Following up on the latest monumental failure by Diebold/Premier --- whose voting system was recently found by a citizens' transparency project to have lost hundreds of ballots in a single precinct in Humboldt County, CA --- Wired's Kim Zetter covered the issue earlier this week.
Her article touched on a number of technical issues involved in the failure of the Diebold GEMS central tabulator which, though we hadn't noted them in our own coverage, are nonetheless important, even if somewhat down in the weeds, and perhaps most of note to technical election integrity geeks only.
As quoted below in some detail from Zetter's report, she advances the story by noting:
- The problem, which Diebold admits has been in its system for years, likely wouldn't have been noticed at all were it not for the unique, experimental, citizen-led "Humboldt Transparency Project." Even CA's required 1% random post-election "audit" wouldn't have uncovered the problem, since absentee ballots are not included in that audit.
- The chances of the problem occurring, which resulted in ballots being deleted without notice by the Diebold GEMS tabulator, are rather high, even if chances of discovery of the error by election officials are very low.
- Diebold's explanation for the failure may or may not be legitimate.
- The GEMS internal "audit logs" (the GEMS system was used in 34 states around the nation last November) aren't actually audit logs at all, and may not actually note the complete set of events which occurred on the voting system, even if anyone is allowed to review those logs in the first place.
Let's take a look at the details...