Sunday, May 16, 2004

Voting machine business stormy for Diebold

Associated Press, May 13, 2004


"In November of 2000, I was embarrassed for this country," said Walden W. O'Dell, Diebold's chairman and chief executive.

The Florida fiasco also inspired Congress, which appropriated $3.9 billion for an overhaul of the nation's voting systems -- one that was to be fueled by technology promised by the likes of Diebold.

But Diebold has yet to realize large rewards for its shift into electronic voting.


On Friday, Ohio Gov. Bob Taft signed a bill authorizing up to 31 counties to switch to electronic machines for the November election. The state released only a portion of the money, $38 million, to pay for the machines this year and to educate voters and poll workers.

Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell still would have to figure out how to keep votes secure.

"Every time there is an independent test, security flaws have been identified," said state Sen. Teresa Fedor, a Democrat on the state's review committee. "It's an indication we need to slow down the process."

Diebold has "not shown they know how to build really secure systems, and to me election security is national security," said David Jefferson, a computer scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.

"I don't think there is much likelihood of someone hacking into voting systems," Jefferson added, "but we do know with Diebold's system there can be some mischief."

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