Thursday, December 4, 2008

We Scanned More Ballots than were in the Official Results

Despite accurate work by our elections department, their official count was missing 197 ballots from a single precinct. Humboldt's version of GEMS appears to drop the zero'th ballot deck under certain circumstances.

Statement by Mitch Trachtenberg,
developer of Ballot Browser, open source vote counting software


Our votes are too important to be counted by secret code running on proprietary machines.

Since 2000 and before, many people have warned that the vote counting machines might not be doing exactly what they say they do.

Today's results demonstrate that the warnings are correct. A stack of 197 valid ballots was not included in Humboldt County's official count, despite the accurate work of Humboldt County's elections department.

As far as I understand, this appears to be due to an error in Premier Election System's software... an error Premier -- formerly Diebold -- may have known about.

Our Election Transparency Project completed its scan of all ballots late on Sunday, and it was clear that our count of ballots scanned did not match the count of ballots in the official results. By counting votes with Ballot Browser, open source software running on the open source platform Linux, we were quickly able to localize the problem to precinct 1E-45. This precinct turned out to include the first deck of ballots run through the Premier system, and it was not included in the results produced by Premier's software.

Has this happened in other counties? How can we know?

Our votes are too important to be counted by secret code.