It's hard to go a day without hearing yet another story about electronic voting machine problems. However, the worst thing is the way that the companies in the space, with Diebold leading the way, respond when they find out about problems. Whether it's denying they're problems to cracking jokes about those who find the flaws, it doesn't make you very confident that they really want these machines fixed. The Washington Post has now discovered that Diebold had to quietly replace defective parts on a bunch of their machines last year. Now, obviously, defects happen, but what's odd is the way Diebold made sure that as few people as possible knew that the machines had problems that were being fixed. While Diebold claims it was "publicly disclosed," it turns out all that was disclosed was that there would be "a technology refresh" to bring the machines up to a more recent specification. It did not say anything about the devices having faulty parts -- which may have raised some concerns from the Elections Board about how ready these machines were for elections. Now, it's not at all surprising to find out that a company would want to keep news of technical failures in its equipment from being publicly discussed -- but it should be required for equipment that is being used for a public election where people need to trust that the equipment is safe and accurate. Along the same lines, as we suggested when Diebold's source code was leaked, some in the press are starting to point out that having the source code available should be required. There's simply no reason not to require it, if you want a fair and accurate election.
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