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.

Wayne Hanson  |  Senior Executive Editor, Center For Digital Government