Cops Canvass Report Issues Summary

This is a section of the Cops Canvass Report. See also San Diego County Canvass Procedure

Issues Summary

This part of the report lists all issues in numerical order. There are two major categories of issues.
  • Issues related to Ro V Procedures - These are issues about the procedures used by the Ro V to process the election. These issues are numbered Axxx, where xxx is the number 001 to 045.
  • Issues related to our research project - These issues are comments about our project in terms of missing oversight or improvements for future work. These issues are numbered Cxxx, where xxx is the number 001 to 007.

  • Issue A001: Lack of Comprehensive Policy and Procedure Documentation

Issue A001 - Lack of Comprehensive Procedure Documentation

Ro V does not maintain any comprehensive policy and procedures documentation. COPs requested such documentation on a number of occasions but was not successful in obtaining any comprehensive documentation for election procedures.

Comprehensive policy and procedures documentation is the first step to achieving high quality standards, as required by quality management standards such as ISO-9004-2 (2000) "Quality Management and Quality System Elements - Part 2: Guidelines for Services" as used in private industry. The lack of written policies and procedures by the San Diego County Ro V is a significant deficiency that underscores that local and state government institutions lack any legitimate quality management system standards equivalent to those used by private industry. The lack of standards denies citizens the ability to review and understand election processes used and the ability to hold public officials accountable when those standards are not met.

The two most important requirements of such a quality management system are:
  1. documented policies and procedures and
  2. a methodology to continuously improve the quality of the products and services provided. (i.e. a method to modify the procedures)

There was inadequate or nonexistent documentation for (at least) the following procedures:

  • Issue A001: Question to Ro V
    The section Reference Documents lists all the policy and procedure documentation provided to use by the Ro V to date. Does the Ro V have any additional documentation of procedures used, including comprehensive policy and procedure documentation?

  • Issue A001: Legislative
    ISO-9004-2 describes a quality management system for services, and can be effectively applied to services provided by governmental institutions, and election processing department, such as the Registrar of Voters. The Legislature should consider specifying the use of ISO-9004-2 as a basis for improving the quality of service and/or ISO-9001 (quality management system for products) for use by election juridictions.

References:

  • Issue A002: Public Posting of Audit Trail -- The paper audit trail should be posted on the Internet on election night by elections officials so anyone can review it.

Issue A002 - Public Posting of Audit Trail

The paper audit trail should be posted on the Internet on election night by elections officials so anyone can review it. Currently, oversight groups must access physical documents themselves or pay to have them scanned. Documents such as: Ballot Statements, Audit Log, Chain of Custody Report (disposition of all seals), and the Reconciliation Report are essential and should exist and be provided on the Ro V website to allow the public to easily access it.

  • Issue A002: Proposal to Ro V
    Post all elements of the audit trail, such as Ballot Statements, Audit Log, Chain of Custody Report (disposition of all seals), and the Reconciliation Report, as soon as the information is available (not after the certification of the election), in electronic form, and preferably on your public web site. Scan and make available image files for all ballots for review by the public, as suggested by the Open Canvass proposal.

  • Issue A002: Legislative
    Transparent and verifiable elections are integral to our democracy. Documentation of all elements of the audit trail, such as Ballot Statements, Audit Log, Chain of Custody Report (disposition of all seals), and the Reconciliation Report should be available on the Ro V website for review by oversight groups. The Audit Log should be improved, as is mentioned in the section Audit Log Discrepancies, and posted in its entirety.

References:

  • Issue A003: Citizens' questions not being answered -- Elections Code section 2300, the Voter’s Bill of Rights, requires elections officials to answer question from voters. Elections officials do not answer questions in writing from oversight activities in a timely fashion.

Issue A003 - Citizens' questions not being answered

Citizens' questions not being answered -- Elections Code section 2300, the Voter’s Bill of Rights, requires elections officials to answer question from voters. Elections officials do not answer questions in writing from oversight activities in a timely fashion.

Elections officials often state "That's not a California Public Records Act Request" or "We don't have any document prepared that addresses that question, and therefore we won't answer it." These responses ignore section 2300 and do nothing to assist oversight groups in their activities. Such responses also ignore the Ro V’s own mission statementRo V mission statement says 'Conduct voter registration and voting processes with the highest level of professional election standards, accountability, security and integrity, thereby earning and maintaining public confidence in the electoral process.'">(1) professing a commitment to “earning and maintaining public confidence in the electoral process.”

  • Issue A003: Proposal to Ro V
    All questions without attempting to subvert oversight using irrelevant or inaccurate references to the CPRA, without ignoring Election Code section 2300 and without ignoring the Ro V's mission statement.

  • Issue A003: Legislative
    Elections Officials should be required to answer reasonable questions from oversight groups in a timely fashion, and not resort to "that is not a CPRA request."

References:

  • Issue A004: No Ballot Inventory Report -- No report is generated regarding whether any errors occurred during SPUW, including the count of ballots.

Issue A004 - No Ballot Inventory Report

No report is generated regarding whether any errors occurred during SPUW, including the count of ballots.

  • Issue A004: Proposal to Ro V
    Create and provide, in the normal course of business, a Ballot Inventory Report, regarding whether any errors occurred during SPUW.

  • Issue A004: Legislative
    Make creation of a "Ballot Inventory Report" mandatory, regarding whether any errors occurred during Supply Pickup Weekend, including the count of blank ballots and why any errors occurred, and how these errors can be rectified in the future.

References:

  • Issue A005: No Seal Serial Number on Ballot Statements
    Serial numbers of the tamper-evident seals are not included on Ballot Statements.

Issue A005 - No Seal Serial Number on Ballot Statements

Serial numbers of the tamper-evident seals are not included on Ballot Statements. Using tamper evident seals with serial numbers and documenting those serial numbers in companion documentation is a requirement for a legitimate seal management strategy.

  • Issue A005: Proposal to Ro V
    Include seal serial numbers on ballot statements and add a procedure to note the serial numbers of all seals used on ballot cartons and elsewhere.

  • Issue A005: Legislative
    Recording of serial number of any tamper evident seals must be made mandatory. For San Diego, seal serial numbers should be recorded on ballot statements. Also, included in the comprehensive procedure documentation must be a procedure to note the serial numbers of all seals used on ballot cartons and anywhere else, and a procedure to investigate seals that show tampering.

References:

  • Issue A006: Ballot Statements - Few balanced
    Only a few of the Ballot Statements had figures that balanced, and only one precinct had all the ballots correctly scanned. See Unscanned Ballots for a full analysis of this problem.

Issue A006 - Ballot Statements - Few balanced

Only a few of the Ballot Statements had figures that balanced, and only one precinct had all the ballots correctly scanned. See Unscanned Ballots for a full analysis of this problem.

According to federal election guidelines, disenfranchisement of even one voter, or more than one lost ballot in 808,407 ballots cast due to equipment failure is not allowed. Tracking this problem starts with the sign-in rosters and Ballot Statements completed at the polling place.

Polling workers are volunteers and are not specifically suspect of malfeasance, but improved training and simplified reconciliation procedures should be established to minimize the discrepancies in the count of ballots.

  • Issue A006: Proposal to Ro V

    Suggestions to Improve Ballot Statement Reliability
    • Avoid multiple-precinct polling locations or separate them more distinctly so it will be very unlikely that a voter would turn in ballots to the wrong precinct ballot box.
      • Simple ballot scanners that detect the precinct and will cause an alert if a voter attempts to deposit a ballot into the wrong ballot box could be used.
      • Scanners could also provide a machine count of the ballots.
    • Provide a worksheet to reconcile smaller aspects. Current reconciliation attempts to reconcile the total number of signatures with the total number of voted ballots.
      • Separately reconcile provisional ballots and provisional sign-in sheets.
      • Separate provisional ballots into two groups:
        • VBM voters who did not surrender their VBM ballots who are listed with that precinct
        • Other voters who are voting in the "wrong" precinct.
      • Subtract provisional and touchscreen voters from total signatures to determine total paper ballot signatures and reconcile that with the number of actual ballots.
    • Maintain sign-in rosters for ALL VBM ballots returned to each polling place.
      • Currently, separate sign-in rosters are not maintained for VBM voters who do not wish to vote in person.
      • Sign-in rosters will allow tracking the VBM ballots and provide a way to determine where in the system they are lost, if indeed they are.
    • Provide sign-in locations for VBM voters who are listed as members of the precinct and designate if mail ballot was surrendered or not. Those who do not surrender their mail ballot should also sign the provisional roster and obtain a provisional ballot. With this designation, duplicate signatures can be easily located.
      • Avoid the current practice of "signing over" the "MAIL BALLOT RECEIVED" designation in the signature box.
    • Avoid the practice of putting a line through the signature box, which some precincts did apparently to help count them.
    • Include a checkbox that can be marked by Precinct workers to designate that the scribble represents the voter's signature. Some signatures are so bad, they are hard to discriminate from random markings.
    • The Ro V should produce a report summarizing the count of signatures, the actual number of ballots returned, and an overall percentage of error. This report should be mandated by the So S. The Registrar should encourage precincts to do better (The registrar is required to compel the accounting per Election Code 14405: "(a) The members of the precinct board shall account for the ballots delivered to them by returning a sufficient number of unused ballots to make up, when added to the number of official ballots cast and the number of spoiled and canceled ballots returned, the number of ballots given to them. The officers receiving returned ballots shall compel this accounting.") Precincts that produce accurate reports that account for all signatures should be acknowledged with certificates of merit or other prizes. Similarly, those precincts that do not do well will need additional training or staffing changes so the failure does not repeat in the next election.

References:

The following text has been deprecated and will not appear as part of Issue A006:
  • One suggestion to limit the error is to reduce the number of polling places. The size of precincts (111 to 674 ballots in our 5% sample) is about 5% to 33% of the suggested "typical" precinct size of 2000 ballots, as suggested by the Election Assistance Commission Voluntary Voting System Guidelines of the Election Assistance Commission, section 6.3.1.2: ...A typical polling place will be set up to handle 2000 voters, which equals 60 polling places in a mid-sized county.">(2). Thus, polling places should handle 4 precincts and reduce the number of polling places to 400 instead of 1650. This would reduce the number of polling place workers needing training and allow more well-trained workers to be allocated to the same polling places. The number and size of precincts can remain the same, with the vote split out as it is today using scanners that will read the precinct from the ballot. This would also eliminate the current error mode of placing the ballot in the wrong ballot box as well. Please note that the number of polling places may be less than the number of precincts used for voter behavior analysis.

  • Issue A007: Ballot Statements - Removed Write-ins Not Documented
    Ballot Statements did not include a count of the number of write-ins and damaged ballots removed.

Issue A007 - Ballot Statements - Removed Write-ins Not Documented

BallotStatements did not include a count of the number of write-ins and damaged ballots removed. Precinct workers are requested to look through the ballots and remove all write-ins and damaged ballots and place these into a separate group, which is to be banded. The incoming inspection activity has two check-offs that relate to this: 1) write-ins removed and 2) write-ins banded. However, no one counts these so we know how many have been removed. This should be recorded on the BallotStatements. In addition, these ballots (nearly 9,000 ballots) are withheld and not processed for an extended period of time. During this time, the "precincts reporting" figure should not claim that the precinct has been fully reported.

  • Issue A007: Proposal to Ro V
    Document the number of write-ins and damaged ballots and their disposition for all precincts in future elections. The Ballot Statement may be a good place to record the number. Until these ballots are included in the count, the "precinct reporting" figure should not be 100% (See Issue A013: Tally Center Reception Count Misleading.)

  • Issue A007: Legislative
    Law should mandate that elections officials document the number of write-ins and damaged ballots and their disposition for all precincts in future elections. In addition, the "Precincts Reporting" figure released to the media, should not include any precincts that have not been fully counted, including the write-in ballots. (See Issue A013: Tally Center Reception Count Misleading.)

References:

  • Issue A008: Ballot Statements - Office Use Section Not Explained -- Ballot Statements have an "Office Use Only" section does not include an explanation to allow the public to understand how it is being used.

Issue A008 - Ballot Statements - Office Use Section Not Explained

BallotStatements have an "Office Use Only" section does not include an explanation to allow the public to understand how it is being used.

The processing of our elections should be observable and subject to citizens' documentation in an open process with no secrets. The "Office Use" section could be easily explained on the Ballot Statement form. The Ro V should explain the use of this section and make that explanation available for anyone to read.

  • Issue A008: Proposal to Ro V
    Explain the office use section on Ballot Statements and add this explanation to procedure documentation available to the public. The addition of titles to each field in the office use section is a first step to eliminating the mystery of this section of the form.

  • Issue A008 Legislative
    Our election officials should run an open process that is available for the public to inspect. Secret "office use only" sections must be avoided in forms and if they are used, how the section is used by elections officials must be explained. This issue can be rectified if the elections officials maintains comprehensive procedure documentation (See Issue A001)

References:

  • Issue A009: Ballot Statements Not Scannable
    Ballot Statements must be scannable in their entirety, including signatures of precinct workers who sign them.

Issue A009 - Ballot Statements Not Scannable

The Ro V claims that it is illegal to scan the Ballot Statements in their entirety because the signatures of volunteers and staff members who complete the Ballot Statements would be publicized. Citizens reject this claim and want these documents scanned in their entirety and placed on a public website. These are public documents and it is a violation of the CPRA not to produce them in their entirety for public review.

  • Issue A009: Proposal to Ro V
    Change procedure when this issue is settled and described by the Elections Code.

  • Issue A009: Legislative
    This issue needs to be settled by statute since the Ro V now claims that signatures of elections workers that authenticate the document are private and cannot be disclosed. Citizens want this issue settled by improving the Elections Code to explicitly state that the Ballot Statements (and all similar documents) will be scanned and accessible to the public.

References:

  • Issue A010: VBM Ballots Not Logged at Precinct
    VBM Ballots were not logged, counted, or reported by the precinct.

Issue A010 - VBM Ballots Not Logged at Precinct

VBM Ballots were not logged, counted, or reported by the precinct. It is not necessary to sign anything to drop off your VBM ballot at the precinct or Ro V office, and this is a deficiency.

  • Issue A010: Proposal to Ro V
    VBM ballots should be counted and logged when dropped off at the Ro V office or at precinct locations and placed in sealed containers. The ballot statement should include the count of VBM ballots being returned, and this count should be checked at the Tally Center when they are received.

  • Issue A010: Legislative
    Improve elections code to mandate logging of VBM Ballots dropped off at precinct locations, and require that they are counted, logged, and reported, and placed in sealed containers to avoid tampering.

References:

  • Issue A011: Spoiled Ballots Loosely Controlled
    Spoiled Ballots, both VBM and election day are not under strict control.

Issue A011 - Spoiled Ballots Loosely Controlled

Spoiled Ballots, both VBM and election day are not under strict control. I.e. it would be a simple matter to checkmark a VBM envelope to indicate that the ballot was spoiled and eliminate it from consideration, and to covertly redo a vote and show a spoiled ballot at the polling place. To "spoil" a ballot, it should require the signature of the voter. Anyone could checkmark a VBM ballot as spoiled, and easily disenfranchise a voter. All spoiled ballots should be tracked to confirm that an unspoiled ballot is completed by the voter.

  • Issue A011: Proposal to Ro V
    Modify procedure to tightly control spoiled ballots.

  • Issue A011: Legislative
    Mandate that elections officials maintain records of spoiled ballots to allow confirmation that a non-spoiled ballot was eventually turned in, and to avoid the possibility of disenfranchisement by a compromised elections official who could simply checkmark "spoiled" on target ballots.

References:

  • Issue A012: Collection Center Seal Logs Lack Serial Numbers - Authorized personnel at Collection Centers are required to inspect the tamper-evident seals, but there is no place on the log sheet to document the seal numbers nor to note whether the seals were intact.

Issue A012 - Collection Center Seal Logs Lack Serial Numbers

Authorized personnel at Collection Centers are required to inspect the tamper-evident seals, but there is no place on the log sheet to document the seal numbers nor to note whether the seals were intact. Collection Center Logs documented only 6 tampered seals while 99 tampered seals were later detected at the Tally Center. Documenting serial numbers of seals is a requirement for a legitimate seal management strategy.

  • Issue A012: Proposal to Ro V
    Improve the chain of custody of the ballots. Collection Center personnel must be required to inspect all ballot boxes received from the precincts. Security seals must be confirmed to be properly affixed and without evidence of tampering before precinct workers are relieved of their duties. Each inspection must be reported in writing to indicate the precinct and seal number for each box, the names of persons delivering the ballots, that the inspection was performed, that the box and seal is intact and without evidence of tampering. No precinct worker may be relieved of his or her duties until the collection center personnel are satisfied that the box is properly sealed and the report in writing is completed. Automated bar-code scanners can expedite the collection of seal serial numbers.

  • Issue A012: Legislative
    Mandate that chain of custody reports at collection centers include status and serial numbers of all security seals (and the process described above).

References:

  • Issue A013: Tally Center Reception Count Misleading

Issue A013 - Tally Center Reception Count Misleading

The count of precincts that have been received by the Tally Center on election night is frequently cited by news media as the number of "Precincts Reporting." However, the ballots may not be even counted yet, and there are a vast number of VBM, provisionals, write-ins, etc. that have not been processed either. Therefore, this number should not be made public. Instead, the figure should be the total number of ballots scanned and accumulated in the central tabulator divided by the total number of ballots received both on election night and as VBM ballots. Also see (See Issue A007: "Ballot Statements - Removed Write-ins Not Documented" regarding the removed write-in and damaged ballots that are not included in the count until much later.

  • Issue A013: Proposal to Ro V
    Discontinue using the "Precincts Reporting" figure and clearly state the significance of the number reported. The figure cited should be the total number of scanned and tabulated ballots divided by the total number of ballots received, both those received on election night and those received as VBM ballots. The Ro V should disclose that the "precincts reporting" figure is no longer used because it is not an accurate representation of the completion status of the election.

  • Issue A013: Legislative
    Mandate that the Ro V should discontinue using the "Precincts Reporting" figure and instead cite a completion figure based on the total number of scanned and tabulated ballots divided by the total number of ballots received, both those received on election night and those received as VBM ballots.

References:

  • Issue A014: Tally Center - Write-Ins Removed and Not Counted - Write-in ballots are removed permanently prior to scanning.

Issue A014 - Tally Center - Write-Ins Removed and Not Counted

At the Tally Center, write-in ballots are apparently removed permanently prior to scanning rather than scanned first and processed later or quickly processing and uniting them with the rest of the precinct. It makes reconciling the number of ballots problematic because there is no notation as to how many "write-ins" are removed nor what is done with them. Approximately 9,000 ballots appear to be removed at this point. The scanners do tally the number of write-ins and there are many write-ins that were noted on the scanner tapes. We consider this an open issue as we do not have adequate information to understand exactly what happened, and the number of ballots -- 9,000 -- is certainly significant. We are not sure how the write-in ballots, received on election day, are processed. Only 146 ballots were removed and documented as "damaged" and the balance of nearly 9,000 ballots removed at this point are not documented.

Ballots should not be taken from the boxes prior to scanning. Currently, many counts do not match (9,000+ ballots missing), but are magically corrected later. See [[#IssueA026}[Issue A026 - No Reconciliation Procedure]] for details on how this should be reconciled.

  • Issue A014: Question to Ro V
    Why are write-in ballots removed prior to scanning rather than scanning first and processing later or quickly processing them and uniting them with the rest of the precinct. Is there any logging of the count of ballots removed in this manner for each precinct and the disposition of each one?

  • Issue A014: Legislative
    Mandate that elections officials maintain a correct count of all ballots from each precinct and maintain these ballots as a group, without removing write-ins prior to scanning. Any ballots removed for inspection by elections officials should be logged. The precinct should be considered fully counted until these ballots are included in the count. The PEMT should included these ballots in the tally (They are not included now). The scanners in use by the Ro V can detect and report if a ballot has a write-in for a race, so there is no need to separate these in advance.

References:

  • Issue A015: Tally Center - Damaged Ballots
    On the Tally Center Logs, there is a checkbox for "Damaged Removed." However, we don't know why any ballot would become damaged and not be treated as "spoiled."

Issue A015 - Tally Center - Damaged Ballots

On the Tally Center Log sheet, there is a checkbox for "Damaged Removed." However, we don't know why any ballot would become damaged and not be treated as "spoiled." A spoiled ballot, by definition, is one that is filled out incorrectly or damaged and a new ballot is issued to the voter. Why would there be any ballots that are "damaged" and a new ballot not issued to the voter? However, 146 ballots were separated as "damaged" instead of "spoiled" in the November, 2008, election. (But another 9,000 ballots were removed as well.)

  • Issue A015: Question to Ro V
    146 ballots were separated as "damaged" instead of "spoiled" in the November 2008 election. When are ballots considered damaged and not spoiled? Why were another nearly 9,000 ballots removed that were not accounted for as "damaged" in the Tally Center Log Sheet?

  • Issue A015: Legislative
    Law should mandate that ballots for a given precinct should be counted and included in the canvass without separating out write-ins and damaged ballots, and if they are separated, this should be clearly documented. All ballots for the precinct should be included in the PEMT.

References:

  • Issue A016: Tally Center - 99 Seals broken or wrong
    In the November 2008 election, Tally Center Logs documented 99 precincts that had wrong or broken seals, a 6% rate, and there was no investigation.

Issue A016 - Tally Center - 99 Seals broken or wrong

In the November 2008 election, Tally Center Logs document 99 precincts that had wrong or broken seals, a 6% rate, and there was no investigation. There were no exception documents provided for our review describing why the seals were incorrect or broken. Seal documents do not include a serial number. Only a cursory inspection was performed by elections officials, and there was no attempt to validate the count of ballots as reported by the precinct. Why was it the case that 99 seals were detected as wrong or broken at the Tally Center while only six were detected by the Collection Centers? Documenting serial numbers of seals is a requirement for a legitimate seal management strategy.

  • Issue A016: Question to Ro V
    Why was it the case that 99 seals were detected as wrong or broken at the Tally Center while only six were detected by the Collection Centers?

  • Issue A016: Legislative
    Election law must explicitly lay out the requirements for implementing a legitimate strategy and mandate compliance. It is not enough to use security seals. Implementing a legitimate security strategy requires that the security seals each have a serial number and that these are recorded at each step of the process. In San Diego, 6% of the seals were noted as tampered or wrong, but there was no investigation or report, and there was no tracking of serial numbers. If serial numbers are not tracked, there is no way to detect if a security seal is replaced with another seal after tampering.

References:

  • Issue A017: Scanner cards not Archived
    Memory cards used to capture the vote from each scanner are not maintained as a permanent record of the election.

Issue A017 - Scanner cards not Archived

Memory cards used to capture the vote from each scanner are not maintained as a permanent record of the election. It is too difficult to access data to reconstruct the election. At present, the only option for oversight groups is to scan the report tapes produced by the ballot scanners, and these do not include any VBM or provisional ballots. If the memory cards were archived, then oversight groups would be able to reconstruct the election results based on those cards without needing to resort to scanning the scanner reports. Such oversight is a check of election manipulation within the GEMS central tabulator. Note: It is preferable and less expensive for elections officials for oversight groups have access to a complete audit log. (i.e. including all information downloaded from the scanners, not just the count of ballots) and including the VBM and Provisional ballots scanned. (See Issue A018: Audit Log Insufficient and Issue A029: Audit Devices Should be Allowed)

  • Issue A017: Question to Ro V
    If a complete audit log is not available (Issue A018), and if no audit devices are allowed to collect all information transferred to the central tabulator (Issue A029: Audit Devices Should be Allowed), the Ro V should archive the scanner memory cards so these can be accessed by oversight groups to easily reconstruct the results of the election for a sample without needing to scan the report tapes from the scanners, and use memory cards for all scanning operations.

  • Issue A017: Legislative
    If the complete audit log is not available (Issue A018), and if no audit devices are allowed to collect all information transferred to the central tabulator, elections officials should be required to archive the scanner memory cards as a record of the election so these can be accessed by oversight groups to easily reconstruct the results of the election for a sample without needing to scan the report tapes from the scanners.

References:

  • Issue A018: Audit Log Insufficient
    The audit record available from the GEMS Central Tabulator does not provide sufficient detail to reconstruct the election.

Issue A018 - Audit Log Insufficient

The Audit Log available from the GEMS Central Tabulator does not provide sufficient detail to reconstruct the election. The audit log should be improved to provide an exhaustive list of vote counts for every race and every precinct. This would result in a much larger file, but file size should not be cited as a factor limiting the provision of this information. COPs asked for documentation regarding the availability of additional reporting options, but the Ro V said they did not have any documentation.

The following concerns exist:
  1. The entire election must be included in the audit log. The log we were given did not include initial clearing and pre-election voting intervals.
  2. The initial clearing command(s) must appear in the log if we are to know that the system was correctly initialized.
  3. The Ro V should have complete documentation for the audit log and for the GEMS central tabulator.
  4. Every crash and error should be investigated and explained.
  5. More robust entries are desired to allow an independent reconstruction of the election from the audit log.
  6. The log file should have a sequential number on each of the lines to eliminate the possibility that the audit log could be altered by election workers. In the log provided to COPs, we noticed anomalies that indicate that the log may have been tampered with, specifically the intervals when the log had STOP or START entries without the other associated entry adjacent to it.
  7. The Ro V was apparently in violation of the requirements that they remake all touchscreen ballots into durable paper ballots, since on several occasions, votes were transferred directly from DRE equipment.
  8. Oversight groups should have access to the audit log as the election is processed, and not be required to wait for final election certification. Nothing in the audit log can change once it is produced, and therefore, it is a public document that should be disclosed immediately, and not withheld until the election is certified, even though the log will become more extensive as the election is processed.
Providing a complete audit log is the easiest, least expensive way to document the election while providing sufficient detail for oversight groups.

  • Issue A018: Question to Ro V
    We asked for information about the availablity of other, more robust settings, for the GEMS central tabulator with regard to creation of the Audit Log. These questions were not answered and we were referred to Premier Election Solutions, however, our request for a contact at Premier was not ever answered. Please provide a contact at Premier to determine if additional settings in the central tabulator exist that will allow an Audit Log that includes the aspects we require for our audit.

  • Issue A018: Legislative
    Election law should be modified to mandate the creation of an exhaustive audit log file. The audit log should include not only the number of ballots included in the tabulation, but also the count of votes for each precinct and for each batch of VBM and provisional balltos. In addition, a procedure must exist for the review of the log and to address every discrepancy.

References:

  • Issue A019: No Comparison of Ballot Count
    There is no comparison of the number of ballots scanned, as reported on the report tape, with the number of ballots counted at the precinct nor by the count as read by the central tabulator.

Issue A019 - No Comparison of Ballot Count

There is no comparison of the number of ballots scanned, as reported on the report tape, with the number of ballots counted at the precinct nor by the count as read by the central tabulator. Comparing the count of ballots as counted by polling place workers with the number scanned can eliminate the problems documented by the PEMT - One Percent Manual Tally, i.e. missing ballots. Only 4 of 85 precincts in our 5% sample scanned the number of ballots (Ballots Cast) that were counted by precinct workers. Comparing the count may have eliminated this problem (although this problem is more likely due to the removal of write-ins.)

Workers do not routinely compare the count of ballots, in terms of the actual count and the count reported on scanner report with the count of ballots input to the GEMS central tabulator. Our project reviewed the count of ballots printed on scanner tapes with the audit report in our 5% sample and found no discrepancy. However, there have been recently reports of problems in Ohio using the same equipment. Ohio Voting Machines Contained Programming Error That Dropped Votes (Washington Post)(3) This article said: A voting system used in 34 states contains a critical programming error that can cause votes to be dropped while being electronically transferred from memory cards to a central tallying point, the manufacturer acknowledges. The problem was identified after complaints from Ohio elections officials following the March primary there, but the logic error that is the root of the problem has been part of the software for 10 years, said Chris Riggall, a spokesman for Premier Election Solutions, formerly known as Diebold.

  • Issue A019: Question to Ro V
    In future elections, we request that the Ro V maintain an accurate ballot count (i.e do not remove write-ins and damaged ballots without noting the count of ballots removed) and compare that with the count of ballots actually scanned. This should eliminate the 29% failure rate as detected by the PEMT.

  • Issue A019: Legislative
    Election law should mandate that election processing procedures include a step that compares the count of ballots as counted manually and the count of ballots scanned for that precinct by electronic scanning equipment as soon as the scan is complete. This should eliminate the 29% failure rate as detected by the PEMT.

References:

  • Issue A020: No Log of changes to the Election Management System
    The Election Management Systems is updated when a VBM ballot is received. However, there is no audit log of each transaction.

Issue A020 - No Log of changes to the Election Management System

The Election Management Systems is updated when a VBM ballot is received. However, there is no audit log of each transaction. A transaction log of VBM and provisional ballots must be made available for inspection. At this time, we are not aware of such a log. The Voter Data File is modified directly with no audit trail that can be inspected. If we had such an audit log, we could reconstruct the number of ballots actually received and compare that with the number of ballots scanned and entered into the central tabulator. At present, due to this lack of paper trail, such oversight is impossible.

  • Issue A020: Question to Ro V
    Confirm that no audit log exists that documents each change to the Election Management System when each VBM ballot is received for the November 2008 election. Provide such a log in future elections.

  • Issue A020: Legislative
    The Audit Log should include entries for each VBM ballot as it is received so that it is possible to determine if all ballots have been scanned. This is equivalent to the Ballot Statement for precinct ballots, but for VBM ballots. A robust audit log (Issue A018) should include this aspect.

References:

  • Issue A021: VBM Ballots are not counted
    VBM Ballots are not counted after being removed from the envelope and before submitting for scanning, and there is no attempt to confirm the count of ballots as they are scanned.

Issue A021 - VBM Ballots are not counted

(Issue A021, Issue A022, and Issue A030 all treated under here because of their similarity and overlap.
VBM Ballots are not counted after being removed from the envelope and before submitting for scanning, and there is no attempt to confirm the count of ballots as they are scanned.

We recommend the following procedure:
  • When VBM and Provisionals are initially processed, the Voter Data Record is updated.
  • Envelopes are sorted by precinct.
  • Process ballots in batches. Maintain a count of ballots processed at each step.
  • Maintain a chain of custody document that travels with each batch (a "traveler") that documents the number of ballots in the batch.
  • The operator of the scanner should first zero the count of ballots scanned, and then proceed to scan the batch.
  • The operator proceeds to scan the batch, and produce a report tape.
  • If the count scanned (scanner report) does not match the number of ballots in the batch (on the traveler), the discrepancy should be documented and the batch recounted and/or rescanned until the discrepancy is resolved.
  • When the ballot counts match, the batch is approved by the operator, and the totals sent to the central tabulator for accumulation.
  • The audit log should document the exact number of ballots processed in the batch and the total votes in each race processed.
  • The scanner report tape, and memory card, if applicable, should be archived for inspection by oversight activities.

  • Issue A021: Question to Ro V
    To maintain positive control of VBM ballots, it would be preferable to determine the total count of ballots to be scanned based on the number originally submitted, and then check the total number scanned as reported by the scanner. This should reduce the number of rescans necessary during the canvass period, should reduce errors, and should result in lower overall cost to process the VBM ballots. See the procedure above.

  • Issue A021: Legislative
    Elections officials should be required to document control of the chain of custody as ballots are transported and counted, meaning that the count of ballots in batch boxes are documented in associated "traveler" documents. This allows workers and citizen oversight groups to verify that the number of ballots scanned exactly matches the count submitted, as well as allowing rapid correction of errors. See the procedure above.

References:

  • Issue A022: VBM Ballots not precounted during scanning
    We were told that the scanner operator pre-counts the ballots as they run them, but this did not occur.

Issue A022 - VBM Ballots not precounted during scanning

We were told that the scanner operator pre-counts the ballots as they run them, but this did not occur. See Issue A021: "VBM Ballots are not counted."

References:

  • Issue A023: Documents Automatically Processable
    Documents that are considered public, such as Ballot Statements, Street Indexes, and others should be automatically processable to minimize oversight costs.

Issue A023 - Documents Automatically Processable

Documents that are considered public, such as Ballot Statements, Street Indexes, and others should be automatically processable to minimize oversight costs. These documents should not have additional tabs, "sticky notes", or writing on the back added to them by poll workers and they should be of a size appropriate for automatic scanning equipment. For example, tabs effectively limit the ability for automatic document feeding equipment to operate on the documents and thus increase the cost for an outside organization to gather this information.

  • Issue A023: Question to Ro V
    Public documents, such as Ballot Statements, Street Indexes, and others, should not have additional tabs, "sticky notes", or writing on the back added to them by poll workers and they should be of a size appropriate for automatic scanning equipment. Instead, workers can use separation sheets with tabs to expedite flipping to the correct page. Notes pages should be provided and precinct workers trained to add any notes on the front of those pages, and not using tabs or sticky notes.

  • Issue A023: Legislative
    To make oversight of elections processes economically feasible, all public documents should be of appropriate sizes for automatic scanning, and there should be no tabs or other additions to those documents that will make manual scanning necessary.

References:

  • Issue A024: Scanner Tapes Not Accessible
    Scanner report tapes are no longer available early in the canvass.

Issue A024 - Scanner Tapes Not Accessible

Scanner report tapes are no longer available early in the canvass. According to state election code, a second copy of the scanner report was required to be printed when these scanners were used in each precinct, with that report being displayed outside the precinct door for anyone to inspect. However, the printing of the second report is no longer a practice when they are used in the Tally Center. This means we have to wait until the election is certified before we can start to review the election, which is an artificial restriction. The Ro V did make the original reports available for inspection, and we scanned the reports from 5% of the precincts in our review.

  • Issue A024: Question to Ro V
    Please make the tapes accessible early in the election, as a last resort for our oversight review. See Audit Trail for a complete review of this issue.

  • Issue A024: Legislative
    To aid oversight groups to track election processing, the following should be corrected:
    • Scanner Reports Available as soon as they are produced.
    • Scanner Reports Easily processable (i.e. not register tape).
    • Scanner Reports provided in electronic form.
    • OR: Improved Audit Log (detailing the exact vote of each precinct, the same as the scanner reports) in electronic format which is available immediately as the canvass is processed. See Audit Trail for a complete review of this issue.

References:

  • Issue A025: Scanner Tapes Difficult to Process
    The audit trail provided by the current Ro V procedures include cash-register style paper tape which is difficult to process and sometimes impossible to read.

Issue A025 - Scanner Tapes Difficult to Process

The audit trail provided by the current Ro V procedures include cash-register style paper tape which is difficult to process and sometimes impossible to read. Transparency of our Ro V procedures demands an audit trail that is much easier to process. Scanner reports should be produced on paper that is easily processable (such as cut-sheet letter paper) and with higher resolution printers that do not suffer from feed errors or light printing. These reports then can be easily scanned by oversight teams. (This suggestion is not essential if the audit log is improved or audit devices installed.) See Audit Trail and also Issue A023: Documents Automatically Processable, Issue A024: Scanner Tapes Not Accessible, Issue A018: Audit Log Insufficient, and Issue A029: Audit Devices Should be Allowed.

References:

  • Issue A026: No Reconciliation Procedure
    Although the Ro V goes through a lengthy process of reconciliation which has been referenced in many conversations with them, this process is not documented in any procedure document.

Issue A026 - No Reconciliation Procedure

Although the Ro V goes through a lengthy process of reconciliation which has been referenced in many conversations with them, this process is not documented in any procedure document. There are many re-scans of precincts all the way to the very last day of the canvass period, but as mentioned, no notes as to why these re-scanning operations are being performed. With no written procedure, no notes kept, and no final report, the electorate cannot verify that the canvass is in fact completed from a technical standpoint and has produced a reliable result.

Our review of the AuditLog revealed 133 times that the Registrar re-scanned precincts prior to the certification of the election (See "Audit Log Discrepancies" for our detailed discussion of this issue), but there is no written procedure supporting the decision process for performing such rescans, nor any way to document that all required rescans have been performed.

Furthermore, we see evidence that many ballots (about 9,000) are removed from the process and handled in another undocumented process and there is no tracking or reconciliation of those ballots (Issue A014 - "Tally Center - Write-Ins Removed and Not Counted".)

“Reconciliation” is the act of making two or more apparently conflicting things compatible or consistent with each other. The first step of reconciliation simply deals with the count of ballots, to insure that none are missed.

The following figures should all match (or an explanation regarding how they are reconciled should be provided):
  • The number of nonprovisional and nontouch-screen signatures on the Sign-In Rosters.
  • The count of physical ballots in the ballot box at the end of election night.
  • The number "cards cast", as reported on scanner tapes.
  • The number "# CARDS", as reported by the audit log for that precinct.
  • The number "Ballots cast, Polling", as reported in the final canvass report.

The next step would be to check that the actual vote is correct. The Post-Election Manual Tally is an attempt to check this, but as mentioned in our review of that procedure (See "Manual Tally Procedure") 29% of the precincts show issues, and there is a claim that the reconciliation process will deal with those errors.

In order to resolve conflicts in election results, a “correct” result must be known. Correct results require an audit. No audit is possible because in order to audit an election, the auditor must be able to trace each vote to the voter who cast it. Because ballots are cast anonymously, no such trace is possible. Without knowing what the correct result is, the only reconciliation that is possible is one that resolves inconsistencies in a way that simply eliminates them. Elections officials have proven over and over again that they will always resolve inconsistencies in favor of eliminating questions about the integrity of the results regardless of whether the inconsistencies are actually evidence of fraud.

Even if officials intended to use a reconciliation process to uncover fraud, such a process does not reveal fraud in a timely manner. But, the time any evidence of fraud has been investigated, the media have anointed the winners. Experience has shown that reversing the outcome of an election after the “winner” is anointed is, for all practical purposes, impossible.

Therefore, a robust reconciliation procedure and the related reconciliation report Issue A028 - "No Reconciliation Report" to reduce doubts of the public, reduce the possibility of fraud, and provide a truly reliable certified election.

  • Issue A026: Question to Ro V
    Please provide the procedure documentation for the "reconciliation procedure" which is used to determine if the election is complete and no additional rescans need to be performed.

  • Issue A026: Legislative
    The Ro V uses a "reconciliation procedure" that is undocumented. This "seat of the pants" approach must be discontinued and a fully disclosed and documented procedure introduced with extensive notes taken along the way. Every rescan should be done for a reason, and the reason should be reviewed for possible improvement of the procedure. Without a written procedure and without any exception documents, it is impossible to feel confident that the canvass is complete, it is impossible to know if the procedure needs to be improved, and there is no path of action to improve the procedure.

References:

  • Issue A027: No Operator Notes
    A log of all operator activities should be maintained.

Issue A027 - No Operator Notes

A log of all operator activities should be maintained that explains the rationale for re-scans, etc. At present, no operator log is maintained while 133 re-runs occurred with no explanation.

References:

  • Issue A028: No Reconciliation Report
    A reconciliation report should be provided that includes an explanation for any irregularities and provides a means to document that the canvass is complete.

Issue A028 - No Reconciliation Report

A reconciliation report should be provided that includes an explanation for any irregularities and provides a means to document that the canvass is complete. This report should show the number of sign-in signatures, the number of ballots scanned and tallied, the number of provisional ballots accepted and rejected, the number of VBM ballots received at the precinct and the number processed, etc. such that the figures shown above all balance. This report has been mentioned by the Ro V but it apparently does not exist. See also Issue A026: No Reconciliation Procedure.

  • Issue A028: Question to Ro V
    Please explain the crashes and program errors encountered by the central tabulator in the November 2008 election with possible assistance by the vendor (Premier Election Solutions in this case).

  • Issue A028: Legislative
    It should be statutory that crashes and program errors reported in the audit log are described and resolved in the final canvass report without the need for oversight groups to make requests to have these explained. The reconciliation report is a logical place for these explanations.

References:

  • Issue A029: Audit Devices Should be Allowed
    If no improvement to the audit log is possible, then audit devices should be placed on the serial interface cables that supply data to the central tabulator to allow a log of all communication from all scanner and DRE equipment to the central tabulator.

Issue A029 - Audit Devices Should be Allowed

If no improvement to the audit log is possible, then audit devices should be placed on the serial interface cables that supply data to the central tabulator to allow a log of all communication from all scanner and DRE equipment to the central tabulator. Data from those audit devices would allow an oversight activity to reconstruct the election and guard against tabulator-based election manipulation by unauthorized elections workers, and can eliminate the need to scan scanner report tapes and other difficult to process documents.

  • Issue A029: Proposal to Ro V
    The use of audit devices on the serial interface cables is the easiest way that you can provide for complete oversight while not changing current operations. It is preferable to improve the Audit Log, because that does not require any audit devices. Short of that, placing audit devices on serial interface cables will allow oversight groups to capture all communication on the line in both directions and save it into a memory device.

  • Issue A029: Legislative
    If an exhausting audit log is not possible to create, then it should be possible to install audit devices on the serial interface cables on all scanner and other vote counting equipment to allow exhaustive inspection of the vote-count data being sent to the central tabulator. Such audit devices can significantly improve the reliability of the canvass and guard against manipulation of the vote count by compromised elections workers working using the central tabulation equipment or due to programming or innocent ballot handling errors.

References:

  • Issue A030: No Paper Trail for VBM and Provisionals
    Unlike ballots processed on election night, no scanner reports are produced and ballots are read directly into the central tabulator.

Issue A030 - No Paper Trail for VBM and Provisionals

Unlike ballots processed on election night, no scanner reports are produced and ballots are read directly into the central tabulator. VBM ballots and provisionals should be scanned by scanners that produce a report, so these can be accessed later. (May be avoided if the audit log is improved and available.)

This has been combined with Issue A021: VBM Ballots are not counted.

References:

  • Issue A031: No Seal Tampering Report
    At present there is no report explaining tampered seals.

Issue A031 - No Seal Tampering Report

A seal report should be generated that explains all tampered seals. At present 99 seals show tampering but there is no report documenting an explanation if any from those responsible for chain of custody, what action was taken to investigate the irregularities and eliminate the tampering. It is negligent to simply report the number of seals that were broken or incorrect and take no action. The report should also explain why the tampering occurred and how it can be eliminated in the future. Evidence that 99 seals showed tampering is stunning considering particularly in light of the lack of follow-up or explanation. Also, since no serial numbers are recorded, the number of tampered seals may be much larger.

  • Issue A031: Proposal to Ro V
    Please produce a seal tampering report for the November 2008 election which explains all tampering evidence.

  • Issue A031: Legislative
    Elections officials should be required to prepare a seal tampering report to include at least the following:
    • Enumeration of each seal broken, incorrect, or missing.
    • Explanation regarding why each seal was tampered.
    • Changes to procedure proposed to reduce false positive detections of tampering.
    • Notices of termination of workers responsible for tampering.

References:

  • Issue A032: Archival Procedures Lacking
    There are no check-in and check-out procedures in the secure archive area and only documentation describing where the materials are in the storage facility.

Issue A032 - Archival Procedures Lacking

There are no check-in and check-out procedures in the secure archive area and only documentation describing where the materials are in the storage facility. There is no way to know who accessed the records to determine if any may have been modified. There are no seal serial numbers maintained on the documentation.

See also Issue A001:"Lack of Comprehensive Procedure Documentation".

  • Issue A032: Question to Ro V
    Please establish rigorous check-in and check-out procedures for material in secure areas. There is no way to know who accessed the records to determine if any have been modified.

  • Issue A032: Legislative
    Law should be improved to establish basic requirements for secure archival operation, to include at least:
    • Check-in and Check out procedures to document who has accessed the materials.
    • Serial numbers of any security seals used in the operation of the secure archive.
    • Closed-circuit TV recording, video archival, and review procedures.

References:

  • Issue A033: PEMT Performed Prematurely
    The PEMT is performed too early after election night and does not include a complete set of ballots for the precincts under inspection.

Issue A033 - PEMT Performed Prematurely

The PEMT is performed too early after election night and does not include a complete set of ballots for the precincts under inspection. The PEMT should be performed after all write-ins, VBM and provisional ballots have been processed. The write-ins that were removed on election night certainly should be completed before starting.

  • Issue A033: Question to Ro V
    In upcoming elections, include all ballots in the PEMT manual tally.

  • Issue A033: Legislative
    The Law should be refined to define exactly when the PEMT should be performed and what should be included in it. The law should define:
    • that the PEMT should include all ballots completed at polling places on election night, including all write-ins and "damaged" ballots, and it also should include all VBM ballots received by the deadline for those precincts.
    • that the PEMT should also review Ballot Statements and determine irregularities.
    • that it is not allowed to rescan offending precincts and then inappropriately deem the precincts as error free.
    • That comparison with a computer report should use the final canvass report, not an interim report. (See Issue A036)

References:

  • Issue A034: PEMT - Notification on Web Site
    The Ro V should notify the public on the Ro V website regarding the selection and tally in addition to placing a notice at the front counter.

Issue A034 - PEMT - Notification on Web Site

The Ro V should notify the public on the Ro V website regarding the selection and tally in addition to placing a notice at the front counter. The web site is much more accessible than just the front counter and will incur no significant additional cost for the Ro V but will make coordination by the public much easier.

  • Issue A034: Proposal to Ro V
    Provide notification of selection and tally of PEMT precincts on the web site as well as the front counter.

  • Issue A034: Legislative
    Include minor revisions to elections code to require that all electing districts provide notices on their web site as well as notices on the front counter of their office.

References:

  • Issue A035: PEMT Random Selection Not Technically Correct
    The random selection of precincts procedure is incorrect and not generally applicable.

Issue A035 - PEMT Random Selection Not Technically Correct

The random selection of precincts procedure is incorrect and not generally applicable. COPs recommends that the Registrar Of Voters change this procedure as follows:
  • Use four ten-sided die (which are easily available on-line for $3.99 for a set of 10 die).
  • Roll the dice perhaps in separate boxes or use different colors to allow them to be treated as ones, tens, hundreds and thousands.
  • Declare that on the die representing thousands, even numbers will be considered "0" and odd numbers represent "1".
  • If the total number shown on the die is greater than the highest numbered precinct sequence number (1697 in this case), disregard the roll and roll again.
  • If the precinct is from a Collection Center that has already been sampled, disregard the roll and roll again (See discussion below).

We noted that the distribution of sampled precincts was not uniform. There were no precincts selected in the first 453 precincts, but nine selected in the last 453 precincts. This can happen in a random selection process, but the likelihood that no precincts would be selected in the first 453 precincts is only one in 10,000 -- very unusual.

It would be preferrable to sample the precincts based on the structure of the collection process. Since there are 78 Collection Centers, each of the sampled precincts should come from a different collection center. To support this constraint, the last step was added to the procedure above to choose again if the collection center had already been sampled. In the November 2008 PEMT, there were two collection centers that were sampled twice.

  • Issue A035: Proposal to Ro V
    Change the method of random selection as described above.

  • Issue A035: Legislative
    The elections code should specify exactly how to randomly select the precincts because the statistics of random selection is frequently not well understood by elections workers. In this case, the San Diego Ro V used a methodology that was technically incorrect and not generally applicable.

References:

  • Issue A036: PEMT Computer Report Manipulation Vulnerability
    There is a manipulation vulnerability regarding how the computer reports are generated.

Issue A036 - PEMT Computer Report Manipulation Vulnerability

There is a manipulation vulnerability regarding how the computer reports are generated. Current practice has the Ro V staff produce reports which are, because the PEMT is currently performed early in the canvass cycle, tentative at best. The reports used by the PEMT should be the (draft) final canvass report to eliminate the possibility that a compromised member of Ro V staff might substitute a known correct report for the precincts to be sampled while allowing the other precincts to be modified.

If the election was fraudulently manipulated by Ro V staff using the central tabulator, then it would be possible to cover that up by producing "good" reports for the precincts in the PEMT while allowing many other precincts to remain compromised.

See also Issue Issue A033: PEMT Peformed too early.

  • Issue A036: Question to Ro V
    To avoid this vulnerability, the final canvass report should be used, and the actions of the IT staff observed by outsiders during the generation of these reports.

  • Issue A036: Legislative
    Elections code should specify that PEMT procedure should use the (draft) final canvass report and not interim reports. The PEMT precincts should be unknown until after the (draft) final report is produced to eliminate the possibility that the report could be generated differently for PEMT precincts than the untested precincts.

References:

  • Issue A037: Manual Tally Done Backwards
    Current practice treats the output of the computer scanners as the known good result and the tally teams redo their work until they can match it. This is contrary to the principle that the tally teams should be the most reliable result.

Issue A037 - Manual Tally Done Backwards

Current practice treats the output of the computer scanners as the known good result and the tally teams redo their work until they can match it. This is contrary to the principle that the tally teams should be the most reliable result. Therefore, the PEMT procedure should be modified as follows:
  1. Tally each precinct by two tally teams, each operating as they are now.
  2. Compare the result of the two teams.
  3. If they differ, tally again by a third team
  4. If possible, determine what causes them to differ and determine the "correct" result.
  5. Compare this result with the report as generated by the electronic scanners.
  6. If the scanners produce a different result, rescan the ballots to determine if that is the source of the error.
  7. If an error is detected, it may require that all ballots be rescanned using different equipment.

  • Issue A037: Question to Ro V
    Please modify the PEMT procedure as described above.

  • Issue A037: Legislative
    Improve elections code law to clearly define how the PEMT tallying should be done with the assumption that the tally teams should produce an independent result, and not rely on the computer report.

References:

  • Issue A038: PEMT Rescanning
    There is no provision in the current Post Election Manual Tally procedure to allow that workers rescan precinct ballots if the vote determined by the manual tally differs from the electronic scan. However, the Ro V rescans the ballots.

Issue A038 - PEMT Rescanning

There is no provision in the current Post Election Manual Tally procedure to allow that workers rescan precinct ballots if the vote determined by the manual tally differs from the electronic scan. However, the Ro V rescans the ballots. They confirm the error (i.e. additional ballots are discovered in the re-scan) but the Ro V nevertheless declares that the precinct is error free. The rescanning procedure to confirm an error must be included in the written procedure if it is to be performed, and then the consequences of finding the error must also be described, such as performing a complete election rescan.

  • Issue A038: Proposal to Ro V
    Your method of handling discrepancies in the PEMT is not documented, and your current practice is absolutely incorrect. If there are offending precincts, a full explanation should be included, and if the precinct can be corrected by rescanning, that would imply that the entire canvass may be faulty, and may need to be completely rescanned after corrections are made to scanner operating procedure.

  • Issue A038: Legislative
    Elections code law should be enhanced to clearly specify that the Ro V is not allowed to simply rescan the offending precincts in the PEMT and fix any problems and then declare everything is resolved. The conclusion is quite the opposite. If there are offending precincts, a full explanation should be included, and if the precinct can be corrected by rescanning, that would imply that the entire canvass may be faulty, and may need to be completely rescanned after corrections are made to scanner operating procedure.

References:

  • Issue A039: Tally Sheets too big to process automatically
    The Post-Election Manual Tally (PEMT) should use paper that is easily processed by automatic document feeding equipment.

Issue A039 - Tally Sheets too big to process automatically

The Post-Election Manual Tally (PEMT) should use paper that is easily processed by automatic document feeding equipment. Currently, the tally sheets are on over-sized paper and are difficult to scan.

See Issue Issue A023: Documents Automatically Processable.

  • Issue A039: Question to Ro V
    Please use Tally Sheets that conform to standard sheet sizes so they are easy to automatically scan, and avoid staples, tabs, and other additions that will make scanning difficult.

References:

  • Issue A040: PEMT Reports Incomplete
    The PEMT should produce a report for every race and every precinct, as suggested by the So S.

Issue A040 - PEMT Reports Incomplete

The PEMT should produce a report for every race and every precinct, as suggested by the So S. These sheets are easy to prepare if they are prepared when the manual tally is conducted. The resulting number of pages should be at least (Number of Precincts)*(Number of Races). For the November 2008 election, this would have produced about 400 pages for VBM and 400 pages for election day results. (The number of races applicable to any Precinct is less than the total number of races run in the county as many are not county-wide.) The report prepared by the Ro V had only five pages, not 800, and did not include any vote counts. (By comparison, Los Angeles County produced 1,300 pages in their report.)

  • Issue A040: Question to Ro V
    The So S suggests a format for the PEMT report but the Ro V ignores those requirements. We have requested compliance in past elections and have yet to see the Ro V comply with the recommended format. We require compliance to help us with our oversight task.

  • Issue A040: Legislative
    The So S suggests a format for the PEMT report but the Ro V ignores those requirements. This should be specified in law with penalties to provide a means to force compliance.

References:

  • Issue A041: PEMT Should Reconcile to Rosters
    The PEMT does not look at the ballot statements and sign-in rosters, and are restricted to the ballots actually run through the scanners on election night.

Issue A041 - PEMT Should Reconcile to Rosters

The PEMT does not look at the ballot statements and sign-in rosters, and are restricted to the ballots actually run through the scanners on election night. Unfortunately, since there are many (9,000) write-ins removed, the PEMT does not match the number of people who signed the rosters at the polling place. The PEMT should include a complete look at the precincts under consideration and not limit the view to just the operation of the scanners. See also Issue A033: PEMT Peformed too early.

  • Issue A041: Question to Ro V
    Please modify the procedure used in the PEMT to include review of sign-in rosters and BallotStatements, and include ALL ballots to match sign-in rosters and ballot statements.

References:

  • Issue A042: PEMT Errors Not Addressed
    In the November 2008 Election, a number of errors were detected by the Post Election Manual Tally (PEMT) procedure. These issues were not addressed and the Ro V simply ignored them.

Issue A042 - PEMT Errors Not Addressed

In the November 2008 Election, a number of errors were detected by the Post Election Manual Tally (PEMT) procedure. These issues were not addressed and the Ro V simply ignored them. The Ro V said the errors were resolved with the reconciliation procedure (which is not documented and does not have any report) but there is no confidence that this procedure actually resolves these issues.
  • Of the original 17 precincts sampled, 5 had errors, (29% error rate).
  • The additional 33 precincts combined (50 total) had 10 failing precincts, (20% error rate).
  • 5 ballots were lost in the 1% sample. By extension, 1134 ballots were lost (about 8 per each scanner on the floor).
  • Apparently, no research into whether the vote was different (Vote Substitution error) unless ballots were missing or total vote count different.
  • This issue is in addition to the 9,000 "missing" ballots due to removal of "damaged" and write-in ballots.

  • Issue A042: Question to Ro V
    You have refused in the past to answer our question as to why 29% of the precincts in the 17-precinct sample had errors of some kind, with 5 ballots lost. This loss exceeds the two-ballot loss allowed for all precincts.

  • Issue A042: Legislative
    The Ro V simply ignores errors revealed by the PEMT by rescanning those precincts, these failures (29% of the precincts tested) actually proves that there are serious problems with the processing performed by the Registrar of Voters in San Diego County. Election law must be improved to clarify the responsibilities of the Ro V with respect to errors resolved by the PEMT procedure.

References:

  • Issue A043: Audit Log Discrepancies
    In the November 2008 Election, a number of discrepancies were detected in the Central Tabulator (GEMS) Audit Log.

Issue A043 - Audit Log Discrepancies

In the November 2008 Election, a number of discrepancies were detected in the Central Tabulator (GEMS) Audit Log.

  • The Registrar does not have full documentation for the audit log, such as what all entries mean and any options or configuration settings in terms of what is provided in the audit log. (Their reply to Question C00021-21.1)

  • The Registrar has no procedures for review of the log. (Their reply to Question C00021-21.2) They said the logs are reviewed by IT staff to verify that an action has taken place such as a batch has been closed and the correct number of cards cast has been captured. But there was no documentation regarding when these reviews took place, if in fact they ever did, and no report resulting from any review.

  • In ten places, the log showed SERVER STOPPED without first seeing SERVER STARTED and vice versa. These should be paired in all cases. If they are not paired, then transactions may have been deleted (C00021-21.7.2). An explanation of this anomaly was requested from the Registrar (C00021-21.7.1) and they did not have an answer to fully explain it other than saying it could be a myriad of reasons. The Registrar suggested that we contact Premier Election Solutions, but no referral was ever provided.

  • Crashes. There were a number of crashes and other error messages. The Registrar suggested that we contact Premier Election Solutions but no referral was ever provided in response to our request.

  • Re-running precincts. In 133 cases, precincts were re-run but no explanation given as to why they were re-run and no report as to why the initial run was in error. (See Issue A027: No Operator Notes)

  • Clearing not shown. The central tabulator should be fully cleared prior to accumulating votes, but this was not in the log. Apparently, the Ro V does not produce a log for the entire election process.

  • Direct connection to DREs: Contrary to the directive of the So S, the Audit Log shows that the Ro V downloaded several dozen ballots from directly-connected DRE equipment. The So S ordered, in their Top to Bottom Review that an “air gap” be created to prevent the very unsecured DREs from being connected to the very unsecured central tabulator. If this is done, at least you eliminate DREs and the entry point for malicious software. These brief connections could have allows malicious software to enter the central tabulator and provide for later corruption of vote totals.

  • Issue A043: Question to Ro V
    • Please obtain full documentation about the audit log, including configuration settings to allow the GEMS system to provide additional detail. (Ref: C00021-21.1)
    • Please generate procedures for review of the log and appropriate reports for any anomalies. (Ref. C00021-21.2).
    • In that review, note time that the log shows SERVER STOPPED without first seeing SERVER STARTED and vice versa, as well as any crashes and error messages, and whether initial clearing is shown.
    • Please contact Premier Election Solutions and obtain an explanation for why START and STOP are not always paired, and obtain an explanation regarding the crashes and error messages.
    • Please provide a contact at Premier Election Solutions so we can ask for additional information.
    • Please utilize written procedures for all operations, including why certain precincts are being re-run. (See Issue A027: No Operator Notes)
    • The central tabulator should be fully cleared prior to accumulating votes, and this should appear in the log.
    • Transactions for the entire election should appear in the log.
    • The directives of the So S should be adhered to regarding the requirement that DRE ballots be remade into paper ballots and that there should be no direct connection of DRE equipment to central tabulator equipment.

  • Issue A043: Legislative
    The audit log can be our most important tool to provide oversight to the canvass process. However, the log must be much more complete and detailed to be of the most use to oversight groups.
    • Full documentation should be available to GEMS and the audit log. We request this so we can suggest additional settings that may also be available to increase the level of detail in the log.
    • Procedures should exist for review of the log, and it should be reviewed and a report created for each election. The review should include an explanation for any and all anomalies, such as:
      • Places where the log shows SERVER STOPPED without first seeing SERVER STARTED and vice versa. These should be paired in all cases. If they are not paired, then transactions may have been deleted.
      • Crashes. There were a number of crashes and other error messages. The Registrar suggested that we contact Premier Election Solutions but no referral was ever provided.
      • Clearing shown. The central tabulator should be fully cleared prior to accumulating votes.
      • Inappropriate use of directly-connected DRE equipment.
    • The reconciliation procedure (See Issue A026: "No Reconciliation Procedure") should include an explanation for any and all precincts that are rescanned. In 133 cases, precincts were re-run but no explanation given as to why they were re-run and no report as to why the initial run was in error. (See Issue A027: "No Operator Notes")

References:

  • Issue A044: Many Ballots Unscanned
    In the November 2008 Election, about 9,000 ballots were "lost" and not scanned correctly, based on our five-percent sample.

Issue A044 - Many Ballots Unscanned

When the number of ballots as counted by poll workers was compared with the number of "Cards Cast" from the scanner tapes, we found that 429 ballots were lost in our 5% sample. Extrapolating this over the entirety of the election, a total of over 9,000 ballots were lost, more than five per precinct on the average. Only 4 precincts had no apparent loss of ballots when they were scanned in our 85 precinct sample (4.7%). See Unscanned Ballots for a full discussion of this issue.

In addition to the related Issues of Concern: Issue A007 - "Ballot Statements - Removed Write-ins Not Documented", Issue A014 - "Tally Center - Write-Ins Removed and Not Counted", Issue A015 - "Tally Center - Damaged Ballots", and Issue A019 - "No Comparison of Ballot Count", it should be observed that the general strategy of the Ro V to count ballots is problematic.

Currently, the Ro V uses 150 hand-fed Diebold scanners and 150 volunteers feeding those scanners, likely because the Ro V already had purchased these scanners. It would be superior to use fewer high-speed automatic feeding scanners which are common in private industry today. This is the configuration suggested by the Elections Assistance Commission, and would likely vastly improve the throughput and reliability of the scanning process. This is the general direction suggested by the Open Canvass Proposal, where the ballots are simply scanned and turned into digital images before any vote recognition is attempted.

It is critical that the Ro V address this issue, as losing 9,000 ballots is a serious concern in the election.

Please explain how and why there are so many ballots that are not scanned.

We recommend that you consider discontinue using the Diebold scanners that were originally designed for use in precincts and exhibit an excessive error rate. Instead, consider using high-throughput digital scanners with automatic page feeding capability. These commonly run at 100 to 200 pages per minute, instead of about 6 pages per minute with the existing scanners.

Since these scanners exhibit a failure rate far in excess of the guidelines of the Elections Assistance Commission, perhaps the manufacturer, Premier Election Solutions (formerly Diebold Systems) should provide corrections to their equipment or provide other equipment to reduce the failure rate.

  • Issue A044: Legislative
    The number of unscanned ballots discovered in San Diego County Ro V is extremely distressing and if this is currently allowed by law, something is seriously wrong with our elections code. The Election Assistance Commission has provided a number of requirements for election equipment manufacturers. These requirements should be resolved to state law so that counties have recourse to demand that the equipment manufacturers provide solutions that meet those requirements or describe why it is technically impossible to meet them.

References:

  • Issue A045: PEMT Sample Size Insufficient.
    The 1% sample (17 precincts) mandated by the So S is insufficient to detect corrupt vote counts that could change the outcome of the election.

Issue A045 - PEMT Sample Size Insufficient

Statistics of elections should be used to determine the appropriate sample size. ElectionsMathematics.org provides an excellent analysis to determine the sample size necessary to detect corrupt precincts sufficient to change the outcome of the election. See Kathy Dopp, 'Checking election outcome accuracy Post-election audit sampling' for a thorough analysis of the statistics. COPS recommends that a 5% sample be used, because the assumption that all the precincts are the same size is not true, and this provides an additional level of confidence.

See Five Percent Sample for a full discussion of this issue and calculations related to this election.

COPs recommends that the Ro V use a 5% sample in the PEMT procedure in order to detect corrupt vote counts sufficient to change the outcome of the election, and to account for the fact that not all the precincts are the same size, which is an assumption of the analysis by Kathy Dopp.

  • Issue A045: Legislative
    COPs recommends changes in the law to require that at least a 5% sample be used in the PEMT. The 1% sample is too small to detect changes sufficient to change the election, with a confidence level sufficient for a reliable audit.

References:

These are areas where we could do more work to witness operations or obtain documents for review.

  • Issue C001: Logic & Accuracy Testing Not Witnessed by COPs
    Logic & Accuracy Testing Procedures not witnessed nor video recorded by our project team.

  • Issue C001: Question to Ro V
    Please provide advance notice to our project team so we may witness and video record Logic & Accuracy Testing.

References:

  • Issue C002: Ballot Order Chain of Custody
    We did not review the process of maintaining control of blank ballots and reconciliation at the precinct level. There is a concern regarding chain of custody of blank ballots. Is there a vulnerability to fraud based on accessing blank ballots and then removing and replacing completed ballots with those blank ballots which have been cast illegally?

References:

  • Issue C003: SPUW Not Witnessed by COPs
    Supply pickup weekend not witnessed nor video recorded.

References:

  • Issue C004: Precinct Worker Instructions
    RoV indicated that precinct worker instructions were available for review on their website but those are not really available to the public. We need to review these instructions.

  • Issue C004: Question to Ro V
    Please provide Precinct Worker Instructions and related procedures documents.

References:

  • Issue C005: Collection Center Activities not Observed by COPs
    We did not witness nor record activities at any collection centers.

References:

  • Issue C006: Tally Center Incoming Reception Observation
    We witnessed Tally Center Incoming Reception but did not video record it directly.

References:

  • Issue C007: VBM & Provisional Process Witnessing
    The Vote-By-Mail and Provisional Ballot Processing procedure was not recorded on video and our description was generated solely through Q&A with Ro V staff.

References:

Notes

1 : The Ro V mission statement says 'Conduct voter registration and voting processes with the highest level of professional election standards, accountability, security and integrity, thereby earning and maintaining public confidence in the electoral process.'

2 : Election Code 12223 limits precincts to 1000 voters -- "(a) Whenever a jurisdiction is divided into election precincts or whenever the boundary of an established precinct is changed or a new precinct is created, the precinct boundary shall be fixed in a manner so that the number of voters in the precinct does not exceed 1,000 on the 88th day prior to the day of election, unless otherwise provided by law." However, this is in conflict with the recommendation by the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines of the Election Assistance Commission, section 6.3.1.2: ...A typical polling place will be set up to handle 2000 voters, which equals 60 polling places in a mid-sized county.

3 : http://www.copswiki.org/Common/617 Ohio Voting Machines Contained Programming Error That Dropped Votes (Washington Post) - This article said: A voting system used in 34 states contains a critical programming error that can cause votes to be dropped while being electronically transferred from memory cards to a central tallying point, the manufacturer acknowledges. The problem was identified after complaints from Ohio elections officials following the March primary there, but the logic error that is the root of the problem has been part of the software for 10 years, said Chris Riggall, a spokesman for Premier Election Solutions, formerly known as Diebold.


Topic revision: r44 - 2016-12-24, RaymondLutz
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