Maryland Suing Diebold/Premier For Money It Spent To Fix Its Voting Machines

from the pay-up dept

Things just keep getting worse for Diebold's e-voting subsidiary, that was laughably renamed Premier Election Solutions to avoid all of the baggage associated with the Diebold name. It seems that the state of Maryland is suing the company and demanding $8.5 million to cover the money the state had to pay to fix its faulty e-voting machines. You may recall that Maryland has been at the forefront in fighting Diebold/Premier over its machines. Back in 2006, following some rather damning info and significant problems, Maryland's governor wanted to get rid of all of Diebold's machines.

Diebold did its usual thing, responding to different problems, insisting there was no real problem and if there were, that it would all be fixed in time for the election in November of that year. Of course, Diebold didn't actually do much to help -- so the state of Maryland took matters into their own hands to try to fix the flaws in the machines, and now wants Diebold/Premier to pay for the costs of having done so. In rather typical fashion, Diebold/Premier has put out its usual response to pretty much any criticism: claiming it has no clue what anyone is talking about, saying that it is "puzzled by the timing and vagueness" of the lawsuit, while also saying it is: "inaccurate and unfounded." The company also says its about events that occurred "five or more years ago" (apparently, they weren't paying attention in 2006) and that "Maryland just completed one of the smoothest elections in the state's history," though the company fails to note that's more in spite of Diebold/Premier than because of it.
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Filed Under: e-voting, maryland
Companies: diebold, premier voting

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  1. identicon
    Liz Miller, 29 Dec 2008 @ 8:02pm

    Digital Paper Ballot System

    Keep the system as SIMPLE as possible.
    Going completely computerized in voting systems is way too vulnerable (as all of us should know by now)... but optical-scan has also been known for its many inaccuracies and paper-jams... as well as failure to capture the voter's true intent. Anytime you allow human markings on a ballot, you're taking a chance that they may be read as ambiguous.
    The voter should be able to insert a compact, inexpensive card-stock BLANK paper ballot into the machine (like inserting paper into an off-the-shelf printer); vote via touch-screen using a magnetic interactive stylus (the screen should be dead to "finger-touch"--- people read with their fingers, dragging them across the screen... making un-intentional choices... or their sleeve hits the screen and they accidentally "skip" a race altogether). They should not be able to "over-vote", be warned of "under-votes" in PRIVATE, and given a complete review and allowed to make changes, if necessary. They can then push "Print" and watch their ballot, marked with the choices they made, fall across the screen in front of them.
    They should be able to PICK UP this ballot,(tangibility goes a long way towards restoring "voter-while-voting" confidence... instead of squinting to see through a foggy, scratched-up Plexiglas mini window your choices on a SEQUENTIAL flimsy "ticker-tape" record) see a "human-readable" area with their selections AND an encrypted BAR CODE, (that will prevent duplication/"stuffing" the ballot box). They should be able to scan this bar code right in the same voting booth,(and see their choices on the screen in front of them) to again have a chance to verify their printed ballot--- this could also be done at a separate "verification-station"... with an "off-the-shelf" supermarket-style scanner in both locations.
    The main components (touch screen, printer, keypad, scanner, etc.) and supplies, (blank ballots, printer cartridges, etc.) should be "off-the-shelf" items... keeping the cost down and the election jurisdiction is not "tied" to their vendor for every-little-thing. If the printer cartridge is damaged--- send someone off to Wal-Mart!
    Most importantly... their ballot is not "cast" until it is tabulated on another (separate) machine, and then inserted into a locked ballot box. These are the actual ballots you go to if anything is contested and there needs to be a re-count... THE BALLOT IS THE VOTE.
    The machines that are voted upon do NOT "store" the votes... they are merely a tool used to mark the ballot, yet ensure that voter intent is what is recorded in the end. A blind voter would have the ballot/instructions read to them through headphones, and would be asked to tap the stylus anywhere on the screen when their selection/candidate is read. They, too, are able to then verify their ballot in private.
    Our system was created in the shadow of the 2000 Debacle in Florida, and in direct response to an outcry for an un-hack able voting system. When all you are storing in the actual voting machines are all of the jurisdictions' available ballot-styles... and you cannot access any USB ports... and no memory-cards are used to transfer data... and machines are never daisy-chained together... well, that leaves very little to make mischief with.
    Keeping it as simple as possible really is best.

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