An electronic ballot scanning device slated for use in the upcoming presidential elections, misreads ballots, fails to log critical events and is prone to freezes and sudden lockups, the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission has found. The little noticed EAC report on the DS200 Precinct Count Optical Scanner in the Unity 220.127.116.11 voting system built by Election Systems & Software (ES&S) was released late last month.
The 141-page Formal Investigative Report ( download pdf ) highlights multiple “substantial anomalies” in the DS200: intermittent screen freezes; system lockups and shutdowns; and failure to log all normal and abnormal system event. For example, the DS200 in some cases failed to log events such as a vote being cast, when its touch-screen is calibrated or when the system is powered on or off, the EAC said. In addition, the EAC report said the system failed to read votes correctly when a 17-inch ballot was inserted at an angle. The voter’s intended mark was either registered as a different selection or the vote was not registered at all, the EAC noted.
… Pamela Smith, president of Verified Voting, said that the concerns that prompted the 10-month EAC investigation are serious. “Any time such concerns are raised, one would hope that the jurisdictions using those systems take additional measures to ensure correct outcomes in the interim while the issues are being examined,” Smith said.
What is significant, she said, is the fact that the DS200 scanner is being used in conjunction with a voter-marked paper ballot. Thus election officials have a hard copy ballot showing the voter’s original intent, and therefore have the capability to do recounts and audits. “Any jurisdiction using the DS200 [or similar technology] should be doing a robust post-election audit routinely after every election,” Smith said.
For the near-term, the system should not be used in any jurisdiction that doesn’t do robust audits or inexpensive and easy to obtain recounts, Smith suggested. “Even where non-discretionary, mandatory recounts are done when margins are within a certain percentage, I’d want to be able to improve on those mandatory recounts because of the doubt that such a system can cast on the outcome,” she said.
Full Article: E-voting machine freezes, misreads votes, U.S. agency says – security, Regulation, Malware and Vulnerabilities, Gov’t Legislation/Regulation, Gov’t Legislation, government – Computerworld.