Ohio Finds All E-Voting Machines In The State Had Serious Flaws

from the no-surprise-there dept

Earlier this year, California found all sorts of problems with e-voting machines used in the state. Now, Ohio, home to some of the more controversial stories surrounding presidential elections, has also found serious flaws in every e-voting machine used in the state. It's the usual stuff that has been pointed out for years: it was easy to pick locks on the machines, introduce fake votes, and load up dangerous unauthorized software onto the machines. Not much new there -- just another confirmation. What's much more interesting is the reaction of the firms involved.

First up is "Premier Election Solution," who you probably would recognize better under its old name: Diebold. The company changed its name a few months ago, hoping people would no longer associate Premier with all of the ridiculously bad history associated with Diebold. A Premier official said that all of the problems noted in the report have been fixed in its new machines. While that's a better response than Diebold's typical response of trashing any researcher who points out a flaw or cracking jokes about the flaws, it's one of the few times we've ever seen Diebold/Premier admit that older machines actually did have significant flaws. Of course, the few times that's happened in the past, it's always come with the same sort of "but everything is fixed now!" clause. And... every time a Diebold/Premier representative says something along those lines, it's only a matter of months until new flaws are announced. So, given Diebold's history, it's pretty difficult to take the company's word that all the flaws have now been fixed.

Even worse, though, is the response of ES&S, who has become even more Diebold-like in its responses to various problems found in its machines. On the Ohio report, ES&S responded: "We can also tell you that our 35 years in the field of elections has demonstrated that Election Systems and Software voting technology is accurate, reliable and secure." Note that this doesn't actually respond to any of the specific criticisms in the report. As for that history, let's take you back to a few of ES&S's greatest hits: this is the company that was caught providing uncertified software to California, while also failing to disclose foreign manufacturing partners (as required by federal law). It's also the company responsible for the well-known case in Florida where thousands of votes went missing and the election in Texas where votes were counted three times. And, of course, let's not forget the internal memos at ES&S which showed the company knew about problems with its software, while publicly stating that the machines were perfectly fine. So, sorry, ES&S, you can try to pretend those things didn't happen, but the history you point to hardly shows that your machines are "accurate, reliable and secure." It shows a company that will say anything to avoid admitting that its machines have problems.
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Filed Under: e-voting, ohio
Companies: diebold, es&s, premier

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  1. identicon
    Sean, 17 Dec 2007 @ 7:09am

    Sleight of hand in the age of information

    The real culprit here is information. Not all of it is useful. Daily I am bombarded with pleas to save this, stop that, beware of the other, and ALWAYS give more!

    In the meantime I work, go to school, raise a child, etc. More than once it has occurred to me "didn't I elect someone to take care of this stuff for me?" That may not be the right way to think about it, but it's what is in my head.

    I often struggle to understand what it means to be a good citizen. I perform charity work and giving (though probably not as often as I should). I pay attention to the issues and I vote. But honestly if I have to pay attention to every person that tries to manipulate the system and put their hand into my wallet, my family would starve.

    Any thoughts on the issue would be well-received.

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