Voting Systems in Johnson County
By vote of the people, Johnson County, Kansas has been a voting machine
county since 1968, when lever machines were deployed to all voting locations.
In 1988, our county became one of the first in the nation to deploy direct
record electronic (DRE) voting machines. In spring 2002, Johnson County was
again one of the first counties in the nation to deploy touch screen voting
machines to all voting locations. We have developed systematic procedures
to assure the security and accountability of elections in Johnson County.
Johnson County's voting machines are AccuVote-TSx touch screens and are used at advance voting locations and polling places. Votes are tabulated by the GEMS software of Premier Election Systems.
The AccuVote-TSx touch screen voting machines and GEMS tabulation software are certified for use in the State of Kansas by the Secretary of State. Kansas complies with the Federal Election Commission's Voting Systems Standards.
The voting machines were used in Johnson County for the first time in 2002.
The public is always welcome to visit the Election Office for a hands-on demonstration of the voting machines. Just be sure to telephone (913) 782-3441 first to be sure that the demonstration equipment is not already reserved.
The Johnson County Election Office is staffed by 16 sworn election professionals
who adhere to The Election Center's Code of Ethics, which was adopted by
our office in 1997.
- The Election Office full-time staff manages all aspects of elections for residents of Johnson County.
- The staff is responsible for programming, verifying, tabulating, and controlling every election.
- The vendor has never programmed our elections and does not have remote access to our election software. We control our own elections.
- Within the building there are numerous rooms with different levels of controlled access.
- The election computer room and the ballot storage vault are monitored by security cameras 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Combination lock passwords are changed prior to each election cycle.
- The election software computer is freestanding. It is not networked within the office or connected to the Internet.
- Physically, the vendor's election software and each individual election database are secured on a computer that is not accessible by our office staff or the vendor's staff.
- This computer is installed in a secure room with controlled access. The Election Commissioner maintains control of the room keys and no one is admitted without his knowledge. Office policy is that at least two people are in the room at any given time.
- A video camera also records all activity in this room.
- Individual election database files are backed up at designated milestones and secured in a fireproof safe. Again, the Election Commissioner maintains control of the keys to the fireproof safe.
- All voting machine keys, voter cards, and storage media are secured in a controlled access room. Staff maintains a detailed inventory control of these supplies.
- Each machine is housed in a locked booth within our controlled access building; access to the power control and the election results cartridge port is controlled within a locked compartment. Again, voting machine keys are secured in a controlled access room.
- Finally, on Election Night, our election results cartridges are hand-carried by election judges to election headquarters.
- We do not use modems to transmit results.
Accountability of Election Setup, Operation and Tabulation
The Johnson County Election Office may use only voting systems, equipment
and software certified through the Kansas Secretary of State's Office. The
State requires that equipment be certified by the Federal Election Commission
(FEC) Voting Systems Standards program. A voting system must pass three levels
of tests before it can be used in Kansas - Federal Qualification Tests, State
Certification Tests, and local Acceptance Tests. Our policy is to receive
software updates directly from the Independent Testing Authority that certifies
- Prior to every election our office conducts a Systems Diagnostic Test on each voting machine to insure that it is operating properly. This test includes evaluation of the printer, card reader, touch screen, power system and battery.
- Logic and Accuracy (L&A) Tests are performed on each election results cartridge. In addition, an L&A is done to test the integration of the voting machine cartridges with the paper ballot system.
- This L&A assures the accuracy of the entire process for every election - merging of paper ballots and machine votes to expected hand-calculated outcomes, including a review of all reports.
- Throughout the entire testing process there is an internal separation of duties and dual sign-off accountability on all processes.
- An extensive audit trail is maintained, including all proofing documentation.
- The Election Commissioner has final approval of all proofing and testing material.
- The protective counter number is recorded and a uniquely keyed padlock is applied to each empty voting machine before delivery to the polling place. This is confirmed by the election team.
- PC cards for the voting machines are secured at the Election Office until the afternoon before the election, when they are picked up in a numbered, sealed pouch by the Supervising Judge of each polling place.
- On Election Day poll workers confirm the seal numbers on PC card pouches, unlock voting machines using specific keys, and verify the protective counter numbers after inserting PC cards into specific voting machines to activate the election. This validation is signed by all sworn election workers.
- The Supervising Judge is responsible for balancing voters processed to votes collected periodically throughout the day.
- There are numerous checks and balances in place, including separation of duties as each voter moves through the polling place.
- On Election Day the Supervising Judge maintains control of all machine keys.
- A beginning "zero proof" printout from each voting machine validates that there are no votes stored on the results cartridges. This printout is signed by all sworn election workers.
- An individual voter receipt is issued to each voter at check-in. A voter must present a voter receipt in order to be issued a voting machine activation card.
- An activation card is not issued until a voting machine is available for use.
- Each voter is escorted to a voting machine by a Machine Judge. The Machine Judge validates from the voter receipt that the correct ballot is displayed for the voter.
- The voter receipt is deposited in an envelope at the voting machine, providing a paper audit trail for the number of votes collected in each voting machine. The voter receipt is comparable to a paper ballot stub.
- The voter cards are collected at the exit door by an election worker.
- An end-of-day tally includes balancing voters processed to votes collected, and validating that the numbers of voter cards issued to the polling place are being returned to the Election Office.
- A closing printout from each voting machine confirms the total number of votes collected in each machine. This printout is again signed by all sworn election workers.
Comments from our Voters
"The voting computers are simple and easy to use. I like them."
"Good use of taxpayer's money."
"After voting in five states in the last 15 years, it is undoubtedly the easiest system I have used."
"Finally, you feel as if you are in control of your ONE vote!"
"Thanks for becoming a part of the 21st Century."
"This is an example of government at its best - serving the people! To my knowledge, the great range of options available for voting here in Johnson County is another reason Johnson County is one of the best places to live. Thank you for your excellent service to the people, who are the reason our government exists."
Last Updated: June 25, 2010 10:22 AM