A “rare error” with a memory card that didn’t properly upload its vote tallies caused a long delay Tuesday night as Fulton County reported election results. The issue was with a card with vote totals from the 6th congressional district, said Richard Barron, Fulton’s director of registration and elections. While no votes were compromised, the problem delayed counting for more than an hour while the card was identified and reread, Barron said. “While we’re looking for it, we can’t let any more results come through,” Barron said. “When you’re reading memory cards, if you don’t have something right, it can happen.” Barron said when the county moves to export vote totals to its website, it should get a dialog box that says “operation successful.” Instead, the result was “just a line of gobbledygook, just a line of junk, just letters,” Barron said.
New electronic poll books for elections are supposed to make voting faster, more accurate and more secure, but Butler County commissioners don’t like the state’s “use it or lose it” policy regarding money to pay for them. County elections officials presented a plan Monday to spend $524,900 on the new technology. The state will pick up the lion’s share, $394,465, for the equipment, but county leaders said the catch is the elections board must be under contract with the vendor by May 31 or the money will vanish. “I don’t like the state saying you have to use it or lose,” Commissioner Don Dixon said. “I think if they are going to allocate that money, then if we have a plan to bundle that with something else, and it may be a year before we’re there, we should be allowed to do that.”
Georgia: Prior to suspected breach, KSU voting center received warning | Atlanta Journal Constitution
Kennesaw State University officials received a warning before the presidential election that a server system used by its election center may be vulnerable to a data breach. But they only notified state officials that they could have a problem after a second contact from a potential hacker raised alarms about the security of millions of Georgia voter records, according to top state officials briefed on the issue but not authorized to speak on the record. It is not clear whether the university acted to address the potential problem identified by the hacker last fall, those officials said. KSU hasn’t publicly discussed the alleged breach, citing an open investigation. It is also not clear the hacker had any ill intent and ever actually accessed the records, which the university keeps on behalf of the state as part of its Center for Election Systems.
A group of technology experts said Tuesday that Georgia’s top elections officials should stop using electronic voting machines as the FBI reviews a suspected data breach. Secretary of State Brian Kemp and Kennesaw State University this month confirmed a federal investigation focused on the school’s Center for Election Systems. The center tests and certifies Georgia’s voting machines and electronic polling books used to check in voters at polling locations. Employees also format ballots for every election held in the state. The center isn’t part of Kemp’s office or connected to its networks, including Georgia’s database of registered voters maintained by the secretary of state’s office. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution first reported the investigation into the suspected cyberattack. In a letter to Kemp on Tuesday, 20 technology experts and computer science professors affiliated with the national Verified Voting organization said paper ballots will preserve voters’ confidence in the results of an upcoming special election to fill Georgia’s 6th District congressional seat. The letter said using equipment maintained by the center while it is the focus of a criminal investigation “can raise deep concerns.”
Georgia and Cobb election officials are rejecting calls from advocacy groups for voters to use paper ballots while the FBI investigates a data breach at Kennesaw State University. Voters will continue to use electronic voting machines during upcoming elections, said Candice Broce, spokesperson for Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp. The use of paper ballots is reserved as a backup system in case there is a problem with the voting machines, she said. Cobb voters will also use the voting machines in next week’s special elections for the 1 percent special purpose local option sales tax for education and the vacant Marietta school board Ward 6 seat, said Janine Eveler, director of Cobb elections. Earlier this month, KSU announced a federal investigation at the Center for Elections Systems located on the Kennesaw campus to determine if there was a data breach that might have affected the center’s records, according to Tammy DeMel, spokesperson for the university.
The chairman of the Democratic Party of Georgia on Monday demanded that Secretary of State Brian Kemp accept help from the Department of Homeland Security after an alleged breach of confidential data that could affect millions of Georgia voter records. DuBose Porter also criticized Kemp for disclosing few details about the nature and origin of the attack, and he raised concerns that it could affect the April 18 special election to replace former U.S. Rep. Tom Price. “The security of — and confidence in — our voting system is the bedrock of American democracy,” Porter wrote. “It is your obligation to provide all Georgians with assurance that our voting system is sound and secure.” The Federal Bureau of Investigation launched an inquiry into the suspected cyberattack this month at the request of state officials after university staff told them records kept by the Center for Election Systems at Kennesaw State University may have been compromised.
Kansas: Software problem slowed Johnson County vote counting on election night | The Kansas City Star
Software that malfunctioned and stalled vote tallying in Johnson County for more than three hours on election night was of the same brand that has been under scrutiny for years and has caused counting errors in other parts of the country. The Global Election Management System – or GEMS – was not the only cause of a breakdown on election night, but it was definitely one of the most frustrating, said county Election Commissioner Ronnie Metsker. Vote counters lost hours of time as they waited for help from a technical support person in Nebraska who they hoped could tell them why the system suddenly dropped 2,100 ballots from its database and how to get them back. When that help wasn’t forthcoming, the workers ended up re-scanning the paper ballots so they could be re-loaded into the database. In the end, election officials didn’t get their closing totals out until about 1:30 p.m. the next day, due to the computer breakdown and tidal waves of last-minute registrations and advance votes, Metsker said.
A Georgia voting machine apparently malfunctioned as a voter tried to cast an early ballot for Hillary Clinton, but Donald Trump’s name kept showing up instead. But election officials say they still have confidence in the state’s voting machines. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution first reported the account on Thursday. The newspaper says an unnamed Bryan County voter complains that a touch-screen machine incorrectly showed his presidential selection. The voter said he touched the screen to vote for Democrat Clinton, but instead it selected Republican Trump — twice. On his third try, the voter said he was able to select Clinton. A spokesman for Secretary of State Brian Kemp says the county improperly tested the machine. “We are confident that machines are not ‘flipping’ votes,” said Kemp Chief of Staff David Dove in a statement.
New Hampshire: In a connected world, New Hampshire voting machines are isolated – by choice | Concord Monitor
With concerns being raised across the country about the possibility that hackers could interfere with electronic voting machines, it’s timely to note that in a world of smart devices, New Hampshire’s ballot-counting machines are deliberately dumb. Say what you will about rigged elections and the chance of election officials missing cases of voter fraud: When it comes to the mechanical end of the state’s voting system, it’s a tight process. Security cameras, thermostats and even some automobiles might interact online these days, but not the hundreds of ballot-counting machines stored in town halls across New Hampshire. “They cut the pins off, so you can’t put the modems back in, even if you wanted to,” said Ben Bynum, town clerk in Canterbury, as he showed the town’s single AccuVote machine, locked away in a vault until pre-election testing begins. The only way to change these machines is to insert a memory card programmed by LHS Associates in Salem, and you can’t do that unless you first cut off a metal tamper-proof seal. And if you don’t record the proper identification numbers in the proper place in the proper book with a the signature of a witness, that will raise suspicions from people like Bynum and Deputy Town Clerk Lisa Carlson.
Six days after Memphis voters went to the polls last October to elect a mayor and other city officials, a local computer programmer named Bennie Smith sat on his couch after work to catch up on e-mail. The vote had gone off about as well as elections usually do in Memphis, which means not well at all. The proceedings were full of the technical mishaps that have plagued Shelby County, where Memphis is the seat, since officials switched to electronic voting machines in 2006. Servers froze, and the results were hours late. But experts at the county election commission assured both candidates and voters that the problems were minor and the final tabulation wasn’t affected. … Shelby County uses a GEMS tabulator—for Global Election Management System—which is a personal computer installed with Diebold software that sits in a windowless room in the county’s election headquarters. The tabulator is the brains of the system. It monitors the voting machines, sorts out which machines have delivered data and which haven’t, and tallies the results. As voting machines check in and their votes are included in the official count, each machine’s status turns green on the GEMS master panel. A red light means the upload has failed. At the end of Memphis’s election night in October 2015, there was no indication from the technician running Shelby County’s GEMS tabulator that any voting machine hadn’t checked in or that any votes had gone missing, according to election commission e-mails obtained by Bloomberg Businessweek. Yet as county technicians followed up on the evidence from Smith’s poll-tape photo, they discovered more votes that never made it into the election night count, all from precincts with large concentrations of black voters.