Alaska Division of Elections
Asked to Explain Changes
to 2004 Electronic Election Data
October 07, 2006
The Alaska Democratic Party on Friday asked the Division of Elections
to explain why changes were made in July of 2006 to the electronic
database that contains the results of the 2004 General Election.
A review of the audit trail of the GEMS database for the 2004
elections shows that modifications were made to the database
on July 12 and July 13, 2006, according to a news release from
the Alaska Democratic Party .
The Democratic Party recently
obtained the electronic GEMS file by suing the Division of Elections
in State Superior Court. The Division of Elections had refused
for more than nine months to release the public records, but
did so late last month just before a hearing was scheduled to
begin in the case.
"We do not understand why 2004 election results would be
manually modified in 2006 after the complaint was filed asking
that you produce the database," Jake Metcalfe, chair of
the Alaska Democratic Party, said in a letter to Division of
Elections Director Whitney Brewster. "Data from the 2004
election may have been altered," Metcalfe said.
One of the modifications made in 2006 appears to alter data for
House District 5. In that district's race for the State House,
Democrat Tim June lost by 59 votes to Republican Bill Thomas.
[Refer to Graphics]
The Democratic Party also questioned
the 293 manual entries that were made to the electronic file
between 11/2/04 and 12/2/04 [Refer to Graphics]. According to
the same audit log, the Primary Election for 2004 had 17 manual
"Two hundred and ninety-three is an incredibly high number
of manual entries," said Jim March, a consultant and member
of the Board of Directors of Black Box Voting who examined the
"Manual entries usually
happen when a ballot is too crumpled to scan or is marked in
blood, crayon or in an unusual manner. A small number of manual
entries is normal. In an election about your size, approximately
20 or so manual entries would be common. Having 293 manual entries
for the General Election is completely off the charts, while
the 17 manual entries that were made for the Primary is within
the normal range. The high number of manual entries is troubling
since several elections were decided by less than 100 votes,"
One of the problems revealed by examining the GEMS database is
that every individual who modified the file had the same "admin"
User ID, March said. Failing to assign each individual who has
access to the database a unique User ID negates an important
safeguard, he said.
"We now know the Alaska
Division of Elections isn't tracking which human being performs
which action on the central database of votes, including a startlingly
high number of manual entries of vote data. If a person's actions
in the election aren't tracked, personal accountability fails.
This is a classic flaw in the Diebold product," March said.
The Democratic Party filed new public records requests asking
for a copy of the GEMS database as it existed before the changes
made in July, 2006, and for the name and affiliation of each
person who did any manual modification to the 2004 General Election
GEMS database at any time, what data that person entered manually,
and why those changes were made or those data were entered manually.
March said he has not yet been able to determine why the votes
from the 2004 election in the district-by-district reports do
not match the statewide summary. "First we need to get the
correct version of the database. The one that the Division of
Elections gave the Democratic Party appears to have been altered
after the fact," he said.
According to the Division of Elections' vote reports that were
produced by the state's Diebold computer system and are posted
on the Division's official web site, a far larger number of votes
were cast than the official totals reported in the statewide
summary. In the case of President George Bush's votes, the district-by-district
totals add up to 292,267, but his official total was only 190,889,
a difference of 101,378 votes. In the U.S. Senate race, Lisa
Murkowski received 226,992 votes in the district-by-district
totals, but her official total was only 149,446, a difference
of 77,546 votes.
In 20 of the 40 State House Districts, more ballots were cast
than there are registered voters in the district, according to
information on the state's web site. In 16 election districts,
the voter turnout percentage shown is over 200%.
log showing last manual entires
of the last section of GEMS audit log
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