Tuesday, November 04, 2003

The Voting Machine Story

I don't know if any of you guys have been following this, but there is an interesting story that has been emerging regarding Diebold's new voting machines. There has been a lot of coverage of it on slashdot, as it has been mostly hacker activism that has brought the issue to light. Slashdotters have been up in arms from day 1 about that fact that any voting precinct would use voting machines which a) are proprietary (ie do not run open source software), and b) have no paper audit-trail. Then reports started to come that these devices are terribly insecure. On top of that some clever folks swiped Diebold's internal memos and leaked them on the internet. They found a number of interesting messages displaying incompetence and subterfuge. Everyone's favorite seems to be:

“I need some answers! Our department is being audited by the County. I have been waiting for someone to give me an explanation as to why Precinct 216 gave Al Gore a minus 16022 when it was uploaded. Will someone please explain this so that I have the information to give the auditor instead of standing here "looking dumb".

Then, of course, you have the CEO of Diebold making a statement that he is "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year". And last but not least, author and electronic voting critic, Bev Harris, managed to gain remote access to one of Diebold's machines duing the California recall. Good grief. So lately Diebold has decided to start SLAPP'ing folks to get their memos off the internet. Today the EFF announced they will defend two students against Diebold's claims. I have a sneaking suspicion that this company is not long for the world (or at least for the voting machine business).

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