Letter to Secretaries of State re: Premier Voting Systems

Joint letter to 31 Secretaries of State where Premier voting systems are in use regarding product defect and recommending rigorous ballot accounting procedures.

October 29, 2008

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This letter was sent to 31 Secretaries of State where Premier voting systems are in use. These states are: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Chief Election Official:

Our research shows that Premier Election Solutions voting systems are deployed in your state.  As you may know, Premier released a product advisory in August of this year pointing out a critical defect in the GEMS tabulating equipment 1.20.2 and earlier.  This defect can deprive voters of their fundamental right to have their votes counted.  According to the product advisory, the GEMS equipment contains a logic error which affects the compilation of votes from multiple polling locations.  As memory cards containing votes are uploaded into the system, votes can be lost.

According to the advisory issued by Premier:

Premier Election Solutions has determined that a sharing violation may occur in the GEMS poster during simultaneous uploading of results from multiple memory cards resulting in the contents of the affected memory card(s) not being posted to GEMS.  Note that in this situation, the AVServer console will indicate the affected upload of memory card(s) has been successful, ... when the upload has not, in fact, been successful.

We strongly urge you to advise election officials in your jurisdiction to conduct rigorous ballot reconciliation procedures that would mitigate this kind of issue, among others.  We have attached a list of "best practices" which we have developed along with academics and election officials.  Most importantly, we ask that you institute measures to ensure that every memory card has been fully uploaded: this means, at the very least, comparing the total number of memory cards with the number reported by the tally server when uploading is complete, and comparing total tapes from each machine to the totals reported by the tally server.

In its own product advisory notice, Premier recommended procedural critical safeguards which must be in place to stop the loss of votes while memory cards are being uploaded.  Additionally, Premier recommended that basic election canvass procedures be used at all times.

We are grateful for your hard work during this very busy time.  If you have any questions, please contact us.

Sincerely,

Lawrence Norden
Counsel, Brennan Center for Justice
lawrence.norden@nyu.edu

Susannah Goodman
National Election Reform Director, Common Cause
sgoodman@commoncause.org

Pamela Smith
President, Verified Voting
pam@verifiedvoting.org