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California Panel Recommends Dumping Diebold

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the panel-which-cried-wolf dept.

United States 526

sdw3u writes "Wired reports that a voting panel urged California officials to stop using a voting machine made by Diebold Election Systems, and recommends that the state consider filing civil and criminal charges against the company." There's also an AP story. We covered the hearing yesterday, with Diebold admitting that their machines had numerous problems.

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I recommend dumping (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8950642)

Especially after eating taco bell!

Good! (0)

phuturephunk (617641) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950643)

Although I believe the lititgation will fall flat on its face

Re:Good! (4, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950680)

Although I believe the lititgation will fall flat on its face

Does it matter? As RIAA has proven (and SCO might yet prove) you don't need a case to win a lawsuit. You only need more money and better lawyers. However good Diebold's lawyers are I doubt they have the budget that the State of California has.

Re:Good! (5, Insightful)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950711)

Given that Ahhhnold became the Governator because of (in part) the shitty budget of California, it's always possible that Diebold has a bigger legal fund. :P

Actually, if they can prove (and it could be very easy to do so) that Diebold knew about the problems with their machines, then it's practically an open and shut case. Sooo... anyone want to help California out on this? No, no, a nice orderly line please. You'll all have a chance to help.


Re:Good! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8950821)

Arnold is kicking ass in CA.

Re:Good! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8950972)

But he is a Republican, and so against everything that the Slashbot Democratic tree hugging bastards are all about.

Re:Good! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8951008)

And what makes you think that only Democratic" people read Slashdot?


Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8950645)



Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8950700)

Shouldn't that be "YOU CANNOT STOP US!"

(and how did *I* get stopped by the lameness filter when the parent didn't? Can a filter be on crack?)


Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8950754)

Indeed a filter could conceivably be on crack. The filter is really an army of one-handed, blind monkeys. They get crack on Fridays and beer on Sundays. It helps them stay motivated.


Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8950771)

Where do I sign up?!!!


Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8950787)

I wish I could post in all caps. :-(


Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8950860)


Online Banking Model (5, Interesting)

mfh (56) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950652)

This is the problem: you've got a system that is rotting away, where people have to drive/walk/take the bus to a designated voting station, register, and use a computer to vote. If you're going to have electronic voting, just throw a secure link online and let people vote through a web interface. Banks are pretty damn secure; why aren't these systems set up the same way as online banking? Sure you'll have criminals trying to break into systems to steal money, and you'll have the same criminals trying to break into voting systems to rig elections, but the bottom line is that if you are going to develop a system that's electronic, follow a system that is alread working: the online banking model.

Re:Online Banking Model (2)

MrRuslan (767128) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950682)

It will work for some people but not all because there are alot of people who don't own a computer...

Re:Online Banking Model (1)

Chess_the_cat (653159) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950724)

So throw some terminals in the polling stations. I think the grandparent has nailed it and I'd like to hear why this couldn't work.

Many many problems (5, Insightful)

visionsofmcskill (556169) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950852)

There are tons of issues with this.

One.. voter verification: the overwhelming majority of voters must present picture ID and face to face with a pollster at their DESISGNATED district for voting.

Two, DDOS and many other types/styles of web attacks, which dont need to break security can easily be driected at say the midwestern states, or the liberal states... rendering their sum vote count down, thus allowing the other states a greater showing.

Three, hard break security, with a physical seperation from any public network, it becomes much more difficult for hackers and RICH politcal powers to corrupt the system. With even polling sites seperated by hard breaks it becomes a decentralized and distributed system that is much more difficult to compromise even if a few nodes are compromised.

Four, anonymity, passwords, and human ID. While we currently have mail-in voting, it is a small portion of our voting poulace, and still reuires a signature far more of a proof that it was cast by said person. With online voting, we would have difficulties verifying voters across disparete hardware, as well as their passwords can be much more easily compromised than a signature for a mail-in. anonymity should only extend as far as the VOTE, not the proof of the existance of the voter.

finaly... id like to say this idea isnt without merit... there are existing security solutions that are very powerfull... i would suggest using them in a CLOSED network entirely physicaly seperete from any public network, with the nodes also seperated.

just my thirty three cents worth

Re:Many many problems (1)

jumpingfred (244629) | more than 10 years ago | (#8951023)

I have never had to produce any sort of ID to vote in the US. I did not have to to register to vote either.

Re:Online Banking Model (5, Interesting)

earlytime (15364) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950920)

I've done security audits for online banking systems, and I can tell you fisrthand, they have weak security. Session hijacking and replay attacks are trivial.

The main reason the public thinks that online banking is secure is because banks don't reveal the security incidents. What bank wants to tell it's customers that fees are going up because a couple million was stolen over the internet?

Re:Online Banking Model (4, Insightful)

eyegor (148503) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950707)

One big stumbling block to wide-spread acceptance for online voting is the possiblity for disrupting an election by launching a DDOS attack against the voting servers.

Want to skew the results? Attack the servers most likely to be used by a people of a particular political persuation.

Re:Online Banking Model (4, Interesting)

nhavar (115351) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950817)

How would you identify the servers used by people of a particular political persuasion. That doesn't make any sense. It's not like all Democrats are going to be routed to a particular box or everyone from St. Louis is going to hit a particular machine.

Re:Online Banking Model (4, Insightful)

Bun (34387) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950895)

You don't have to be sure of individual cases. You just have to know in which direction citizens of the immediate areas surrounding the polling stations are most likely to vote. This is easily accomplished through polling. Then you just knock out the stations in areas where your opposition has a substantial majority of the popular vote.

Re:Online Banking Model (4, Insightful)

eyegor (148503) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950913)

If you have a state or region that is more conservative than a neighboring state or region, you attack the servers that serves that voting district. You will cause the loss of votes in your favor, but you'll cause more votes to be lost that would have favored your opponent.

Another method would be to attack the infrastructure that supports a particular voting district (Obviously, you'd want to attack those districts that lean more heavily toward your opponents).

Re:Online Banking Model (1)

Jim Starx (752545) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950973)

Of course they will, votes still have to be split up by state, and they certainly aren't going to use just one server for the entire state. Trends will arise and people will try and take advantage of them.

Re:Online Banking Model (3, Funny)

Azghoul (25786) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950982)

We know that New York is going to go to Kerry, no matter what happens during the campaign. NY's liberal leaning is a foregone conclusion.

You don't think the Stonecutters would pay a lot of money to DDOS all the servers in NY?

Re:Online Banking Model (1)

consolidatedbord (689996) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950873)

Or, with the way things are now, bomb a building. I don't think you can ever keep the hazards away from voting. No matter what, there is going to be some outside force that could possibly have some adverse effect on the system. We just need to weigh out the pros and cons of every possible setup, and go for that one. I totally agree that the online banking model is an excellent idea.

Re:Online Banking Model (1)

prell (584580) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950969)

Want to skew the results? Attack the servers most likely to be used by a people of a particular political persuation.

I don't see how this would change the results of the election. If there were a DDoS attack, the election would just be extended until such time that everyone who wants to vote is allowed to. Rather than trying to work around the schedules of individuals, you could, once a DDoS attack is confirmed, extend the hours to a new deadline. Also, DDoS attacks are rarely prolonged.

To work, however, this must be embraced fully, so that technophobic/techno-agnostic state officials don't "dump" online voting when it is attacked, and just tell the people who would have voted in this manner to "take the bus to the nearest polling station." I hope it is obvious why that would be very bad, but I'm afraid it could easily happen if everyone is not sensitive enough to the introduction of this technology.

If you complain about people not voting, I would argue that it is almost compulsory to support initiatives to establish online voting. Just be prepared for a bumpy introduction.

Re:Online Banking Model (5, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950744)

but the bottom line is that if you are going to develop a system that's electronic, follow a system that is alread working: the online banking model.

That's not the bottom line. The bottom line is that we don't need electronic voting systems. At best they are a political ploy to score cheap points for looking like we are "doing something" about the mess in Florida. At worst (if you are a tinfoil hat wearer) it's a giant conspiracy to rig our electoral system.

I (and others) have said it before and I'll say it again. What the heck is wrong with paper ballots that are actually auditable? Or mechanical voting systems that don't rely on software that we can't see or understand? Why the heck do we need touchscreen voting? Why are the companies so afraid of putting an auditable paper trail in it?

Why (4, Interesting)

mfh (56) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950878)

> What the heck is wrong with paper ballots that are actually auditable?

Micro-auditing is possible if you check your account after voting to make sure the vote you placed was the vote you wanted. Each user can remember who they voted for, and they could easily call out if their account was violated in any way. Any database can tally up votes if they are micro-audited internally, and cross-referenced. Very standard secure database design will always be able to print a receipt. They could mail you a receipt too.

>Or mechanical voting systems that don't rely on software that we can't see or understand?

Mechanical voting systems are a thing of the past. I really believe that society is ready for online voting.

> Why the heck do we need touchscreen voting?

I'm with you on this one. To me, it's wasteful and really difficult for people to use. What if the person has Parkinson's and touches the wrong button? Better let people use their own systems, and provide systems for those who need them.

> Why are the companies so afraid of putting an auditable paper trail in it?

I agree. Paper is just as important as anything, and the Diebold systems should have printed receipts, and master files that could be audited. Any online system could be printed at a micro-level. Bottom line: you'll know if your vote was compromised. Plus, with online voting, you'll have more control over your vote after it's created, and that truly counts for something. Imagine a nice record of your voting history? That would seriously rock.

The fear is that some people think that allowing users access to their vote history would compromise the secrecy involved in voting, and cause problems, but I truly think that with all the right people involved in such a project, one system could be created that was truly for the people and by the people.

Re:Why (1)

Joseph Vigneau (514) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950994)

What if the person has Parkinson's and touches the wrong button?

Election wardens at each polling place are allowed to enter the booth to assist physically-challenged voters, such as those with poor eyesight, or in your case, those with motor disabilities. This would not change with electronic voting systems.

Re:Online Banking Model (4, Interesting)

RetroGeek (206522) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950934)

What the heck is wrong with paper ballots that are actually auditable?

Combine the two systems.

Use a touchscreen to vote. A paper receipt is printed with a barcode. Take the paper to the counting machine. Insert. Put the paper into a ballot box for possible auditing.

Add encryption to the process for the barcode, and that should be enough.

Re:Online Banking Model (4, Insightful)

fizban (58094) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950952)

You're right, we need paper ballots. That's what everyone is saying who actually thinks about the issue. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't use touch screen voting machines. The benefits are that they create very clearly marked paper ballots, with no room for misinterpretation, unlike the current punch systems or color-in-the-circle-with-number-2-pencil ballots.

The systems shouldn't be completely electronic, but should be a two-machine system, where the first machine is touch screen and easily used by the population that creates a paper ballot and a second machine that takes the generated paper ballot, reads it and tallies the totals. This is the type of system that the Open Voting Consortium (and probably others) are working on creating.

So, basically, I'm saying that you should clarify your statement to say we don't need *entirely electronic* voting systems, but we should still look for systems, including electronic ones, that are easy to use and less prone to error, which includes touch screen voting booths.

Re:Online Banking Model (4, Insightful)

strictnein (318940) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950770)

where people have to drive/walk/take the bus to a designated voting station, register, and use a computer to vote. If you're going to have electronic voting, just throw a secure link online and let people vote through a web interface

It's official, we're lazy bastards. If people aren't voting because they have to "drive/walk/take the bus" then it's a good thing they aren't voting, because if they don't have enough conviction to overcome the miniscule amount of inconvenience involved it's really doubtful they have much of a clue about what is going on around the world.

Voting shouldn't be tough, but it should at least require a small amount of effort.

Re:Online Banking Model (1)

dijjnn (227302) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950977)

It's official, we're lazy bastards... it's really doubtful they [lazy bastards] have much of a clue about what is going on around the world.

That's just patently untrue. Lots of lazy people watch hours of news every day. There is no law against laziness, and most of the lazy people i know are very intelligent.

Let's not get caught up in this protestant work ethic driven "idle hands are the devils playthings" moralizing. So, people are lazy. That doesn't mean that they should be discouraged from participating in government because of their personality.

Be Black (2, Insightful)

mfh (56) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950992)

> they don't have enough conviction to overcome the miniscule amount of inconvenience involved

Okay, you be black for a second. Imagine you have to go to the police station to vote. The trouble involved in voting is actually quite a bit more than a miniscule amount of inconvenience, for some. For some people, the very aspect of voting for some white fool in a suit who will likely screw you anyway, makes the whole system bogus.

With an online voting system, anyone could run for government, because they could freely advertise on the system without having to pay any money. Users could make smart choices based on information present, and therefore a wider use of democracy becomes possible.

The high costs associated with running for office are only due to the costs of mingling with the people. Let's face it, if policy is all the office is about anyway, why not just let policy makers strive for change in their underwear at home? I mean, really... do they need to spend $5mil travelling all over the freaking world, riding in limos and soaking up the cash with big expensive dinners and giant wardrobes?

Online voting would make the whole system more honest.

Re:Online Banking Model (4, Insightful)

caffeineboy (44704) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950789)

Problems with this:
  • Coercion: if voting is not provably private, the local hood could have someone make sure that you vote the way that they like by looking over your shoulder
  • DDOS of the voting computers
  • Cracking of the encryption on the computers
  • Further influence of wealth on elections (you think that poor people can just fire up a browser to vote?)

Perhaps you could have online voting as a supplement, like absentee ballots, but not a replacement.

Re:Online Banking Model (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8951017)

the local hood could have someone make sure that you vote the way that they like by looking over your shoulder

No need - most of the local hoods are on the ballot already.

Whoever you vote for, you're just voting for more corporate rule, with the possible exception of the Green party, but how long do you think they'd resist being bribed if they got any power?

Re:Online Banking Model (3, Interesting)

mhifoe (681645) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950790)

I actually voted online a few years ago in a UK trial. It wasn't very effective though, the software was so poor (IE only etc.) that it would have been quicker for me to to walk to the polling station.

The problem I see with electronic voting is the lack of evidence. The good thing about online banking is the audit trail.

For example, a while ago I was charged six times for the same item due to a webserver problem. Obviously I noticed the discrepancy on my credit card bill and it was quickly rectified.

I'm not sure I would trust a company such as Diebold to correctly accumulate votes. How do I know whether my vote was counted?

Re:Online Banking Model (1)

cosyne (324176) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950797)

if you are going to develop a system that's electronic, follow a system that is alread working: the online banking model.

Problem is that when someone using e-banking can't follow directions, it's their money that's at stake. Try doing that with e-voting, and it's our government that hangs in the balance.

Not to mention the total of like 6 hours of dicking around with the website and talking to bank employees that it took me to get set up with online banking...

Grave yard (1) (142825) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950800)

Why not stick some of the terms in the grave yard so dead people can vote too.

Who says banks are secure?

Re:Online Banking Model (3, Insightful)

yishai (677504) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950828)

Sure you'll have criminals trying to break into systems to steal money, and you'll have the same criminals trying to break into voting systems to rig elections, but the bottom line is that if you are going to develop a system that's electronic, follow a system that is alread working: the online banking model.

Online banking is not anonymous. All of the activity is directly traceable to your account, and you review it all the time. The results from a vote are anonymous, and doing it online is easily subject to fraud.

Re:Online Banking Model (1)

spuke4000 (587845) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950834)

I think a big problem you're going to have with an online system is authentication. With an in person voting system it ensures that Sally house wife is in the booth by herself, and her husband isn't voting on her behalf. A central part of the democratic system is the idea of a single, secret ballot for each person. With an online system you have no way to ensure that.

On top of this, I think you'll have lots of technical problems. Banks make mistakes all the time, but it's cheaper for them to maintain an online system and make mistakes once in a while than have people going to a teller. Also, if a bank makes a mistake they can just make it right by reimbursing you. You can't reimburse votes.

Voting _should_ be a pain (0)

Dr. Bent (533421) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950851)

By forcing people to actually invest the time to drive out, register, and vote you make sure that people actually care who they're voting for.

Lots of people don't care about politics. They don't watch the news, they don't keep track of current events, and they certianly don't give a crap about what some politican's stance is on (for example) software patents or trade regulations with China. These people are simply not informed enough to make a good judgement about whom to vote for, which is OK because voting is too much of a hassle for them anyway.

Online voting is just going to encourage a bunch of one-issue wackos to vote for whatever politicans promises to (Legalize Pot | Raise the Minimum Wage to $10 | Invade Canada), instead of limiting the likely voter pool to people who actually follow politics and have half a clue about what the hell is going on in the world.

Re:Online Banking Model (1)

NaugaHunter (639364) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950882)

Umm.... exactly how does the online banking model ensure that you are you? Or what district you should vote for? Or that you haven't already voted? Where's the paper trail kept? How would the recount work?

Parent is the funniest post in a long time. (3, Interesting)

Tired_Blood (582679) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950898)

because Diebold is a leading producer of banking ATMs.

From here [] :
Diebold controls roughly two-thirds of the North American ATM market, and trails only rival NCR (NYSE: NCR) in global sales.

Re:Online Banking Model (0, Flamebait)

killjoe (766577) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950911)

The bottom line is that the parties have given up on a fair and accurate voting system.

They are both trying very hard to introduce backdoors into the process to give themselves an advantage in the election.

At this time the republicans are in power and the voting machines are being made by companies with sympathies to the republican party.

That's a problem if you are a democrat. It's great if you are a republican.

Re:Online Banking Model (2, Insightful)

PMuse (320639) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950912)

The online banking model depends on verifying the identity of the transactor. And then recording the identity with the transaction.

Voting models separate the cast vote from the identity of the voter. Looking at a potentially fraudulent electronic vote cast over a network, how can its authenticity be verified?

Re:Online Banking Model (1)

pangian (703684) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950986)

Internet voting, while it has been piloted in a few situations (most recently in the Michigan primaries and some localities in Canada), and while it may work in more "trusted" situations Internet voting is an extremely BAD idea.

First there is the protential for technical malfeasence: denial-of-service, spoofing, viruses that record keystrokes, etc. As report in the DOD's SERVE internet voting system mentioned previously [] [] states articulately:

"These vulnerabilities are fundamental in the architecture of the Internet and of the PC hardware and software that is ubiquitous today. They cannot all be eliminated for the foreseeable future without some unforeseen radical breakthrough. It is quite possible that they will not be eliminated without a wholesale redesign and replacement of much of the hardware and software security systems that are part of, or connected to, today's Internet."

Second there is the potential for procedural malfeasence: employers, pastors and friends who "help" people to vote on the internet, internet voting salons sponsored by candidates that make it easy for you get a free t-shirt (or a pint of your favorite beer) with your vote, etc.

The online banking analogy isn't appropriate. Online banking accepts the fact that fraud not only happens, but can be undetected. When it is detected you as a victem can bring in your paperwork and make the case that your account balance is wrong. The bank or insurance companies will likely cover your loss... covering such events is an acceptable cost to banks. With elections these risks aren't acceptable. Not to mention they would be harder to detect. It's not like you get a monthly "voting statment" in the mail--now that would be a bad idea.

Re:Online Banking Model (2)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 10 years ago | (#8951002)

Well, one thing about the bank model is that each transaction is linked to the account owner. This is what provides the audit trail - you checking over your monthly statement and reviewing your account. Since your votes (cf. transactions) are supposed to be secret, there is no way to verify (within the banking model) that your votes were recorded correctly.

Diebold voting machines (1, Insightful)

mknewman (557587) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950655)

After the last disasterous presidential election in Florida would you trust your government to a system that can be hacked this easily? Not me.

Re:Diebold voting machines (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8950742)

The last presidential election was not held in was the ENTIRE country.

No, the Florida results COULD have been disasterous if Gore had been allowed to block the military votes that had yet to be counted.

The Dems are only interested in counting the votes that will benefit them.

Posted as AC due to the liberals on /.

Re:Diebold voting machines (5, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950778)

No, the Florida results COULD have been disasterous if Gore had been allowed to block the military votes that had yet to be counted.

Like Bush trying to block the absentee ballots from Democratic leaning counties? Or the fake mobs of Republican congressional staffers bussed down from DC?

It's a double-edged sword and I suggest you stay away from it. Both of them acted in the most ruthless manner possible. What else would you expect?

Posted as AC due to the liberals on /.

So you don't have the guts to risk a little karma to stand up for what you think is right? It's only karma for goodness sake. Do you think I'm going to go home and cry if this post gets modded down by a Republican?

Re:Diebold voting machines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8950823)

The last time I "risked a little karma" I was modded so far down I had to create a new account and start over.

And this was just standing up for my Christian beliefs. I wasn't flaming or putting anybody down.

Re:Diebold voting machines (0, Flamebait)

EnderWiggnz (39214) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950978)

when you say "standing up for christian beliefs", do you mean spewing bigotted, ignorant crap, or spreading the love of christ?

i'll bet it was the former.

Re:Diebold voting machines (3, Interesting)

Ho-Lee-Cow! (173978) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950753)

Would you trust Diebold with anything after their CEO promised to deliver his state(Ohio) to Bush in 2004?

Diebold election machines are a menace. Demand paper ballots. Even punch cards are more accurate __ AND SECURE __ than electronic voting.

Re:Diebold voting machines (1)

mirko (198274) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950755)

I just find it funny that Schwarzie got elected after appearing in a movie entitled "Rise of the machines"...
Is there a chance the vote could be cancelled or at least proof-checked ?

Re:Diebold voting machines (1)

The Lynxpro (657990) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950948)

"After the last disasterous presidential election in Florida would you trust your government to a system that can be hacked this easily? Not me."

Why not? At the very least, the computer terminals will ensure that liberal senior citizens won't be voting for Pat Buchannon. Granted, they'd probably be intimidated into not voting - which is probably a good thing if we actually want to correct the mess with Social Security - the *Third Rail* of politics. :)

Amazing (5, Funny)

Luminari (689987) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950656)

Only took numerous voting irregularities and complete admission of guilt. Glad to see our swift democracy in action.

Re:Amazing (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8950761)

Die boldy, Diebold.

Sorry Rambo! (-1, Offtopic)

nevek (196925) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950677)

I guess Sylvester Stallone Dosent Have a Chance!

Versions (4, Informative)

thebra (707939) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950678)

The latest version of Diebold's GEMS software that was certified in California is 117.17; the audit revealed that counties were using other versions, such as 117.20, 117.22, 117.23, 118.18, and 118.18.02. The audit also revealed that three counties -- Los Angeles, Trinity and Lassen -- were using software versions that had not been approved for use at the federal level.

Now here's the question... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8950679)

...did the voting machine screw up the vote to get rid of the voting machines that were screwing up?

Figures... (5, Insightful)

RedShoeRider (658314) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950690)

"But members of the panel appeared to disagree with the company's claims, saying repeatedly that Diebold had been less than forthcoming during the state's nearly five-month investigation into its practices, often producing "frivolous" documents or responding slowly to state queries."

Perhaps I'm just a cynic of the first order, but why on earth would they be less-than-forthcoming if they didn't have some sort of adjenda of their own? You would think that, as a large business, they'd be as forthcoming as possible to put the voters (and the investigatigators) minds at ease with the new technology. Of course, if you were hiding something.....

Fudging elections is not a new concept. This is just a new twist on it. /tinfoil hat on

Re:Figures... (4, Interesting)

CreatureComfort (741652) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950910)

"Never ascribe to malice, what can adequately be explained by incompetence."

Re:Figures... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8950933)

Meh, I would say they're just scared of people finding out how frickin incompetent they are. If they have a verifiable paper trail, then there's an actual quantifiable way to show that their machines don't work. I imagine it would be pretty embarrassing to have been given so much money and time to come up with these things, and then have it publicly PROVEN that they were really just half-assed attempts.

What was the quote? "Never attribute to malice what is adequately explained by stupidity"

Re:Figures... (4, Insightful)

Zathrus (232140) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950985)

why on earth would they be less-than-forthcoming if they didn't have some sort of adjenda of their own?

Never ascribe to malice that which can be explained by incompetence.

I'm not really trying to defend Diebold here, but a lot of their statements really do seem to be incompetence rather than scheming. They may simply be out of their league here.

Of course, some of the statements made by their CEO and other execs are so inane that we may be faced with a rare thing (at least in corporations) -- malice and incompetence.

Democracy sucks anyway (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8950691)


America needs you!
  • Criticism of George W. Bush
  • Criticism of Israel
  • Criticism of the War in Iraq
Just some of the flagrant abuses of the First Ammendment by commie insurgents and Terrorists
here in the United States.


Freedom of expression, once the pride of our nation, has now become the biggest threat to its

Fact: Allowing subversive idealogies such as Communism, Socialism and 'Open Source' has exposed
the dangerous possibility that Democrats may be elected into office.
Fact: Freedom is used mainly by Terrorists and Democrats to forward their Terrorist interests or to
subvert the elected government of the United States.
Fact: Allowing subversive non-Christian religions such as Islam or Judaism on American soil has
allowed Terrorists to operate unchecked and money-grabbing Jews to hold us to ransom.

For more information on this and how to join the Ban Free Speech campaign, please visit the
Ban Free Speech website or call the number at the bottom of this troll.

If you are indeed a true patriot, if you too believe that commie liberals should be silenced, Democrats
should be banned, and such Terrorist doctorines as Islam and 'Open Source' outlawed, write to your
elected official, show your support in this thread, or moderate this post up!

Thankyou, and may God Bless America.

Let's wait for the recount. (3, Funny)

Tenebrious1 (530949) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950694)

Did the voting panel use paper ballots or Diebold machines in their decision to dump Diebold?

Apple (4, Funny)

JHromadka (88188) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950697)

At Apple's shareholder's meeting [] , someone jokingly asked if Apple could help out with the voting booth problem.

To more applause and laughter, one shareholder asked if Apple would put its innovation to work and make a voting machine for the state of California.

"We have no plans to do that," said a laughing Jobs. "Hopefully they won't base it on Windows when they do make one."

Interesting turn of events (2, Insightful)

consolidatedbord (689996) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950705)

Just before I was finishing up High School a couple of years ago, this guy that came into my past job worked for Diebold and some how or another we ended up talking about computers. It later on worked out to where he was going to try to get me an interview when I was almost ready to graduate. By the time that hit they ended up laying off a bunch of people at Diebold in his department. (ATM/Surveilance systems) After a few months of phone tag and other run-around I finally gave up and looked for another job. That was before all of this pain with the voting machines. All I have to say, is thank god I didn't get that job. It would have been doing surveilance system work, so I wouldn't feel any pressure from this issue directly, but I wouldn't want the reputation of having worked for a company that fails like this. It's interesting how the bad things in life, can be blessings in disguise sometimes.

Which problems do you want? (4, Insightful)

wayward_son (146338) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950721)

No voting is foolproof. Take your pick of problems.

Would you rather have Computer errors, damaged punch card ballots, broken voting machines, bad optical scanners, or good old fashioned human error?

Re:Which problems do you want? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8950820)

I'll take practically any other problem over invisible votes that I have no way of verifying. If that is the only way votes are kept, how am I supposed to know if the vote I wanted is the one that is recorded? Or that overall the correct number of votes were recorded?

At least with any other method, it is easier to determine fraud, which is arguably the most important thing to prevent and detect in an election.

Re:Which problems do you want? (2, Insightful)

brutus_007 (769774) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950840)

I would trust a machine to count votes or take in the information - it's the humans who tell it how to read and process this information I worry about.

Re:Which problems do you want? (4, Insightful)

killjoe (766577) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950961)

There is a difference.

Failures in punch cards and broken voting machines etc are likely to occur randomly. They are equally likely to harm or help one of the political parties.

In this case there is real and ligitemate fear that the voting machines may be rigged to help one party and hurt another one. Look at some of the statements and actions made by the CEO of Diebold and you'll understand why people object so vehemently.

Finally... (1)

EaterOfDog (759681) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950739)

Nice to see these scumbags get the type of press coverage they deserve. Sometimes they get it right out there in Cali!

Halloween installment of This Modern World (3, Funny)

The I Shing (700142) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950747)

The Halloween installment of This Modern World from 2003 mentions this frightening topic. In case anyone here didn't see it, here's the link [] .

About time... (5, Interesting)

Bored Huge Krill (687363) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950757)

It's just unfortunate that so much (of our) money had to be spent before it became obvious to the point that something had to be done about it. What I found truly shocking was the way that Diebold admitted yesterday that thousands of voters had been disenfranchised as a result of their practices, and didn't seem to treat it as a big deal. Now we have an employee complaining that the state is being "too confrontational" and they should be "working together to fix the problems" Fundamental disconnect here, methinks. If you pay a commercial organization good money to deliver a system, which they get to keep proprietary, it's up to them to fix it. If the system design and software is to be open to inspection, then we can talk about "working together"

This whole thing is like a Dilbert comic..... (4, Insightful)

Kobold Curry Chef (692137) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950760)

The Diebold disaster is typical of what happens when a massive IT project is rushed forward on hard deadlines under heavy customer pressure. Testing and planning get cut back to meet the "marketing" requirements, and funny, it just doesn't work right. In the end, the project gets scrapped, and a lot of money is flushed down the toilet.

Result of the Panel (5, Funny)

Downside (662268) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950772)

The five person voting panel voted 57 to 3.14 in favour of getting rid of the Diebold machines...

Re: California Panel Recommends Dumping Diebold (1)

manavendra (688020) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950799)

What is the impact of this on psyche of general public who is either not very informed about the technical nitty-gritties or the reasons of failures, and onto the voters on the whole?

Its further rather amazing to know a nation so well versed in technology has failed getting something right, that the world's largest democracy - India, got right (they are undergoing elections present using electronic voting machines)

Also with different counties using different versions (as reported earlier), I wonder what happened to the usual quality assurance checks that would normally be in place for such a critical application....

Re: California Panel Recommends Dumping Diebold (1)

tekiegreg (674773) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950892)

Careful how you say that, we still don't know the full impact of E-Voting the India elections, why don't we ask how e-voting went in India one month after the election, like ourselves?

As far as quality assurance goes? Heh, nobody likes to test anymore these days do they?

Re: California Panel Recommends Dumping Diebold (1)

manavendra (688020) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950949)

FYI, the EVM's in India have been used for a while now, though this was indeed the first general election where they were used nation-wide.

The current reports have not mentioned anything changed from the (now) usual process of the use of EVM's, hence it is unlikely at the outset, for anything major to go wrong.

Electronic Voting in India and the US (1)

cynicalmoose (720691) | more than 10 years ago | (#8951006)

Simple solution: outsource the democracy to India. They can do the electronic voting at lower cost and with higher reliability than anybody else can.

Actually, a new, large techno-literate state like India can only be a good thing because it will give us better ideas about how to deal with this kind of problems (why buy American voting machines? Indian ones will do!)

Stocks (1)

hot_Karls_bad_cavern (759797) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950814)

Phones of brokers are ringing off the hook: SELL!!!SELL!!

Seriously, glad i don't own any Diebold at all!

https (3, Interesting)

dijjnn (227302) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950816)

Banks, ecommerce, website authentication... it's used every day; it's certainly secure enough for democracy.

The only other arguments against voting over the net is that, (1) it's defacto gerrymandering because poor people don't have computers and tend to vote for democratic candidates over Republicans; and (2) There's no independently audit-able paper trail. I'm sure (2) could be solved with some thought.

This is why you set up stations at public libraries and other government funded institutions open to the public. You can vote in public, or you can vote for home

Bad Pun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8950863)

I can see in a yet-to-be (never-to-be) printed "Running a Business Handbook", under the chapter "Learn from their mistakes" an entire section titled "How to Die, Boldly"

View of a Pollworker (4, Insightful)

bigirondawg (259176) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950865)

I think it's important to realize that the focus of this problem are personnel who installed uncertified software, and not the electronic voting machines themselves.

As a pollworker in Georgia, which was the first state to use electronic voting equipment statewide, I can say unequivocally that electronic voting machines have made our precinct's elections run more smoothly. Many people who vote in my precinct comment about how much easier they think the new machines are to use than the old punch ballots.

Not only that, but electronic voting is actually more tamper-proof then paper voting, since you can't stuff a wad of pre-punched paper cards into an electronic voting machine. In addition, the voting machines are tightly controlled on election day, and the only way to gain "supervisor," or root, access to these machines is to use a special access card that isn't even taken out of its container until after the polls have been closed, and even then it's used under the supervision of at least 3 people. And even if the ballots were somehow tampered with that that time, you can still see the total number of ballots counted in 3 different places on the voting machines, and those numbers all have to be the same as the paper record of the number of voters that have received ballots that day. Personally, I think it's a very secure system.

Of course, in this scenario in California, if Diebold were using uncertified releases of its software on election machines, that is unforgivable. I don't disagree with the decision to kick Diebold out of these counties based on their irresponsible actions, but that doesn't degrade the validity of electronic voting as a whole.

Re:View of a Pollworker (1)

joggle (594025) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950988)

I think most of the complaints here on Slashdot about electronic voting have been focused on Diebold itself, not e-voting in general. If the software is certified, and better yet open sourced, you wouldn't find too many complaints here.

Reason: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8950877)

It causes cancer.

even if Diebold machines worked... (0, Troll)

The Lynxpro (657990) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950881)

...the California Panel and Legislature probably would've recommended against going with Diebold to supply voting machines. Diebold's management is closely aligned with President Bush, and as we all know, aside from the current Governor, the California government is essentially controlled by the Democratic Party. They would've seized on Diebold's President's statements about "delivering" the 2004 election to the Bush Administration. No matter how harmless the words probably were, they are easily translated into something rather sinister. Granted, vote tabulating machines have always been crooked, and that was the reason why IBM never entered the market. You can read all about it in the book published in 1993 known as "Votescam."

Vote-From-Home is NOT a good idea! (5, Interesting)

LithiumX (717017) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950893)

Every time the subject of electronic voting comes up, you hear people saying that polling stations themselves are part of the problem, or that we should be able to vote from the convenience of home or office.

I disagree. Vehemently.

Voting is somewhat of a ritual in many countries, especially the US. People will gladly talk about their politics, but ask them who they voted for and you usually get the cold shoulder. It's a private matter. You'd have better luck asking them how their bowels are doing. The polls themselves are nice and curtained or secluded, so no one can see. People bring their kids and let them watch, even let them do the final act of pressing the lever or button. There aren't many companies that aren't willing to let their people take a long lunch in order to go vote, and those that don't are not looked upon highly.

When it is your civic duty to periodically go to your official polling station, when you have to go to a specific place that you probably never go for any other reason, where you're around a large spectrum of people of all types that you might not otherwise be exposed to, and go specifically to cast your vote... it means a little more than simply hitting a website and picking the guy who you'd like to have lead.

The percentage of people who vote is truly sad, but it's not a good idea to fix it by making it TOO easy to vote. There must be at least a minimum of effort involved - a place to go, as long as it's reasonably easy to get to. The same place as all your neighbors. When you have to make an event of it, it tends to focus you more on what you're doing, and I've found that people become far less extreme in their politics when faced with this fact.

If you could vote from home, you'd put less thought into it. It would be one step closer to a news site poll, except THIS poll would make our final official selections. People wouldn't take it seriously enough. More people would vote, but the quality of those votes would not carry the same weight.

If the Primaries had been run over the web, I'm willing to bet Dean would have outdone his competition. But people were at an event, a political ritual, and that sobered them into making a more mature choice (though I think there were better people they could have chosen).

Voting should be readily available to the masses. It should be quick, efficient, and as infallible as we can safely make it. But it should also be an official civic act not taken lightly, and deffinitely never done from home.

All technical questions of security and validation aside, the concept of a quick and easy home solution for choosing our national leaders is not a good idea.

It is our fault. (3, Interesting) (142825) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950896)

A local Los Angeles radio host [] was saying that part of the problem is that DieBold posted their code on the internet which allowed people to study the code to find the security holes. I suspect Diebold is saying the same thing.

What they don't get is that, is that if the code was not posted publically, the public wouldn't know about the security holes, but it would have been known to the people at the Bush campaign who arranged for Bush to be elected this time.

Ireland: indemnity for e-voting commission (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8950907)

Irish Times [] reports that the commission investigating e-voting for Ireland sought indemnity from been sued in-case the source code is leaked after the provide it to 'experts' for examination.

Make's you wonder what's in the code.
Last-minute indemnity for e-voting commission agreed - Mark Brennock, Chief Political Correspondent

The Government has been forced to agree to a last-minute indemnity for the Electronic Voting Commission against legal action after hearing that the commission was set to refuse to approve the new e- voting system without such a guarantee.

The move follows the refusal of the provider of the new system to allow the commission examine the confidential "source code" without an assurance of substantial compensation should details of the computer programme fall into the hands of competitors.

The Minister for the Environment, Mr Cullen, yesterday introduced an amendment to the Electronic Voting Bill allowing for compensation to be paid in the event of a leak. While this has cleared one major obstacle to approval of the new system for introduction on June 11th, the commission is considering other aspects of the system before pronouncing on its accuracy and secrecy in a report due in a week's time.

Without access to the source code for the programme, the commission believed it would be unable to assess fully the system's accuracy, and would therefore be unable to declare that the system should be introduced, as planned, for the June 11th local government and European Parliament elections.

Such an outcome would be deeply embarrassing for the Government and the Minister for the Environment, Mr Cullen, who have insisted on introducing the system on June 11th despite sustained Opposition demands for a delay to allow concerns over accuracy and security to be allayed.

This late change, which will probably be voted upon next week, would indemnify the commission and each of its members against legal actions arising from the performance of their duties.

The amendment would also allow the commission, which is chaired by Mr Justice Matthew P. Smith, itself to indemnify others "against any loss or damage in respect of intellectual property rights or other loss or damage that may arise".

The move is understood to have resolved the stand-off between Nedap Powervote, the supplier of the e-voting system, and the Department of the Environment over access to the source code.

The source code is only leased to the Government, and therefore the company has control over who has access to it.

It will now be given to the commission for examination by experts retained by it.

The commission now has just a week in which to complete its report. It was set up by the Government on March 1st to report on the secrecy and accuracy of the system after sustained Opposition claims that there were enough concerns about these aspects to postpone its introduction.

While the Taoiseach and Mr Cullen insisted then that the system would be introduced as planned on June 11th, Mr Cullen said: "If the commission came back and said we don't believe this system does what it is supposed to do, then we would not be in a position to proceed with it."

YES!!! perhaps there is justice in the world (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8950945)

Sue the bastards! take those blind shortsighted morons to court and spank them publicly! Teach you to be so blinded and not run a proper QA, nor open your source code. Muhahahahah there is justice in teh world. Also teach CA gov't not to use open source. In your face Arnold!

Endemic US voting problems (3, Funny)

melonman (608440) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950962)

Would it be useful to have UN observers to ensure free and fair elections?

Re:Endemic US voting problems (1)

LithiumX (717017) | more than 10 years ago | (#8951003)

We don't have to allow UN inspectors, because they're free to enter the country and observe the process first-hand. They might have trouble entering the polling stations, not being registered to vote, but they can sure as hell watch through the windows (where available), or talk to people as they leave.

Now, talking to people *before* they go in could cause some trouble. But we have a fairly transparent voting process compared to most countries, and observation is simply a matter of being in this country while it happens.

Diebold in FL (3, Informative)

G27 Radio (78394) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950980)

Here in Florida we are getting Diebold voting machines. Right now the democrats in the state are fighting to have ticket printers installed on the machines so there will be a paper trail of votes. Governor Bush and the republicans are completely against this for some reason. I'm worried that the coming presidential election is going to make the last fiasco look like a minor glitch. I'm seriously concerned that my vote isn't going to be counted properly.

They did this with Good Reason (5, Interesting)

KarmaOverDogma (681451) | more than 10 years ago | (#8950983)

/. has covered numerous examples of how Diebold has a less than stellar record when it comes to their honesty, impartiality, and a willingness to pursue auditability and quality control in their machines. Here in Ohio, a protsest march was held regarding Diebold's practices at a shareholder meeting.

I heard an interview on NPR today where the chief of marketing participated in the on air talk-show (InfOhio after 9) review of this protest and Diebold's activities with regard to electronic voting. He basically said California's Voting Laws were so complex and constantly changing that they were not upset at having to leave the CA e-voting machine market.

Sounds like the pot calling the Kettle Black to me.

Diebold's CEO and President Walden O'Dell promised to deliver Ohio (which makes me angry to have them here in my state) to Bush in November, donated to the Bush campaign and worked to organize re-election effrts to do the same. Since this time he has publicy apoligized for his public support of the Bush campaign (one would guess because of the obvious suspicions of impartiality and conflict-of-interest, wether founded or not) and vowed to keep out in the future. IMO, the damadge of his public display of support has already been done. He hasn't asked for the money back. I don't think its unreasonable to hope that the CEO and President of a company hawking a product that manages/administers/records voting would treat voting what it is, THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT FOUNDATION OF DEMOCRACY. He and his company are not trustworthy to me.


Voting Assistant (3, Funny)

Prince Vegeta SSJ4 (718736) | more than 10 years ago | (#8951011)

Clippy: I see you are trying to cast a vote, would you like help choosing your candidate?

Individual clicks 'Yes'

  • Click here for Bill Gates
  • Click here for %HTTP 404 Error 'Candidate Not Found'
  • Click here for %HTTP 404 Error 'Candidate Not Found'
  • Click here for Bill, umm Senator Palpatine
Load More Comments
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