California Decertifies E-Voting Machines… Then Recertifies Them (With A Few Conditions)

from the not-quite-what-we-hoped-for dept

Following the release of the various independent security reports last week on the e-voting machines used in Californa, the Secretary of State needed to decide by Friday night whether to keep the machines in use in the state. At 11:45pm, she decided to decertify the machines only to immediately recertify them if they made some security changes. Of course, it seems like the changes are simply patches, and as the original report noted, many of the security problems the machines have is because all of the security they’ve implemented was patched on as an afterthought. Until the machines are designed from the ground up with security in mind, it’s not likely to really fix many of the vulnerabilities. But, in the meantime, there’s an election coming up, and apparently a bunch of major security problems are no reason to get rid of the expensive e-voting machines the state has already purchased.

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Companies: diebold, es&s, hart intercivic, sequoia

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Comments on “California Decertifies E-Voting Machines… Then Recertifies Them (With A Few Conditions)”

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SDAndrew says:

If this isn't criminal...

It is absolutely ridiculous that our Registrar making decisions on which equipment to use is the salesperson who sold the equipment to us!!!


NORTH COUNTY — A former sales representative for the company that made the county’s electronic voting machines has been hired as the county’s registrar of voters, county officials announced Friday.

In 2003, the county bought 10,000 electronic voting machines from Diebold Election Systems. The county’s new registrar, Deborah Seiler, said Friday that she worked as sales representative for the company and was directly involved in the successful effort to sell the company’s equipment to the county in 2003.

In addition to her stint at Diebold, the 57-year-old woman’s resume reflects a broad background in elections, dating to the late 1970s, when she served as assistant chief of elections with the California secretary of state’s office. In 1982, she became assistant to the secretary of state for elections and political reform and held that position until 1989. Between 1991 and 1999, Seiler worked as director of customer relations for the electronic voting machine company, Sequoia Pacific Systems. She also served as a commissioner with the California Fair Political Practices Commission between 1993 and 1997.

In San Diego County, many of the questions surrounding recent elections — and the hiring of Seiler — involve electronic voting machines made by Diebold.

Diebold sold more than 10,000 of the machines to the county at a total cost of $31 million.

“Our job was simply to point out the merits of the hardware and the software,” Seiler said.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: If this isn't criminal...

I have to agree with Second’s post. This would only be worrisome if the individual went TO Diebold AFTER buying the machines for the County. Otherwise there’s no personal gain. Bring a story about kickbacks and rejecting newer, more secure machines. Besides, that big paragraph in the middle elections and election tools have been this ladies business since the 70s. Sounds like someone is just fishing for some hype.

RofBeo says:

Ridicilous - but not Criminal

Now if the registrar had gone to work for the company AFTER she’d bought the machines – it’s something else.

In fact this whole situation is a wonderful example of using the media to run a political career – the Sec. of State ran on a platform that the machines were dangerous – then she does a half-assed study that says they were dangerous (if you let us take them apart in the lab and work on them) and then basically costs us taxpayers a bunch while accomplishing NOTHING but getting a lot of publicity.

See – if you are corrupt you Too could run for office!

Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) says:


Would it make sense that a person selected to run elections actually have some experience with the equipment being used? I know I am gonna get skewered for this but how do you get an experienced elections official without looking to the e-voting machine manufacturers? Otherwise, we would have people with no idea of what is going on making important decisions on what others tell them (ie. Congress).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Experienced?

Get serious. People make purchasing decisions every day on technical equipment. How many of them were involved with the manufacturer or even the same industry?
Are people from outside the computer industry able to intelligently buy computers? Of course.
You do it by exercising due diligence. You listen – you test – you get outside unbiased analysis.
Skew you. (I mean that in a humorous way – really.)

SailorRipley says:

Re: Experienced?

In fact, I don’t see even in the slightest how having knowledge about the workings of and/or experience with the equipment (ie e-voting machines) guarantees you will do the job of a county’s registrar even remotely better than somebody without said knowledge/experience.

PS: even your initial assumption is not necessarily true: she was a salesperson, that does not guarantee she has that much knowledge or experience with the machines…there are plenty of salespeople (good and bad) who don’t know jack ab out the product they’re selling if it’s not on their fact sheet/folder

Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) says:

Re: Re: Experienced?

You say that anyone can do the job. True. But would it be an advantage to have someone with experience? Would you ask a carpet layer to perform open heart surgery? We know that elected officials only parrot what interest groups tell them. That is where you get the famous, “You see, the internets is a bunch of tubes…” rant from some inexperienced politician voting on something he has no idea about. So your arguments that anyone can do the job may be true, but we are talking about politicians.

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