request of GEMS logs, Threat Level previously reported that the Premier/Diebold logs did not indicate when election officials in Humboldt County, California, intentionally deleted more than two dozen batches of ballots from their system during the November general election.

The finding raised questions about the integrity of elections conducted with the system, but it was unknown at the time whether the problem with the audit log existed with other versions of the GEMS software used in other counties in California and across the country. Premier/Diebold didn’t respond to phone calls seeking information at the time.

In Connecticut we avoid these specific problems as we do not use the GEMS system for election totaling votes from memory cards.  (Our vendor, LHS uses GEMS for programming the memory cards for each of our elections).  But we don’t avoid similar problems, Connecticut uses an error prone three step process of manual transcription to produce our vote totals – for the November 2008 election this system dropped and added even more votes than the number of ballots dropped in California: e.g. <here> <here> <here> <here>

Update 3/25:  Diebold tries to cut off Humbolt, Are the sending a message “Don’t Tread on Dieblod?”

Here is the Daily Voting News Summary which is good summary of what we have so far <read>


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