Posts tagged “kansas elections”

Brian D. Newby responds to my concerns, sort of

Just in case you don’t follow along in the comments here at FF, make sure you take a look here to see what Johnson County Election Commissioner Brian D. Newby had to say about JOCO elections violating Federal standards. You can also see my response to Brian here. It looks like the election this past Tuesday went off without a hitch, at least insofar as anyone can tell. Thanks again to Brian for communicating with his concerned citizenry. Now if he will just fix the electoral system under his purview, he’ll be aces in my book!

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JOCO elections violate federal voting system standards

This is an update to yesterday’s post on Diebold’s handy one-touch deletion of e-voting machine logs. As I posted in the comments of yesterday’s piece, I spoke with Johnson County Election Commissioner Brian D. Newby. He assured me that he was aware of the issues with Diebold systems and that Johnson County uses an updated version of the GEMS software, version 1.18.24.

Unfortunately, it turns out that the problems mentioned are not confined to the older versions of the vote tabulation software. In reality, every Diebold/Premier Election Systems machine that is being used to vote in the United States (optical “scantron” and touch-screen), not just here in Johnson County, KS, does not log critical information such as when files are intentionally deleted from the system or unintentionally erased. In plain English, the Diebold/Premier system doesn’t keep track of the paper trail of your vote and has a one-touch delete button for anyone to destroy any record of them not keeping that paper trail.

This all came to light in a hearing earlier this week in California. You can view the video of that hearing after the jump including this choice snippet, the only question about the logs, 45 minutes into the video (yes, you can jump ahead):

“The failure to log certain system events,” [California Deputy Secretary of State Chris] Reynolds said, “I think you mentioned that in subsequent versions of this, these things have been corrected?”

“Uh no, not . . . not yet,” said Justin Bales, western regional manager for Premier/Diebold.Wired.com

Basically, if you vote in Johnson County, KS (or any of the more than 30 other states that use Diebold/Premier systems), you should have ZERO confidence that your vote is being counted. There is no transparency in your elections and you should demand that your election officials implement a plan to fix your electoral system before anyone “votes” again.

For those of you in JOCO, I can tell you that Commissioner Newby is very personable and called me back within a couple hours to answer my questions about the system. He is an award-winning election official, so let’s hope he holds up to that past standard and responds to the concerns of his citizenry. After all, transparent, fair elections are the cornerstone of a (d)emocratic society. That’s what we want to pretend to be, right?
Read the rest of this entry »

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Diebold e-voting allows one-touch deletion

This shows how close to the "Save As..." button the "Clear" button sits. Anyone who has used a touchscreen can tell you how precarious this placement is.

Image: Wired

This shows the proximity of the "Save As..." and "Clear" buttons. Anyone who has used a touchscreen can tell you how precarious this placement is.


When Republican stalwart Diebold changed the name of its e-voting subsidiary back in 2007, it was so it could gain an “independent structure.” The-artist-formerly-known-as-Diebold (now Premier Election Solutions), it turns out, has some major issues with (d)emocratic elections. We’ve hopefully all heard the stories (if not, read up at BlackBoxVoting) about their lack of a paper trail and the threat it poses to our democracy, from the election for dog catcher on up to the Presidency. But it took a report (PDF) from the Secretary of State of California to show that the Diebold machines, implicated in so many cases of election tampering, in some versions of their software actually have a convenient button that allows someone to delete audit logs from the system (see “Clear” button above). These logs are required by federal voting-system guidelines. They record changes and other events that occur on voting systems, ensuring electoral integrity and help diagnose what went wrong in a system when something inevitably does.

The system provides no warning to the operator that clicking on the button will result in permanent deletion of records in the log, nor does it require the operator to confirm the action before executing it.Kim Zetter
Wired.com – Threat Level

These machines are used in good ol’ Johnson County, KS, and I honestly cannot tell you which version of the GEMS software is running on them (version 1.18.19 or earlier includes the “Clear” button). I will be checking (I’ve got a call in to the election commissioner) and will let you know in this space. Do yourself a favor and do the same before you vote. Remember, e-voting is inherently dangerous. Read the full story at Wired and do all you can to make your vote count!

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