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Diebold Hid Faulty Machines From Elections Board

from the again-and-again-and-again dept

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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  1. identicon
    Mike Mixer, 26 Oct 2006 @ 8:09pm

    It doesn't take a Diebold to ruin an election

    Many years ago I lived and worked in a small town where emotions ran high at election time. One concerned citizen took it upon himself to stake-out City Hall the night of the election to see if he could catch the powers that be in any shenanigans. Lo and behold, at about 12:30 am, a light went on in the supposedly sealed ballot counting room. This concerned citizen went ballistic to say the least. Aside from all of the conspiracy talk generated the one pertinent question was" Why was the cleaning crew allowed into a sealed room with uncounted ballots the night of an election?". explanations from those involved(some of whom were incumbants in the election) ranged from" it was a minor mistake" clear up to "you have to wonder about somebody who thinks he has to guard the ballots" trying to impugn the integrity of the concerned citizen. As it turned out , none of the challengers won(insert gasp of amazement here) and all of the winners hailed Oregon's new vote-by-mail ballots a rousing success. Moral: It doesn't take a Diebold to ruin an election, it only takes an opportunity.

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