The Georgia E-Voting Experience

Black Box Voting by Bev Harris Chapters 9-12 document numerous problems in the Georgia implementation of electronic voting by the woman who originally discovered Diebold's code on an uprotected FTP site. See chapts 9-12 on the lower right side of

Problems with DRE-style voting machines in Georgia

Georgia's RFP was used as a template to create Utah's RFP for voting equipment purchase.. Georgia is the state where the controversy about voting machines erupted in February 2003, because source code (source code is the human readable instructions prior to being compiled into unreadable machine language) was discovered on an unprotected FTP site. Computer scientists discovered that Geogia’s voting machines were set up to be easily hacked into, vote tallies changed and all log file evidence erased. Unexpected vote tally changes during Georgia’s Nov 2002 election unexpectedly put the party that was behind in all the statistically sampled polls suddenly ahead when the numbers jumped by 12% points (a number well above the margin of error of any polls) to win the Governor and US Senate races. Georgia continues to have a paperless DRE computerized voting system.

According to Prof. Douglas Jones of the University of Iowa, the ITA (independent testing authority) reported that the Diebold system was the best they had ever seen. Yet, computer security researchers at Johns Hopkins and Rice universities found glaring security flaws in the software used on Georgia’s DRE voting machines.
Georgia's story

Further details may be found at Black Box Voting articles and Verified Voting.

DeKalb County, Georgia. July 20, 2004.

SOURCE: Poll Watching in Georgia. National Ballot Integrity Project Discussion Forum. Posts by Roxanne Jekot. July 20-22, 2004.

Clayton County, Georgia. July, 2004. Diebold Absentee Ballots. In violation of Georgia state law, Diebold delayed absentee voting by failing to deliver ballots to the county within the required time. The laws says: “The superintendent shall, as soon as practicable prior to each primary or election, but at least 45 days prior to any primary or general election other than a municipal primary or election, ... prepare, obtain, and deliver an adequate supply of official absentee ballots to the board of registrars or absentee ballot clerk for use in the primary or election.” [Georgia Code, Chapter 21, Section 2-384]

Because of redistricting, the time was shortened to 30 days, but still Diebold was late sending the ballots. On July 2, absentee voting still had not begun for the July 20 election. Diebold was supposed to deliver them on June 25; on July 1, they sent out a "partial shipment" with a promise to send the rest on July 5 -- 15 days before the election. Other counties also experienced delays in receiving absentee ballots, but 18 days before the election, Clayton County still had not received any. Machine: Diebold Election Systems DRE

SOURCE: Delay could impact election. July 2, 2004. By Greg Gelpi.

Walker County, Georgia - March 2, 2004 Modem Transmission Malfunctions. Modems used for transmitting totals for tallying weren't operating properly. “Problems became apparent with Walker’s first returns about 9 p.m. when neighboring counties were wrapping up their tallies. A Diebold computer technician began providing incorrect numbers to news organizations. The botched returns were fed to the media for more than two hours after the polls closed before the problem was corrected.“ “Only a handful of modem transmissions have been successful since the electronic voting machines were introduced last year, Walker Elections board member Harold “Eddie” Hughes said. “The voting machines have been used for six elections, three of which were for the same State House District 1 race. Problems have cropped up at every election.” Machine: Diebold Election Systems DRE


Muscogee County, Georgia. November 4, 2003. Sales Tax Vote.

Overview: Allegations of widespread complaints by citizens who voted "no" but saw the machines register "yes" caused county officials to take the machine out of service during the election. Machine: Voting Technologies International. This one went to into dispute in Muscogee Superior Court SOURCE: [Broken link. Full text available at: ]

Article – NAACP disputes sales tax results; DuBose files complaint in Muscogee Superior Court
Electronic Vote Miscounts and Malfunctions In Recent Elections from

Follow up:
Columbus, Georgia NAACP president Edward DuBose filed a complaint in Muscogee County Superior Court asking for a stay of the vote certification and investigation into alleged voting irregularities. Article – NAACP disputes sales tax results; DuBose files complaint in Muscogee Superior Court http://www.ledgerenquirer. com/mld/ledgerenquirer/news/7248691.htm?template=contentModules/printstory.jsp The link is stale. The full text of the article is below. NAACP disputes sales tax results

DuBose files complaint in Muscogee Superior Court
By Mark Rice (706- 571-8543, Staff Writer
Nov. 13, 2003

Columbus NAACP president Edward DuBose filed a complaint Wednesday in Muscogee Superior Court about last week's sales tax vote. The petition makes two requests: ? A stay of the vote's certification. ? An investigation into alleged voting irregularities. State law requires a hearing to be scheduled within 20 days. A judge is expected to be assigned the case Monday. The Nov. 4 referendum passed with a margin of less than 1 percent. The 1 percent sales tax would start April 1 and last for five years, or collect about $149 million, to fund Muscogee County School District improvements. The Muscogee County Board of Elections and Registrations certified the referendum result last Thursday with a final margin of 280 votes: 11,538 to 11,258. Ken Barfield was the lone dissenter in the board's 3-1 decision. He objected to the handling of a computer chip that contained 477 votes and came out of one of the four advance voting machines. But the petition DuBose filed specifies a different problem. It alleges "wide-spread" complaints that citizens who voted "no" saw their voting machines register a "yes." DuBose told the Ledger- Enquirer that assertion is based on three complaints from voters who cast ballots at the Spencer High precinct. Only one of those voters has signed an affidavit, "but we're still trying to encourage the two others to step forward," DuBose said. Nancy Boren, executive director of the elections board, stands behind the announced totals. She said the complaint at Spencer High stems from a problem that arose with one electronic voting machine shortly after the polls opened at 7 a.m. "The poll manager told me a voter said every time he tried to vote, it wouldn't register his vote correctly," Boren said. "So I told the poll manager to shut that machine down, cancel the voter's ballot and let him vote with another voter access card on another machine." Electronic Vote Miscounts and Malfunctions In Recent Elections 42 Boren said the faulty machine had three votes registered when it was shut down. DuBose said the petition doesn't mention other alleged irregularities because NAACP officials and their lawyer, Ron Garnett of Augusta, didn't have time to document them before Wednesday's petition deadline. But when the hearing is held, DuBose promised, evidence about a previously reported alleged irregularity will be presented: Mary Myles said she and her husband saw orange cones blocking the driveway entrance to the voting precinct at Rigdon Road Elementary School about 90 minutes before the polls closed at 7 p.m. Boren, however, said the poll manager removed the cones by 4 p.m. and isn't aware of any other complaints. She said Rigdon Road Elementary puts those cones in the driveway every school day between 2:15 and 3:15 p.m. to control traffic during student pick-up time.

Georgia. November 2002.

Wrong County Commission Candidates on Ballot.< br /> In one Georgia county, ballots in at least three precincts listed the wrong county commission races. Officials shut down the polls to fix the problem but didn’t know how many wrong ballots were cast or how to correct errant votes. In another, a county commission race was omitted from a ballot. Cards voters needed to access machines malfunctioned. Machines froze up, and dozens had been mis-programmed. SOURCE: AP Online, 5 November 2002; “Glitches Hit High-Tech Voting Systems”

Last Minute Program Modifications on Georgia Voting Machines.
SOURCE: Scoop Media, 13 February 2003; “Georgia’s Last Minute 2002 Election Machine Fix” Scoop - Georgia installs uncertified software on e-voting machines

Detailed Statistical Analysis of November 2002 Georgia Election Anomalies. SOURCE: Baltimore City Paper, 11 December 2002; “Computerized Balloting is Taking Over Elections In Maryland — But Can We Trust the Results?” [More information at ]

DeKalb County, Georgia. July 20, 2004.
Diebold TS paperless voting machines and County election procedures. Over 150 Georgia citizens volunteered as poll watchers in the Tuesday primary. They observed machine malfunctions and insecure election administration procedures. Here are excerpts from one observer's report.* When the polls opened ...

We had a poll watcher in every precinct, informed and trained with the things to look for and how to address the problems the moment they cropped up. We insured the law was followed to the letter. The calls from the poll watchers began promptly at 7:00 AM with every irregularity, improper behavior and machine malfunction they saw reported to the attorneys. One precinct reported almost upon opening of the polls that all machines (10) were failing. Voters inserted the access card and the card was immediately ejected. The pollwatcher reported that voters were offered provisional paper ballots, but they were prepared with only 25 of these ballots and ran out within 10 minutes. It took almost 2 hours to rectify the situation even though our HQ personnel reported it to the County office immediately.

Attempting to observe at the election office ...

I was badged as a NAACP Pollwatcher as was another member of our team. We arrived at the Election Supervisor's office at 9:00 AM and asked to observe the operation throughout the day. The employees were disconcerted by the request and we were asked to repeat it several times. 20 minutes later, the Elections Supervisor explained to us that we would not be granted access because the center was "too small and there just isn't room for you." Our response was that we would do anything necessary to stay out of the way and make ourselves unobtrusive. We also offered to have only one observer in the room at a time, trading off throughout the day. The Elections Supervisor refused every alternative and offered us a 10 minute tour, but we would have to leave. ... The end result of the negotiations with the attorneys was that we would not be granted access until the polls closed at 7:00 PM so we returned to our HQ location.

When the machines overheated at the polls ...

At 4:15 we received a call from one of the precincts. The poll manager had announced to the pollworkers that all the DREs were malfunctioning because the polling place was unairconditioned and unventilated. We arrived at the polling place and asked to speak to the Poll Manager who explained that they were experiencing some problems but they had a technician on the way. Our Pollwatcher had asked the technician to note the problems on his forms. He signed his name, wrote in the time (1:00 PM) and noted "All machines running hot." We spoke with the technician and he explained that the machines were behaving erratically. Because of the heat, when a voter placed their hand on the touchscreen, their chosen candidate would change (the red X would jump all over the screen) and voters would have great difficulty casting their vote for the candidate of their choosing. He informed us the problem began occurring at 12:15 and was getting progressively worse as the environment in the polling place was heating up with the daytime heating. Voting continued on the overheated machines until the polls closed at 7:00 PM.

At the election office after the polls closed ...

Modem communications are not monitored by anyone at any time. No one is assuring what is being moved between the computers, nor that someone might be connecting to the GEMS server inappropriately. One can hear the modem connections being made, see the screen on the GEMS server moving lines of text, but no one is monitoring it. As poll workers bring the reports and PCMCIA [memory] cards back to election center:

  1. HQ Poll workers receive the envelopes, checking the seal.
  2. ...
  3. At no time during this process does any HQ poll worker check, monitor or verify the serial numbers or any other identifying information on the PCMCIA cards.
  4. HQ Poll workers return to the envelopes and check off that it contains "tapes." The tapes are not removed from the envelope, they are not read, they are not documented and the envelope is dumped into a bin with other envelopes. These "tapes" contain the Zero Total Report and the End of Day Precinct Totals.

Talking to the Elections Director ...

One of the questions we asked involved the 13 overheating machines and she repeated the "human failure" response saying it was the humans who overheated and overreacted. She went on to explain that the Diebold DREs were "certified to operate to 200 degrees" and the humans weren't.