Defend the Vote

Sharon Meroni
August 17, 2016
Chairman Charles W. Scholz
Vice Chairman Ernest L. Gowen
Member William J. Cadigan
Member Andrew K. Carruthers
Member Betty J. Coffrin
Member John R. Keith
Member William M. McGuffage
Member Casandra B. Watson
Executive Director Steve Sandvoss
General Counsel Ken Menzel
Attention Illinois State Board of Elections Chairman, Vice Chairman, Members, Executive Director and General Counsel:
Black Box Voting is an organization that has been investigating various aspects of election transparency and
computerized voting systems since 2002. The founder, Bev Harris, recently partnered with Bennie Smith, who is an
application developer for an electrical manufacturing company. The two have been investigating the GEMS vote
tabulation program that runs voting systems that are present in Illinois.
This significant research establishes there are likely very serious problems with the GEMS software that is used
throughout Illinois. They have reviewed the GEMS code and found that it permits fractionalized vote counting. This
letter seeks to have the ISBE address these questions and also for the ISBE to request that the vendors provide
answers to these questions.
This is an emergency requiring immediate investigation and response.
The document titled Fraction Magic currently has 6 parts. These parts are posted separately at
and is attached in a single PDF. The following summarizes the overall issue.
“The results of this study demonstrate that a fractional vote feature is embedded in each GEMS application, as well as in
the high speed central count scanners used for vote by mail and other centrally counted processes which can be used to
invisibly, yet radically, alter election outcomes by pre-setting desired vote percentages to redistribute votes. This
tampering is not visible to election observers, even if they are standing in the room and watching the computer. Use of
the decimalized vote feature is unlikely to be detected by auditing or canvass procedures, and can be applied across large
jurisdictions in less than 60 seconds.
GEMS vote-counting systems are and have been operated under five trade names: Global Election Systems, Diebold
Election Systems, Premier Election Systems, Dominion Voting Systems, and Election Systems & Software, in addition to a
number of private regional subcontractors. At the time of this writing, this system is used statewide in Alaska,
Connecticut, Georgia, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Utah and Vermont, and for counties in Arizona, California, Colorado,
Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee,
Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming. It is also used in Canada.” (Fraction Magic part 1)

According to Harris’ report, “The fractional vote capability is built into GEMS for all races, whether they are weighted or
not; it is embedded in all locations including states which do not have weighted elections, and it is the default setting for
all races everywhere.”
Black Box Voting’s research addresses the fact that code to count votes in weighted fractions has been inserted into the

The research establishes that Version 1.17.1 does not have the fractional vote counting commands. This
malicious code was inserted into GEMS version 1.18.1.
The research establishes that in various locations across the USA, a large number of people are given access to
the GEMS code and that this access is not properly logged or controlled. Frequently, access is given through
insecure offsite servers and computers.
The backend fractional vote counting commands leave the door wide open to undetectable voter fraud.

I have included information for your review before the August 26th Board meeting, where I will be seeking to have the
Illinois State Board of Elections address these concerns and agree to immediately investigate these allegations as they
pertain to the November elections in Illinois.
We are seeking that any Illinois vendors that manufacture, maintain or update GEMS software in an election jurisdiction
in Illinois IMMEDIATELY submit their most recent software for independent ISBE review to ascertain if there is code that
permits fractionalized vote counting. We are seeking for the ISBE to individually investigate the software and if that is
not possible to hire an outside consultant with experience in electronic fraud.
1) Is there code in any of the GEMS vote counting systems and/or the central count software in Illinois that can be
used to fractionalize votes in any stage of the voting process?
2) Why, when, and by whom was the code added to fractionalize the vote in software running machines in Illinois?
3) What will be done to remove fractional vote capability and to remedy any opportunity to reinstate it after
4) Undocumented features in a voting system are prohibited. Did the vendor(s) acknowledge to the voting system
certifiers at the ISBE that they had included a weighted vote feature?
5) At the ISBE level:
a. Who has access to software produced by vendors?
b. Has the ISBE had an expert examine the computer code?
c. How is access granted and documented?
d. What role does the ISBE play in monitoring the GEMS software used in each election jurisdiction?
6) At the Election Jurisdiction level:
a. Who has access to software produced by vendors?
b. For what purposes is access allowed?
c. How is access granted and documented?
Illinois allocates 1 vote per ballot position on the ballot. Fractionalizing a vote as either more than or less than 1 is
not legal in Illinois, so why is this code in software that operates within our voting systems?
I look forward to discussing this in person on August 26th.

Sharon Meroni