(Mis)Uses of Technology

by Mike Masnick

Diebold Swears Everything Will Work Perfectly In Time For The Election

from the somehow,-I-doubt-it dept

Even if you ignored the history of problems with Diebold's voting machines, and just looked at the problems Maryland had a few weeks ago with Diebold's electronic voting machines, it's pretty difficult to believe that the company will have a "total fix" of the machines in the next few weeks. However, since Diebold's machines have a ridiculously long list of problems for many, many years, combined with Diebold's typically indifferent, misleading or mocking responses to each report of problems, it's shouldn't even be an option to believe that they'll actually be able to deliver glitch free (and secure) machines (note that they're not promising to fix any of the security issues, just a few of the glitches that were seen last time). Also given that last minute changes are likely to introduce new, unexpected, problems since there won't be any real ability to test them, this could just make things worse. Of course, the article about Diebold quotes elections administrator Linda Lamone: "We're not going to use the e-poll books unless Diebold is able to demonstrate to me that they're in tip-top shape." That would be the same Linda Lamone who claimed that no one in her office had ever had computer problems, so you have to wonder what her definition of "tip-top shape" is.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Jo Mamma, Sep 28th, 2006 @ 6:53pm

    stupid, stupid, stupid

    I'd love to get my hands on one of these machines... I'd love it!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 28th, 2006 @ 8:05pm

    Sure, the machines will do their "job" perfectly. And the "fix" will be "totally" in. You can count on it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 28th, 2006 @ 8:29pm

    hurray for democracy! checks and balances is really working right now! the founding fathers always meant for each of the 3 branches to be of the same party, you GOPers show those idiots who say checks and balances means there should be conflict between each branch!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Tashi, Sep 28th, 2006 @ 8:37pm

    There is no problem with Diebold's machines. They do exactly what they are designed to do. Hijack elections. The software... or at the least the software from the 2004 elections was designed to split the vote 51% 49% in the republicans favor no matter how the public voted. There's too much money in the current "war on terror" to leave the vote up to the public.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    Ross C. (profile), Sep 28th, 2006 @ 9:14pm

    Higher republican campaign security recommended

    Statistical impossibilities have convinced many already that our election system has fallen prey to dirty tricks. Pressure builds with each set of republican miracle wins. But who knows? Poppy Bush shot JFK and nobody cares, maybe they'll just always get away with it? So what if the polls predict a Democratic landslide that mysteriously does not apear. It's worked out well for them so far with the Kennedy assassination, eh? Technically, W's a Kennedy, right? Perhaps it will all be a wash? I say do what you can and then just let God sort it out.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    RantMax, Sep 28th, 2006 @ 9:27pm

    Face It

    It doesn't matter. There's always a weakest link.

    When the prize at stake is the entire world (well USA politicians tend to think that, and act it), flawless voting machines would not stop them from enacting falsification of the results if they want to.

    If I gotta be lame and quote the Matrix movies: we're voting just to keep the Matrix stable. The illusion of choice should be always present.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    William C Bonner, Sep 28th, 2006 @ 11:26pm

    Don't worry. Your parachute will....

    Your parachute will be fully functional before you get near the ground.

    But I want my parachute to work before I get in the plane to go skydiving.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Davey, Sep 29th, 2006 @ 12:00am

    They will work perfectly.

    Everything will work perfectly in time to steal yet another election for the Republican Party. Not to worry.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    SimonTek (profile), Sep 29th, 2006 @ 12:15am

    I have worked technical during the elections. During the class we took for it (4 hours). I realized half the technicians in the room never used a computer, let a lone fix one. It drove me nuts, I figured out how to service them in 20 mins. Almost Everyone else didn't get it, and kept asking questions. While I was there, I got bored and learned the layout of the building, where everything was. At one point the instructor couldn't find something, So I went into the back and grabbed it, Sadly you think this being an office of theres they would have stopped me when I was looking around in the first place.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    satan, Sep 29th, 2006 @ 12:37am


    Wait till the US nukes iran.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Dave, Sep 29th, 2006 @ 7:10am

    They're bulletproof, apparently

    All conspiracy theories and political bias concerns aside, Diebold has it made!

    I've been following the research that shows how it's almost childishly easy to hack these things, and how they just plain don't work a lot of the time. Diebold's people must be staggeringly incompetent. Or maybe the management has been making guarantees to the government without checking with the workers to see if it can be done (a la Larry Ellison). Who knows?

    Now that the U.S. political system has made such a huge bet on them, Diebold has tremendous inertia in its favor. Getting the government to reverse anything that large is about as easy as turning around an ocean liner with a spoon. The only way that they'd stop using Diebold would be if the machines started molesting children, distributing poison gas, and showing nude photos of congressmen.

    Diebold must be very happy in spite of the rotten press!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    eb, Sep 29th, 2006 @ 7:27am

    If that's what it takes

    I vote that someone hack the machines to start distributing porn, particularly in red states. That should get reform started in a hurry.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 29th, 2006 @ 7:51am

    @ post 12

    i was thinking along the lines of hacking the machines and watching "Ben H. Acked" win an election in some county. although the repercussions of such an event would be impossible to imagine. GG democracy at that point.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    USvsThem, Sep 29th, 2006 @ 8:23am

    Rig Elections For Jesus

    If this administration can hire a horseshow administrator to be the head of FEMA. They surely can push for a professed pro-republican company (Diebold) to corner the market on voting machines. Any respectable company wouldn't diss serious and valid complaints about the quality of their product. What we have here are rigged elections in the making. I guess the GOP can't rely on Prayer(TM) anymore to win elections. After all.. only Christians(TM) need be elected to government. All the rest are pagans destined to burn in the Lake Of Fire (TM). Praise!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Lay Person, Sep 29th, 2006 @ 9:14am

    I don't get it...

    What is wrong with the paper vote?

    Shit, checks are still made of paper! In fact, I deposited a piece of paper and ended up with $70,000 in my savings account! If this is good enough for the Federal Reserve why the fuck won't it work for voting?!?!

    I just don't get it. We've certainly used paper for the last 200 years. Why the big hurry to change?

    O.K. So some retards in Florida ruined our hole-punch, paper, system. Scantrons would still work, instead of holes being punched, which may require excessive pressure for the elderly, they can just use a stamp and stamp the choice. National tests are still conducted by these methods, why not the vote? If it's acceptable for the BAR exam, the SAT exam, driving exams, entrance exams, then it should be acceptable for voting.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Lay Person, Sep 29th, 2006 @ 9:39am

    One more thing...

    One more thing...

    The more complex a machine, the more chances of something going wrong.

    There are two critical elements to paper voting the mark and the paper. For Diebold machines, the factor is immeasurably greater.

    Who is pushing this stuff and why?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Celes, Sep 29th, 2006 @ 9:43am

    Re: They will work perfectly.

    Funny... the Republicans here in MD (like Gov. Ehrlich) are the ones who want to scrap the Diebold machines, at least for now. But our government is largely Democratic, so we're just going to keep using them, I suppose.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Celes, Sep 29th, 2006 @ 9:49am

    Re: One more thing...

    I've no idea why Maryland went with these abominable machines. (Probably our government saw the "e" in "e-voting" and thought it would make them look cool. Hey, it's a better reason than some of the ones they've come up with for things.)

    Now, one of the reasons we're given for their continued use despite the numerour problems with the system is that our gov't spent too much money on the machines not to use them, even if they don't work properly. Ah well... this is MD, after all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Lay Person, Sep 29th, 2006 @ 10:58am

    Yeah but...

    Yeah but the FBI spent 100s of millions on failed software. They just scrapped it. It wasn't worth it to them to have problems on top of the existing problems so they just scrapped it.

    I believe our elections are far more valuable than 100s of millions or whatever the cost of these Diebold fiasco.

    Lets just scrap the whole idea, fire the people responsible, and force a refund from Diebold or they'll face prison time for fraud.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 29th, 2006 @ 4:20pm


    I have no faith in our election system. Ohio and Florida are proof that corruption is at every level.

    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." --- Thomas Jefferson

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    Check the roll, Oct 2nd, 2006 @ 8:53am

    Re: stupid, stupid, stupid

    Why don't you go get one? It's easy! Just convince one of the county "officials" to disregard security, open the storage facility, allow you inside, then stand by and watch while you remove the seals, the covers, the internal parts, etc. What are you waiting on???

    But, I have a much better idea! Since your ability to get your hands on one requires a HUMAN or two to complete your plan, why not just wait on the machines to do it for you? Or, is all this trashing of electronic voting machines really misguided? Could it be that humans are screwing things up, not the machines???? If this is so, is a piece of paper any more reliable?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.