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 – 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!