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.