March 3, 2009 By Wayne Hanson
California Secretary of State Debra Bowen -- who was at the forefront of national efforts to ensure voting machines met tough standards of security and accuracy -- will hold a public hearing to receive reports and take testimony on the "Deck Zero" anomaly in Premier Election Solutions' Global Election Management System (GEMS) version 1.18.19. According to a report from the Secretary of State's Office the Deck Zero software error -- which can delete the first group of optically scanned ballots under certain circumstances -- caused 197 ballots to be inadvertently deleted from Humboldt County's initial results in the November 4, 2008, General Election. The results were corrected when the error was discovered.
The Secretary of State said two other California counties -- San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara -- used the same software for the election, but encountered no such error.
Bowen's office conducted an independent investigation into the Premier GEMS 1.18.19 software errors and uncovered even more information that was previously unknown to county and state elections officials. In the days after the hearing, Bowen will consider what action -- including possible withdrawal of state approval --- to take on the Premier GEMS voting system.
This Digital Communities white paper highlights discussions with IT officials in four counties that have adopted shared services models. Our aim was to learn about the obstacles these governments have faced when it comes to shared services and what it takes to overcome those roadblocks. We also spoke with several members of the IT industry who have thought long and hard about these issues. The paper offers some best practices for shared government-to-government services, but also points out challenges that government and industry still must overcome before this model gains widespread adoption.