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 United States Election Assistance 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) 715-6800 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 does not program our elections and does not have remote access to our election software. We control our own elections.
Our office building, located at 2101 E. Kansas City Road in Olathe, has controlled access and is secured through an alarm system with electronic key card/ password protected scramble pads at each entrance.
- Within the building there are numerous rooms with different levels of controlled access.
- The election computer room is monitored by security cameras 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Key card scans by two authorized staff members are required for access.
- 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. Key card scans by two authorized staff members are required for access. 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 locked cabinet within the secure room. After votes have been collected, the election database files are backed up daily and secured in an additional locked vault off site.
- 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 cards 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 U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) 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 the software.
- 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 card. In addition, an L&A is done to test the integration of the voting machine cards 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.
Each polling place in our county is staffed by sworn election workers, who have attended a mandatory three-hour training session during each election cycle.
- 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 cards. 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.
The election results cards, again secured in a numbered, sealed pouch, are hand-carried by election judges to the Election Office, where the votes are tabulated.