Re: How do you audit a GEMS machine?

From: Douglas W. Jones <jones_at_cs_dot_uiowa_dot_edu>
Date: Fri Jun 17 2005 - 16:15:22 CDT

On Jun 17, 2005, at 1:14 PM, Ed Kennedy wrote:

> Here in San Diego County we use Diebold GEMS machines to read the
> memory card from Diebold Acuvote scanners.  Generously assuming that
> the scanner cards generally reflect what went under the scan heads
> ,how would a Poll Watcher audit the aggregation of votes on a GEMS
> machine?

At the close of the polls, each scanner should produce a poll-closing
tape (in stand alone mode) before the memory card is touched. Best
practice is to print two tapes, one to be posted in public, the other
to be signed and returned to the county building with the memory card.
Poll watchers can transcribe from the public tape, or even photograph

The final report from GEMS ought to include a report, for each precinct,
of the totals. This should match exactly the totals reported from the

Of course, just because the printers are there doesn't mean that they're
used properly! Iowa, Illinois and Florida all have laws that make the
posting of a public report at the precinct mandatory. I don't recall
the laws of other states.

Then, there's the matter of accounting. The totals reported from the
precinct scanner may not be the totals GEMS reports if the accounting
system of the county is set up funny. For example, there are write-in
votes, absentee votes and others. If the adjustments for these are
entered in GEMS and then simply folded into the precinct totals without
making clear what is being done, the result can be murder to audit, if
it is possible at all.

The devil is in the details.

                Doug Jones

OVC discuss mailing lists
Send requests to subscribe or unsubscribe to
= The content of this message, with the exception of any external
= quotations under fair use, are released to the Public Domain
Received on Thu Jun 30 23:17:08 2005

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Thu Jun 30 2005 - 23:17:11 CDT