I would say that right now the only clear loser in the voting process is Diebold. They have assured us for months that their Accuvote electronic voting equipment was high quality, very reliable, and suitable to use in the election process.

For some considerable time there has been rumblings and grumblings about the move to electronic voting machines. Ed Felton of  ‘Freedom To Tinker’ fame has posted a number of articles about the Diebold voting machines. They are prone to tampering, and maybe even worse, prone to computer viruses that could lose votes, or even change votes.

Much of this technical writing has gone unheeded by the  press and the general public. Today Ed Felton gets his full vindication. Throughout the day stories have been bubbling to the surface about problems with the wonderful Diebold Accuvote system.

Various news agencies have been reporting problems Network World has a pretty good roundup of the major snafus. Some of the stories detail technical problems, power outages, and machines that just would not switch on, and also machines that were casting votes for the wrong candidate!. It is clear that a percentage of the problems were likely caused by poorly or completely untrained Polling Station personnel.

The untrained personnel issue is probably not Diebolds fault, although if I had been in their position I would have at least made an attempt to ensue that the users were qualified to operate the equipment.

I for one love technology, but this seemingly simple issue of creating an electronic voting machine obviously eludes Diebold and the other manufacturers.

Maybe the Number 2 pencil and a piece of paper is a safer way to vote!

I also discovered this little gem on the web. It transpires that Diebold put a good deal of presure on HBO, for them NOT to air a documentry about the problems with Diebold voting systems. You can find an interesting article, and the entire HBO documentry here. 

Simon Barrett


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