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Diebold to Withdraw from E-Voting?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the lots-of-polishing-to-do dept.

Businesses 329

ICA writes "It appears after years of criticism, Diebold may be ready to withdraw from electronic voting entirely. The company is concerned that this relatively small and marginally profitable unit is hurting the company's overall image."

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Latin (5, Interesting)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18239772)

de mortuis nil nisi bonum dicendum est

Re:Latin (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18239832)

wtf does that mean? Latin gets on my chimes.

Re:Latin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18239926)

Speak no evil of the dead.

In my mind, this implies that there is no point to beating up on Diebold anymore as they've thrown in the towel.

Of the dead, speak no evil. (5, Informative)

roscivs (923777) | more than 7 years ago | (#18239912)

Re:Of the dead, speak no evil. (4, Informative)

MrSquishy (916581) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240740)

Thanks, I thought that

"de mortuis nil nisi bonum dicendum est"

translated to

"...massive arrays of hydrogen fueled kitten engines could be the basis for a future energy economy."

Those crazy Latins!

Who Needs Elections: +1, Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18240038)


With this munificent felon [whitehouse.org] ?

Pariotically yours,
Kilgore Trout

thats interesting (-1, Flamebait)

spazmolytic666 (549909) | more than 7 years ago | (#18239798)

What, Did the republicans find an other way to fix the elections?

Re:thats interesting (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18239880)

We had to after finding the Dems were buying the judges.

Re:thats interesting (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18240370)

Why is the standard rep response to criticism pointing out how someone that isn't a rep is being evil, too? Since when does the immoral behaviour of others justify an immoral behaviour of your own?

Re:thats interesting (1, Troll)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#18239884)

Nah, they're just pissed at Diebold for failing to fix the 2006 election correctly.

Re:thats interesting (4, Insightful)

slykens (85844) | more than 7 years ago | (#18239968)

What, Did the republicans find an other way to fix the elections?

I think they're taking the Democratic lead and will just appeal to the dead vote. You know, an FDR-esque "brains in every pot!"

On topic, they're probably right to do this. In my home state of Pennsylvania it is literally illegal for the touch-screen machine to produce a paper receipt so a black-box solution like what Diebold provides will always be open to criticism and question. They could provide a 100% fraud-free election and the loser will still complain. In my humble opinion the best solution is a touch-screen front end with a paper ballot printout that is then available for vote count verification. Run the count electronically, sure, but randomly verify counts of a few precincts and if anything is off you know you have to audit the whole thing. If somebody challenges the results you have a paper trail that was REVIEWED by the voter themselves before being placed in the ballot box.

Re:thats interesting (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18240300)

literally illegal

As opposed to "figuratively illegal"?

Re:thats interesting (5, Informative)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240550)

Us "losers" are complaining because Diebold ISN'T 100% fraud-free, isn't verifiably so, and in fact deliberately designed not to be. blackboxvoting.com

Re:thats interesting (2, Insightful)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240002)

This is more about brand image than anything else- they're afraid people will start noticing the Diebold name on the ATM machines and stop using those banks, because Diebold has not been able to be trusted with voting.

After all, what's more important, voting or money?

Re:thats interesting (2, Funny)

Rick.C (626083) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240194)

After all, what's more important, voting or money?


But, but, but, I though money = votes.


Was that a trick question?

Re:thats interesting (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240280)

No, votes is a subset of money. As is food, as is housing, as is any other good or service. Thus you see, Diebold is making the right decision. Security in votes is unimportant when related to security in money transactions.....

Re:thats interesting (2, Insightful)

Maestro4k (707634) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240588)

This is more about brand image than anything else- they're afraid people will start noticing the Diebold name on the ATM machines and stop using those banks, because Diebold has not been able to be trusted with voting.

That fear is justified, I won't use my bank's ATMs because they're made by Diebold. Given all the horrendous security gaffs Diebold has made over their voting machines (like having a picture of the key that opens them up on their website) I'm not comfortable using my debit card in anything they've designed. How do I know that the ATM was treated with any higher level of security on Diebold's end? Frankly I'm convinced there are just as many security issues with their ATMs, that they just haven't gotten as much bad publicity yet. I'm not likely to trust their equipment in the future either, and if I was ever in a position to be buying their products I'll certainly chose a competitor.

After all, what's more important, voting or money?

Voting, but I have to deal with money year-round whereas we only have elections once a year at most here. Thankfully we don't have Diebold voting machines, but I'll still be avoiding their ATMs. Any company with their security track record doesn't deserve my trust or business.

Re:thats interesting (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240690)

I seem to recall several known security issues with ATMs, too. I'm not 100% certain that all of thee following issues were with Diebold's ATMs, but I think most of them were. For example, there was something about all their ATMs using only a single key or a very small number of keys to open them, so if you could get into the back room behind the ATM, you were in. Something about a standard master reset password that you could find in the manual online (and instead of fixing it, they just pulled the online copy of the manual). And they are based on Windows boxes, so it shouldn't be particularly hard to come up with a security hole you can exploit once you have access to the keyboard/mouse. And then, there was the demonstration of an exploit of the ATM network that could allow snooping. Put those exploits together, and what do you have?

I trust Diebold as far as I can throw them, whether they're doing ATMs or voting machines. That said, I still use their ATMs because I know that my credit union will be liable if anything goes wrong, as they own the ATMs. I still grumble every time I see the word Diebold on them, though.

In other news.... (-1, Offtopic)

dcskier (1039688) | more than 7 years ago | (#18239810)

"It appears after years of criticism, Microsoft may be ready to withdraw from the operating systems market entirely. The company is concerned that this relatively small and marginally profitable unit is hurting the company's overall image."

Re:In other news.... (3, Interesting)

vought (160908) | more than 7 years ago | (#18239876)

Diebold was a respected maker of bank vault, ATM, security (!) and deposit equipment before they started messing with the E-voting market.

As my dad said, don't stake your reputation on something if you can't seem to get the hang of it; he was talking about sports, but it applies here as well. Diebold can't do this well; they should stop doing it and concentrate on their core business.

That, and Diebold has already accomplished what it's CEO promised to do - deliver the Presidency to the Republicans.

Re:In other news.... (3, Insightful)

djh101010 (656795) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240078)

As my dad said, don't stake your reputation on something if you can't seem to get the hang of it; he was talking about sports, but it applies here as well. Diebold can't do this well; they should stop doing it and concentrate on their core business.

Ah, it's going so, so well, and then:

That, and Diebold has already accomplished what it's CEO promised to do - deliver the Presidency to the Republicans.
Funny - I would have expected that sort of talk to end after the latest congressional elections. Or is this one of those "only bring it up when we don't like the result" kind of things.

Re:In other news.... (1)

vought (160908) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240142)

Sorry if it wasn't evident; that last line was a sop to the conspiracy theorists. Not my belief.

Re:In other news.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18240450)

after the latest congressional elections.

Florida-13, enough said. Oh wait, that's right, since both sides had "missing" votes (so much for democrats being idiots who can't operate a voting machine), it must have been a poorly designed ballot that hit exactly one county, since the next county over had a 1% undervote rate even though it's in the same district. [heraldtribune.com]

Re:In other news.... (4, Insightful)

ajs (35943) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240734)

That, and Diebold has already accomplished what it's CEO promised to do - deliver the Presidency to the Republicans.
Funny - I would have expected that sort of talk to end after the latest congressional elections. Or is this one of those "only bring it up when we don't like the result" kind of things.
You seem to have not paid attention. There were wide, and well substantiated claims of Diebold problems in that election, many of which are open to interpretation as to whether or not they were fraudulent, and if so if they were politically motivated (as opposed to just covering for incompetence). The problem was that the elections were so overwhelmingly in favor of the Democrats that these irregularities had little impact.

Here's the thing that bothers me about this, though: EVERYONE should be upset when someone says something like that. His statement should be read as, "I will use the Republican party to tear down democracy." Republicans should take that as a slap in the face, and should be MORE outraged than Democrats! This isn't an us-vs-them issue. If ANY party gains control over voting, EVERYONE loses. Don't imagine for a second that such a change would benefit the core values of the Republicans. As soon as entrenched politicians have no one to answer to, and no means of removal, they will serve their own needs (desires) alone. This has been demonstrated by members of every political organization (regardless of their views) that has ever been given the opportunity to go bad.

This is not a partisan issue. This is one man making statements that are darned close to treasonous and certainly a smear on the reputation of any party that accepts his support thereafter.

Re:In other news.... (1)

coolgeek (140561) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240094)

One has to wonder if their lack of security practices was limited to their voting products, or perhaps it is SOP for all their computer-based technology like ATMs.

Re:In other news.... (1)

jridley (9305) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240342)

Here's what concerns me though; what if their ATMs are no more secure or well-designed than their voting machines? The voting machines were exposed as insecure due to public scrutiny. Who's buying ATMs and reverse-engineering them looking for holes?
I think it's fairly likely that the ATMs only continue to run fairly well due to either being locked down fairly well, or due to being interfaced with the bank's systems that won't allow too much crap to go down, or due to having been designed back in the day when their standards were better.

Good. (1)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 7 years ago | (#18239816)

"It appears after years of criticism, Diebold may be ready to withdraw from electronic voting entirely. The company is concerned that this relatively small and marginally profitable unit is hurting the company's overall image."

Good. What other voting machines need to go next?

Re:Good. (1)

mcpkaaos (449561) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240220)

In truth? All of them. Electronic voting is definitely one of those "just because you can, doesn't mean you should" kinda things.

Re:Good. (1)

checkonetwo (904618) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240324)

ES&S.

Re:Good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18240376)

I was happily surprised with the voting machines they put in here in Illinois (at least, in Sangamon county) especially considering Illinois' reputation for dishonesty, graft, and political corruption ("vote early and often"; the last Democrat Governor went to Prison, the last Republican Governor has his charge on appeal, and half the prisoners on death row were found by DNA analysis to be innocent).

They are extramely easy to use, and they print out a paper ballot that you check for accuracy before putting it in the ballot box.

The hard part is getting a voter registration card! I went to vote in our primary 2 wks ago after moving and found I was still registered at my old polling place. I have to go the the courthouse to get registered, pass through a m etal detector and surrender all my weapons (even my two inch poket knife). WTF?

Almost as bad as the damned capcha; I failed to confirm I was a human. I typed "guests" and the capcha is "quests". Damned capchas lock out real people and let the bots in! I for one...

all of them. (1)

swschrad (312009) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240582)

the only responsible ballot is paper, guarded, and kept under lock until all challenges are met.

whether it is counted by optical scanner or a dreary-eyed bunch of formerly high-minded citizens at 5 am is optional.

When I called for support (4, Funny)

andy314159pi (787550) | more than 7 years ago | (#18239830)

Whenever I called for technical support they would always say, "You know your vote doesn't count anyway."

The above comment was intended for amusement purposes only and in no way reflects true events.

Re:When I called for support (4, Funny)

Splab (574204) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240350)

Well Terry Pratchett puts it nicely in his books (from memory): "The Patrician believed in the one man, one vote system - he was the Man, he had the vote". So Diebold was right.

Re:When I called for support (5, Insightful)

RxScram (948658) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240688)

Personally, I like the quote that is attributed to Joseph Stalin...

"Those who cast the votes decide nothing.
Those who count the votes decide everything."

Err... correction: I don't like the quote, I just think that it is sadly true.

What, a hasty switch from paper to electronic (2, Insightful)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 7 years ago | (#18239834)

Instead of just letting a company have their way with electronic voting, they really should have done research into the best voting method. I think on Slashdot we've reached a general consensus that there should at least be a verifyable paper trail that each voter can see their votes cast on paper. This would help in case of machine failure, or in case of voter fraud committed by the programmer. I'm no expert on electronic voting, but it doesn't take an expert to see there are flaws with the current electronic voting.

Re:What, a hasty switch from paper to electronic (4, Funny)

griffjon (14945) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240026)

I think on Slashdot we've reached a general consensus

And if that by itself is not a landmark event heralding the dawn of a new age, I don't know what is.

Re:What, a hasty switch from paper to electronic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18240146)

Unfortunately, down here in South Florida, even the experts didn't get
the hint right away, either. (And, before the various partisans start
screaming, I'll state that it was idiots on BOTH sides of the "aisle"
who were/are very guilty of incompetency and idiocy where voting machines
are concerned). The county pissed away several million dollars on crap
that didn't work. The workload of my polling site was comparable to the
small town in NH where I lived for a couple of decades, so why they can't
be bothered to use the same mark-sense sheet system as NH is a complete
mystery to me.

Re:What, a hasty switch from paper to electronic (1)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240530)

Instead of just letting a company have their way with electronic voting, they really should have done research into the best voting method. I think on Slashdot we've reached a general consensus that there should at least be a verifyable paper trail that each voter can see their votes cast on paper.
I think a paper trail is just the beginning. I think some other constraints should be: open source code, inspectable by anyone, that can be compiled and compared to binaries installed on machines. But that's just the start. I think having said code in a language like SPARK-Ada [praxis-his.com] (a subset of Ada with annotations in comments that allow for formal correctness proofs), along with openly published correctness proofs for various properties (such as ensuring a vote will get tallied correctly) that can be verified is also a damn good idea. Yes, yes, correctness proofs don't absolutely ensure thing will work and can be expensive to do; however, they do provide considerable extra assurance that can be independently verified, and let's be honest, if there was a place where the extra expense of getting the code right with appropriate extra assurance was going to be worth it, then the software that underlies the democratic process of your nation would be it.

You'll never get 100% assurance of perfection for your software, but I think, in the case of voting software, it is reasonable to expect as much verifiable assurance as possible. That means complete open source code and published verifiable correctness proofs for any properties that matter.

I hope they do.. (2, Insightful)

grommit (97148) | more than 7 years ago | (#18239836)

Unfortunately for Diebold, I'm not of the opinion that if they can't properly make a secure voting machine, what is to say that they can make a secure ATM? Sure, they may be two completely different divisions within the same company but considering how much the top management has avoided doing the right thing to fix their voting machines, I doubt the ATM division would be much different.

Re:I hope they do.. (5, Interesting)

rlp (11898) | more than 7 years ago | (#18239952)

> I doubt the ATM division would be much different.

Very different problem. There are fewer ATM's and banks pay a lot more for them. The are put in place once and generally not moved. They are serviced by trained technicians rather than volunteers. The technology is much more mature. And banks are more concerned with security than the average politician / bureaucrat who's simply looking for the lowest bidder.

Re:I hope they do.. (4, Insightful)

HaeMaker (221642) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240332)

...and everyone involved has a vested interest to make sure transactions proceed in a secure, reliable, verifiable manner. Voting is not the same situation as those with a vested interest can benefit from a insecure system.

To add to that (2, Insightful)

phorm (591458) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240368)

Bank: End-user receipts are allowed and in fact welcomed. When you make a transaction it spits out a little piece of paper that shows your balance and/or banking history

Voting Machine: End user is not to receive a paper receipt, mainly on the basis that doing so could further vote-buying/pressuring/forcing/etc (i.e. a given group threatening dire consequences if voted Y doesn't come out with a slip saying he/she voted for "X")

Re:I hope they do.. (1)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240536)

>Very different problem. There are fewer ATM's and banks pay a lot more for them. The are put in place once and generally not moved. They are serviced by trained technicians rather than volunteers. The technology is much more mature. And banks are more concerned with security than the average politician / bureaucrat who's simply looking for the lowest bidder.
--- ...and it's not the banks money, so they couldn't care less.

Re:I hope they do.. (3, Informative)

vought (160908) | more than 7 years ago | (#18239960)

I'm not of the opinion that if they can't properly make a secure voting machine, what is to say that they can make a secure ATM?

1. The secure transaction networks NOT created by Diebold;
2. The visual and electronic security monitoring every ATM is subject to;
3. Receipts;
4. Government-mandated standards and auditing.

Any other questions?

Re:I hope they do.. (3, Insightful)

ajlitt (19055) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240278)

5. Competition

Hopefully this is a sign (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18239842)

That evoting will be totally eliminated. We need to back to paper and pencil ballots.

Yeah, no way they can tamper with pencil (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240250)

But seriously, I'm not afraid of electronic voting. Online voting would be a disaster.

Business opportunity (1)

starfishsystems (834319) | more than 7 years ago | (#18239862)

Great. This should be a very nice market in which several competent manufacturers could compete.

Diebold doesn't seem to have the will to improve its offering, or even to take an honest look at its shortcomings. It's hard to see how others couldn't do a lot better.

...probably not (2, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240302)

These will always be low bidder projects with thin margins and lousy propects. Look how well the mechanical voting machine company did.

Seriously, you can't make money on something which is (a) an expense which cannot garner any revenue and (b) which is used extremely infrequently.

Re:Business opportunity (2, Interesting)

uarch (637449) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240384)

You'd have to be crazy to want to get into that business. Any piece of hardware that a third party has access to can be modified as long as someone is willing to put in enough effort. There's enough zealots on both sides of an election that you can guarantee someone would figure it out no matter what you do to the hardware.

There will never be truly "secure" electronic voting without a complete rework of every aspect of the process and even then it probably would never be truly secure.

Re:Business opportunity (1)

Cemu (968469) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240428)

Buy the company.
Review the source code and as many machines as you'd like.
Prove/Disprove tampering.
...
Profit!

too late (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18239868)

the damage is already done.... bastards.

I don't blame them. (1)

GregPK (991973) | more than 7 years ago | (#18239886)

I wouldn't blame them. They tried to make something cheap and simple to use like the current systems with easy interactivity. But costs with anything related to the security of a vote will always be high. The only way I see that we could really secure every vote is to send out worm drive usb sticks for voters to just walk up and plug into thier voting office. This way once the vote is entered it cannot be changed. Only read or erased. This would also allow people to vote in the safety of thier own homes with access to far more research at the same time with the power of the internet. This would also make recounts easier.

Re:I don't blame them. (1)

dal20402 (895630) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240408)

Anything that involves the voter having possession of a record of his/her vote outside the polling place, at a known time and in a known manner, is a non-starter. It makes it easier for people to buy votes.

For the same reason, vote-by-mail is a horrendous idea. To solve the problem of people having no time to vote in person, we should have a national holiday on election day, with polls open 5am-midnight, and a requirement that those who are required to work have sufficient time off to vote.

Run! (3, Insightful)

TheSpatulaOfLove (966301) | more than 7 years ago | (#18239914)

Run Diebold Run! Dissolve the division and destroy the paper-trail before the Dems figure out what the real story was for the past couple elections!

Re:Run! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18239998)

Run Diebold Run! Dissolve the division and destroy the paper-trail before the Dems figure out what the real story was for the past couple elections!

Winning the 2006 elections really confused them.

Ignorant Diebold managers destroyed the company. (5, Interesting)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 7 years ago | (#18239924)

"The company is concerned that this relatively small and marginally profitable unit is hurting the company's overall image."

That's absurd. Diebold's voting machines have destroyed the company's image completely, in my opinion. Seriously, if you know something about the history and you have a little technical knowledge, would you ever buy anything from Diebold?

DEADbold.

--
My summary of U.S. gov corruption [futurepower.org] . Where's your's?

Re:Ignorant Diebold managers destroyed the company (1)

Black-Man (198831) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240152)

Oh really? I guess you've sworn off ATM's? Yeah... I didn't think so.

Re:Ignorant Diebold managers destroyed the company (2, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240204)

Unfortunately, it's rather difficult to choose what brand ATM you use. However, it's certainly possible to complain to your bank or credit union about their choice of Diebold ATMs, and it's also certainly possible that the people at banks/CUs who decide which ATM vendor to purchase from may decide against Diebold based on all the negative publicity.

Re:Ignorant Diebold managers destroyed the company (1)

Maestro4k (707634) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240636)

Oh really? I guess you've sworn off ATM's? Yeah... I didn't think so.

I've sworn off Diebold ones, it's not even very difficult to do. I've not seen any of the in-store debit card things made by Diebold around here and I can go into any store that has those and buy a small item and get cash back quite simply. I end up paying less fees this way as well (since my bank charges me fees for using even their own ATMs).

Re:Ignorant Diebold managers destroyed the company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18240744)

Seriously, if you know something about the history and you have a little technical knowledge, would you ever buy anything from Diebold?

They make good safes. That was their original business.

Then What? (5, Insightful)

necro81 (917438) | more than 7 years ago | (#18239962)

If it is true that Diebold is looking to dump this business unit (which hasn't been confirmed or denied - Diebold has only said that an announcement would come sometime), what then happens to all the machines (100,000+, i think)? Surely they, or whoever purchases the business unit, is still on the hook for support, updates, and whatever flak comes when the things don't work right. Those machines aren't going to simply vanish or instantly become secure and reliable. Some improvements can be made by completely changing the firmware, but a great deal of the criticism behind the voting machines was their lack of physical security and lack of a physical paper trail. Those are problems that can't be fixed without drastically altering the hardware itself. What company out there would want to buy this business unit and take that challenge on?

re: Then What? Most likely a stealth subsidiary (-1, Troll)

drdanny_orig (585847) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240230)

My prediction: Donald Rumsfeld, possibly through a twisty maze of companies, all alike, will buy it up, and hire the same or worse neocon(vict)s to run it. Business as usual, just renamed as FairCountCo or the like. No money will be spent on fixes or even engineering, but a boatload of money will ago to newspaper editorial writers in redstate markets (Toledo, Lincoln, Butte, Bugtussle, etc.) And Jeb Bush will come surprisingly close to defeat, but will pull off a "victory" due to the surprise results from Southern Illinois. Rgds, Jethro T. Cornhole Cynic-at-large

Re:Then What? (2, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240334)

Welcome to the way corporations work, and how they get to avoid responsibility for their mistakes, unlike normal people.

If Diebold really wants to divest itself of this division, they have two options: 1) sell it to some other sucker, or 2) spin it off as a separate corporation.

1) is the most attractive option in most cases, since Diebold would get paid for the division. However, if they can't find a sucker with the cash needed, this option's out. As you pointed out, whoever buys this division could be setting themselves up for a lot of problems.

2) is the other option. All they have to do is spin off the division as a separate company, just like Ma Bell was split up into multiple companies, or like Motorola spun off On Semiconductor and Freescale Semiconductor. Then, the new "Evoting Corporation" company is solely responsible for supporting these machines and any other problems they have. And if the new company can't handle it, they just go bankrupt and dissolve. This will leave all the government entities that invested in Diebold SOL, and Diebold will get off scott-free.

It's too bad companies are allowed to do things like this, while individuals are not. For instance, if I commit a heinous crime and don't want to spend the rest of my life in prison, why can't I just cut off a finger and assign that piece of me the responsibility for the crime? I could live out my life without a finger, absolved of my crime, while the finger rots in prison.

Simple way to improve image (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18239980)

Turn States Evidence and toss anyone who might be involved with voter fraud to the wolves.

If you don't have anyone, just fake it....the masses need the blood-circus to go with the bread.

Wait, wait..... (3, Insightful)

LordPhantom (763327) | more than 7 years ago | (#18239994)

....so by proving they -can't- fix their problems, they'll somehow convince the world that their -other- business (ATMs) are somehow reliable and secure?

Sure lack of profitability != bad product always, but I'm not sure how dumping their problem child is going to fix the problem now.

Re:Wait, wait..... (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240464)

Only people like those on slashdot assume or even know enough to assume that if the voting machines are bad that the ATMs *may* be bad. The financial institutions that have been using Diebold products already *know* how secure and reliable they are. Diebold does not need to prove anything in that market. Were I not a slashdot reader, I would not know that Diebold made ATMs. Even after reading this bit of trivia however long ago, I still have not actually noticed the manufacturer of any ATM I have used.

That's one option. (2, Insightful)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240006)

Another option for Diebold might be to fix the problems: print a paper confirmation, make motherboard access a little harder than a luggage lock. We don't ask for much.

Mission Accomplished (2, Insightful)

Sir_Eptishous (873977) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240056)

Hey, Diebold did their job and delivered Ohio [rollingstone.com] .


Mission Accomplished.

Someone's been abusing mod priveledge (2, Insightful)

GodInHell (258915) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240722)

From the article quoted by the parent:

Even worse, many electronic machines don't produce a paper record that can be recounted when equipment malfunctions - an omission that practically invites malicious tampering. "Every board of election has staff members with the technological ability to fix an election," Ion Sancho, an election supervisor in Leon County, Florida, told me. "Even one corrupt staffer can throw an election. Without paper records, it could happen under my nose and there is no way I'd ever find out about it. With a few key people in the right places, it would be possible to throw a presidential election."
Just because it's a conspiracy theory, dosen't mean it's flamebait.

-GiH

Article summary (5, Funny)

Dekortage (697532) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240074)

According to quoted experts, Diebold might dump its poorly-rated electronic voting division. Or it might not.

Lucky for us they did! (2, Interesting)

computersareevil (244846) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240090)

Lucky for us they did get into e-voting, and it has hurt their reputation. If they didn't, we wouldn't have been as aware that if security was their ass, they wouldn't be able to find it with both hands tied behind their back! Their reputation needed to be brought down.
 

Who's responsible for this?! (2, Funny)

EvilGoodGuy (811015) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240100)

"The company is concerned that this relatively small and marginally profitable unit is hurting the company's overall image" Another great company down the tubes, what's next Enron is fudging the books? You critics are killing us all!

company image? (2, Funny)

SolusSD (680489) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240106)

Is it possible to tarnish this company's image any further?

HMMM... (-1, Troll)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240116)

Those vile Liberals made Baby Jesus cry...

they should take a vote on the matter (2, Funny)

gelfling (6534) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240150)

51% against. 53% for George Bush. Case closed.

Re:they should take a vote on the matter (1)

SimHacker (180785) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240620)

And 12% for Pat Buchanen!

-Don

Closed vs Open (1)

dkc (568769) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240196)

ATMs are even more closed than Voting Machines. All a company has to do is convince the bank that their product is secure and there is no one else to answer to.

Simple banker logic proving that ATMs are still secure -
Since:
Department produces insecure product = Department closed by company.
Therefore:
Department not closed by company = department produces secure product.
QED.

"If the ATMs were as screwed as our voting machines, we's fuck those guys off too!"

Come on slashdot... (0, Redundant)

greppling (601175) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240238)

...where is the "yay" tag?

We'll miss 'em (1)

imikem (767509) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240244)

Horseshit, hole-ridden garbage machines foisted off on taxpayers like me, either deliberately, or through plain old incompetence, all to the end of giant profits for unabashedly partisan executives? Say it ain't so!

Maybe now the invisible hand that has slapped Diebold will help bring forth e-voting that sucks measurably less. I'm pretty sure it can be done. Just need a few people with modest amounts of both skill AND ethics.

They did what they needed to do (4, Interesting)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240246)

Maybe I'm a conspiracy theorist, I don't know, maybe I've been in the computer business too long.

Diebold should have been able to make an e-voting system. NO bank would accept the "really, really, it works" hand waving from Diebold with regards to the e-voting. All ATM machines, teller machines, and machines that handle monetary transactions somewhere along the line, produce at least one verifiable paper record of credit and debit for each party in the transaction and agents involved. To do less with voting seems completely absurd. For Diebold to even suggest a system without proper accountability makes absolutely no sense what so ever. They really do understand security and record keeping, what the hell happened with e-voting? As a corporation, e-voting should have been a slam dunk for them.

Ineptitude at such a large corporation is not unheard of, but surely someone would have said something, right? When the president of Diebold said he would do what ever he could to make sure G.W. Bush gets re-elected, it was an event that colored my "benefit of the doubt" stance on Diebold.

I honestly believe that G.W. Bush and company helped fix the election and Diebold was just one of the methods. It only takes slight tampering to sway a consensus or another. When the polling authority in ohio opened ballot boxes to "pre-screen" the supposedly "random" selection in order to avoid a full recount, one has to wonder. In 2000 it was Florida, in 2004 it was Ohio, regardless the outcome is the same.

I think in the U.S.A. we have to ensure our own democracy before we try to bring democracy elsewhere by force.

Just my $0.02

P.S. This is not a flame post, just the words of a sad and disillusioned patriotic American.

Don't Party Yet... (4, Interesting)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240286)

You know that the technologies, hardware and software behind Diebold's systems were not inexpensive. So it's highly unlikely that they will just drop out of this. What will happen instead is that their work will be sold to the highest bidder. And that company will become the new Diebold with the main difference being that this new company will likely have e-voting as their main focus. Expect to hear about a new "better" voting machine before the next presidential elections. If they play their cards right, they'll spin it to make it seem like they are totally new and have better reliability than Diebold did. Then the same old games will be played and we'll have another presidential election tarnished by uncertainty about the results. They play this game enough times and this will seem "normal". Those voters who are happy with the results will not question the results. Those who are unhappy will also stop questioning as the other side will beat them into submission by saying, "sour grapes" enough times. And all will be well for those with the money to buy votes.

Left-wing conspiracy theorists have hurt them (1, Interesting)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240310)

Getting in the middle of a left-wing conspiracy was the problem.

1) Republicans are actively trying to tamper with the votes
2) They are trying to tamper with electronic votes
3) Somebody at Diebold was friendly to Republicans

That was the problem for them. Yes, this is flamebait. But that doesn't make it wrong.

Re:Left-wing conspiracy theorists have hurt them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18240480)

4) Diebold voting machines had an incredible array of blindingly stupid (or deliberately malicious) security flaws.

Since no one has said it... (1)

BalkanBoy (201243) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240312)

(and I searched through the comments, FYI :) - GOOD RIDDANCE!

What we need is voting solutions like this:

http://www.openvotingconsortium.org/our_solution [openvotingconsortium.org]

or this:

http://punchscan.org/faq.php [punchscan.org]

or some combination of the above two.

Let's make this country the #1 democracy in the world all over again. Let everyone know that feasible voting solutions exist in the here and now and are solved with current technology!

Mission Accomplished (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18240318)

You can't "elect" W more than twice, so their work here is done.

Yeah, bottom line (0, Redundant)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240362)

it would be bad if their other overtly secure products (*cough* whitelabel ATMs *cough*) were found to be just as riddle with insecurities...

DIE DIEBOLD DIE

Now, if Redhat would buy Diebold E-Vote software.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18240380)

and open source it,
then perhaps confidence in e-voting can be restored.

Dumbold Voting Machine (2, Funny)

SimHacker (180785) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240412)

Dumbold Voting Machine for The Sims [dumbold.com]

The Dumbold Voting Machine for The Sims enables the simulated people in your virtual dollhouse to vote!

It's an interactive "get out the vote" public service message, in the form of a free downloadable Sims object.

This Sims object is an electronic voting machine that lets your Sims vote between four candidates: Kerry, Bush, Nader and Badnarik.

I've included informative text in this Sims object, which it displays in illustrated dialogs to educate players about electronic voting machines.

A major side-show is the "Monkey" item on the pie menu, which activates all kinds of cool easter eggs, and displays lots of in-game information and news about electronic voting machines.

Please give this Dumbold Voting Machine a good pounding on, and tell me if you have any problems (besides the usual problems endemic to electronic voting machines, which I've programmed into this Sims object on purpose).

At first look, it appears to be a fully functional voting machine. But it actually has a lot of fatal bugs and hidden features, just like real electronic voting machines!

Highlights of Cheats, Bugs and Easter Eggs (Illustrations are here [dumbold.com] )

The Dumbold Voting Machine is programmed with cheats, bugs and easter eggs, which you can discover and read about by playing around with it. It demonstrates and simulates some alarming problems with real world electronic voting machines, with many surprising effects and subtle interactions:

Baxter the Chimpanzee Erases the Voting Log. When you put the voting machine into debug mode and clear the votes, you will see a dialog with the hillarious picture and story of Baxter the Chimpanzee. In your web browser, you can watch the funny monkey movie showing Baxter erasing the voting log! Now your Sims can monkey around with the electronic Dumbold Voting Machines, go bananas hacking the system, fling poo and corrupt the election results just like the pros!

Vote or Die! P. Diddy, lately a.k.a. Citizen Combs, says: "'You all are the X-factor, the wild card," Combs said. "`History is being made here. Our revolution has begun." "Young voters in this country are throwing away their power to have a say about education, healthcare, and any issue that affects them." Combs explains. "These things affect your life, so - Vote or Die!" (If you select Vote, you live. If you select Die, you either get electrocuted, or burst into flames, then you die.)

You punched out the screen! Hey!!! You're supposed to touch the screen, not punch it! Next time, please don't take out your frustration with the lousy choice of candidates by punching the screen. That's not the way to get your vote counted. (Your Sim breaks the voting machine screen. You can repair it if you're skilled enough, but you might want to keep a handyman on call during the election!)

Osama Bin Laden Scares the Piss Out of You!!! Osama Bin Laden wants to scare you into voting for George W Bush, because Bin Laden is grateful to Bush for outsourcing the job of hunting him down to Osama's good friends, the Afghan warlords. Bush's policies have strengthened Bin Laden's cause, and George W Bush says he's not worried about Osama Bin Laden. Bush and Bin Laden both want you to vote in response to your of fears, not in pursuit of your hopes. "Americans all know that Osama Bin Laden doesn't pick our president. The Supreme Court does." -Bill Maher (Your Sim empties their bladder, pisses their pants, and then runs away screaming!)

Accidentally Voting for Pat Buchanan. When you select one of the four official candidates, sometimes it "accidentally" pops up an illustrated dialog asking for confirmation that you want to vote for Pat Buchanan! If you foolishly select "Yes", the voting machine breaks!

News about Black Box Voting.

News about CalTech-MIT/Voting Technology Project.

News about Diebold

News about EFF.

News about Verified Voting.

Dumbold Voting Machine Operating Instructions

The Sims will vote on their own, and it will pop up an illustrated dialog with a picture of the candidate they want to vote for, so you can press "Yes" to accept or "No" to cancel. You can also direct them to vote as you want. Each Sim can only vote once (unless you hack into the voting machine and reset the voter roll, or put it into debug mode so any Sim can vote as many times as they like).

When you put the voting machine into debug mode, you get a bunch of cool administrative commands on the pie menu, to enable the printer, enable the network, show votes, reset votes, reset voter roll, and factory reset. All of these items pop up dialogs with news related to the function you select (like the monkey resetting the vote log).

For your edutainment and edification, I've put pictures and logos into the dialogs, and broken up long news stories into several pages of dialogs so you can click through to read them, or cancel if you like. I've packed more than a hundred pieces of text into the object including dialog titles, text and buttons, so there's lots of interesting, important news you can read in the game.

The high concept, from a game design perspective [i.e. "bullshit alert"]: The Dumbold Voting Machine is intended to be a simple but intriguing puzzle you can "hack into" (like the cheat mode of The Matrix video game), while learning about real issues. It integrates interactive real-life "public service announcements", subversive "product displacements", and constitutionally protected "free speech". It addresses late breaking news, current events and political opinions. It's free speech and political commentary rendered as executable multimedia software. The Dumbold Voting Machine acts out the story interactivally, in a way that's fun to play and experiment with. It breaks down in frustrating "failure modes" with egregious "security holes" that illustrate some difficult problems with actual electronic voting machines in the real world. It's meant to stimulate discussion, illustrate how computer programming is free speech, and why all election software should be open source and publicly inspectable.

OT: Secure Tallying (2, Interesting)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240442)

What we really need to do electronic voting is secure tallying. We need a public, verifiable way of checking that the tallies are legitimate. We also need to make sure that they are also anonymous.

Any proposed method of verifying your electronic vote, whether it's a paper receipt, a bar code, or a website that you can check later on, is susceptible to being left out of the tally. So what if the website reports that it has correctly recorded your vote? You have no way of knowing whether your verified vote is counted in the official tally. Even if you see a vote exactly like yours in the official tally, it may or may not belong to you. With anonymous voting, several people might be looking at a single ballot, all thinking it was the one that they cast.

I'm trying to imagine a system where we can all have verified votes and make sure that they are affecting the official tally, but still maintain anonymity in the vote. Voting is basically a system where each voter can affect the outcome of the election by exactly one vote, for each office and issue. Perhaps a system where each voter adds encrypted strings of their vote to the official tally. Each voter can decrypt the official tally string and see that their vote has affect the tally. At the end of the election the last voter turns their decryption string to the officials, and the tallies are decrypted.

As you can tell, I'm not a mathematician nor a computer scientist. Please feel free to chime in and criticize or offer new ideas.

Re:OT: Secure Tallying (2, Insightful)

Twinkle (84777) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240632)

"What we really need to do electronic voting"...

let me stop you right there.

abouttime (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18240470)

tagged abouttime

Rats Leaving the Sinking Ship (4, Interesting)

randall_burns (108052) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240476)

Personally, I see no other purpose in the design of Diebold voting systems other than to facilitate fraud. Seriously, there just aren't any really good protections built into the whole device.

Now, that it appears very likely that in 2008, Democrats will control both houses of congress and the presidency,I can understand why the folks at Diebold are worried about things like future investigations of their business. I really can believe it might make business sense for the Diebold management to dump their voting machines business at a loss-and let somebody else hold that hot potatoe. I would also expect some substantial managerial turnover is in order too.

Now, the problem is that Diebold is just the most visible of several corrupt companies here. I wouldn't forget about ES&S--which is another major player in the market-and which has similar problems.

They could sell the division back to crooks (4, Informative)

grandpa-geek (981017) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240542)

According to Black Box Voting (http://www.bbvforums.org/forums/messages/1954/173 05.html?1138394704) the company that originally designed the Diebold machines was founded by five convicted felons. Four were perpetrators of sophisticated fraud and the fifth was a drug-dealer prison buddy of one of the fraudsters.

The criminal records of these people would make them ineligible to carry bedpans in Maryland nursing homes, but of course there are no criminal record checks for people who design and maintain voting machines.

The criminal backgrounds of Global's original founders gives reason to suspect that the widespread security vulnerabilities of the machines were not due to mere incompetence but might have been connected to some kind of nefarious scheme concocted by their criminal minds.

Accordingly, let me suggest that a proper purchaser for Diebold Election Systems might be some international criminal syndicate, for example the Russian Mafia, the drug cartels, or perhaps some criminal group fronting for terrorists. That would, in a sense, return the machines to people with the backgrounds of the founders of the original developer.

The Russian Mafia could make voting systems a subsidiary of their organization that reportedly is responsible for all the recent spam related to pump-and-dump penny stock schemes. They certainly have sophisticated computer capability behind those schemes. They could auction election victories just like they now reportedly auction cybercrime facilities and exploits.

Just some thoughts.

the way out: just close the division. (1)

swschrad (312009) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240552)

no support, no parts, just give back the 800 number and get the (f) out.

take the losses and teach a lesson: building a division to irregularly "count" votes without safeguards, and having your CEO pushing a candidate who was widely seen as becoming president through a vote steal is truly irresponsible.

I will appropriate somebody else's sig for emphasis... approximate quotes... "the four boxes of freedom... soap, ballot, jury, and ammo." diebold election systems appears hell-bent on skipping the jury box. they must die.

... Translation: (0, Flamebait)

IPFreely (47576) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240574)

Translation:
We got what we wanted from the unit, a Bush presidency and business friendly congress. Now that Bush is over and the congress has gone over to the Dems and there is no new candidate on the horizon that is as business friendly as we would like, then there is not much point in continuing the effort.

Get the facts straight (5, Informative)

blueforce (192332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240576)

[Disclaimer, I live and work down the road from the Diebold corp offices and have family that work there.]

I know it's asking a lot from the /. crowd, but try getting the facts straight before throttling the company and writing it off as a total incompetent.

Diebold didn't make the voting machines, it purchased the company that did: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diebold_Election_Syst ems [wikipedia.org]

For those too lazy to click the link:

"Diebold Election Systems is currently run by Bob Urosevich [1] who has worked in the election systems industry since 1976. In 1979, Mr. Urosevich founded American Information Systems. He served as the President of AIS now known as Election Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S) from 1979 through 1992. Bob's brother, Todd Urosevich, is Vice President, Aftermarket Sales with ES&S, DES's chief competitor. In 1995, Bob Urosevich started I-Mark Systems, whose product was a touch screen voting system utilizing a smart card and biometric encryption authorization technology. Global Election Systems, Inc. (GES) acquired I-Mark in 1997, and on July 31, 2000 Mr. Urosevich was promoted from Vice President of Sales and Marketing and New Business Development to President and Chief Operating Officer. On January 22, 2002, Diebold announced the acquisition of GES, then a manufacturer and supplier of electronic voting terminals and solutions. The total purchase price, in stock and cash, was $24.7 million. Global Election Systems subsequently changed its name to Diebold Election Systems, Inc."

Diebold is actually well-respected and admired in this area. Diebold election systems are based in Texas whereas the financial systems are here in NE Ohio. I interviewed there for an SE position a couple of years ago, toured their ATM lab, and spent some quality time with some of their software engineers. They seemed to have a very competent operation and I enjoyed the interview. (I ended up taking a different job with another large international corp for other $elfi$h reason$ (I have a family to feed)) I heard the same moaning from the employees I met that I hear from family members who work there - something similar to "those stupid voting machines make us look bad." I have yet to meet an employee, management or otherwise, who has anything good to say about the elections systems division.

Wally O'Dell is largely (if not solely) responsible for the elections systems debacle. It's no secret that he lead the company right into this political mess at the expense of the company's and his own reputations.

Don't torpedo the whole company just because the former CEO bungled a bad deal with a flawed political agenda. It'll eventually work out in the wash, then you can cast aspersions on a new company TBA.

Does this mean e-voting goes away in general? (2, Interesting)

ErichTheRed (39327) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240680)

With all the negative press surrounding electronic voting, I wonder if this signals a jump back to the standard paper or mechanical voting machines. Any election can be fixed, but I've always felt electronic voting isn't quite ready yet. Given that most people wouldn't understand how an electronic voting machine could produce wrong or fraudulent results, it's probably not the best thing to introduce right now. People understand the idea of improperly marked paper ballots or an election official tampering with the older mechanical tabulators. People don't fully grasp the idea of a group of hackers, whether for fun or profit, gaining access to or changing vote results.

I say we should wait until computer security really is nailed down. Not just because Symantec or other vendors say we're secure, but because it's actually so. Listening to security vendors do presentations at work to the executives is a painful exercise. The common theme is "buy this box, and you're 100% secure from these threats." I think it's going to take a lot of convincing (and a few examples) to change people's thoughts on this.

Brazil elections... (4, Interesting)

vhogemann (797994) | more than 7 years ago | (#18240704)

What I find amusing, is how much success we had using electronic voting machines here at Brazil... we have been using these for almost 10 years now. The last presidential election was almost entirely conducted using these machines... and only a few on the entire country had to be replaced due failure.

Of course there are some issues to be sorted, but overall it was a huge improvement over the old paper-based system.

So, why did Brazil succeed where the USA failed?
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