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Diebold Rebrands What No One Wants

CowboyNeal posted about 7 years ago | from the rose-by-a-different-name dept.

Businesses 175

Irvu writes "Diebold has apparently failed in their bid to sell their tainted elections systems unit. Unable to find a buyer the CEO of Diebold promised that the system will be run more 'openly and independently.' To prove that they are serious, they renamed it. Diebold Election Systems is now Premiere Election Solutions. They still sell GEMS, AccuVote OS and the ever-unpopular AccuVote-TSX which performed so disastrously in California's Top-to-Bottom Review under the same names. Apparently their rebranding effort only goes so far."

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ATTN: Top-Posting Whores (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20256943)

Place your comments below this one.
 

Internet Trolls (0, Offtopic)

Leftist Troll (825839) | about 7 years ago | (#20256971)

What Is A Troll?

The term derives from "trolling", a style of fishing which involves trailing bait through a likely spot hoping for a bite. The troll posts a message, often in response to an honest question, that is intended to upset, disrupt or simply insult the group.

Usually, it will fail, as the troll rarely bothers to match the tone or style of the group, and usually its ignorance shows.

Why do trolls do it?

I believe that most trolls are sad people, living their lonely lives vicariously through those they see as strong and successful.

Disrupting a stable newsgroup gives the illusion of power, just as for a few, stalking a strong person allows them to think they are strong, too.

For trolls, any response is 'recognition'; they are unable to distinguish between irritation and admiration; their ego grows directly in proportion to the response, regardless of the form or content of that response.

Trolls, rather surprisingly, dispute this, claiming that it's a game or joke; this merely confirms the diagnosis; how sad do you have to be to find such mind-numbingly trivial timewasting to be funny?

Remember that trolls are cowards; they'll usually post just enough to get an argument going, then sit back and count the responses (Yes, that's what they do!).

How can troll posts be recognised? [straightdope.com]

        * No Imagination - Most are frighteningly obvious; sexist comments [indiana.edu] on womens' groups, blasphemy on religious groups .. I kid you not.
        * Pedantic in the Extreme - Many trolls' preparation is so thorough, that while they waste time, they appear so ludicrous [trolltalk.com] from the start that they elicit sympathetic mail - the danger is that once the group takes sides, the damage is done.
        * False Identity - Because they are anonymous cowards, trolls virtually never write over their own name [catb.org] , and often reveal their trolliness (and lack of imagination) in the chosen ID. As so many folk these days use false ID, this is not a strong indicator on its own!
        * Crossposting - Any post that is crossposted to several groups should be viewed as suspicious, particularly if unrelated or of opposing perspective. Why would someone do that?
        * Off-topic posting - Often genuine errors, but, if from an 'outsider' they deserve matter-of-fact response; if genuine, a brief apposite response is simply netiquette; if it's a troll post, you have denied it its reward.
        * Repetition of a question or statement is either a troll - or a pedant; either way, treatment as a troll is effective.
        * Missing The Point - Trolls rarely answer a direct question - they cannot [angelfire.com] , if asked to justify their twaddle - so they develop a fine line in missing the point.
        * Thick or Sad - Trolls are usually sad, lonely folk, with few social skills; they rarely make what most people would consider intelligent conversation. However, they frequently have an obsession with their IQ and feel the need to tell everyone. This is so frequent, that it is diagnostic! Somewhere on the web there must be an Intelligence Test for Trolls [flayme.com] - rigged to always say "above 150"

Who is at risk?

Any newsgroup, bulletin board, forum or chatroom can attract trolls, but they don't have the brains to attack nuclear physicists, and they are drawn to the quick response where sex, religion and race are found; so politics is easy prey.

One troll famously tried to infiltrate a mensa group; the results read like 100 trolls and one regular, it didn't have a chance - but it was stupid enough to persist until removed.

When Should You Be Concerned?

Usually, no, though fractured funny bones and occasional waves of nausea have been reported.

When a troll become persistent and personal, you may need to consider the possibility that it has fermented into an Internet Stalker - equally pathetic, if not more so - but sometimes requiring weedkiller. Find Out More [flayme.com]

Trolls - if they had brains, they just might be dangerous!

Re:Internet Trolls (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about 7 years ago | (#20257469)

You actually got people to mod you informative AND off topic. That is some good comedy.

Re:Internet Trolls (1)

thripper (965380) | about 7 years ago | (#20257965)

The ATM's on the Obudai island in Hungary, at the sziget festival were made by diebold. Couldn't get them to spit money tough ...

Re:ATTN: Top-Posting Whores (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20256977)

Have a tall frosty glass of.... SHUT THE HELL UP!

Stick with paper (5, Funny)

the_other_one (178565) | about 7 years ago | (#20256961)

There are:
    old voting systems
[X] paper
    bold voting systems
[ ] electronic

There are no old bold voting systems.

DIE bold.

Re:Stick with paper (0)

rts008 (812749) | about 7 years ago | (#20257319)

No mod points to give you, but very well done!

Re:Stick with paper (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20258121)

Hey, paper works, and we've been using it successfully for years. [mailto]

Re:Stick with paper (3, Funny)

crashlanding (894973) | about 7 years ago | (#20258133)

Hey,
What about the Van Eck method of monitoring the voting results?
Emanation monitoring could lead to some interesting early results!
Yeah!

True to their name (2, Funny)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | about 7 years ago | (#20256963)

At least their death (and "rebirth") was rather bold.

Why can't they have the people who make there ATMs (2, Interesting)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | about 7 years ago | (#20256997)

work on the voting systems?

Re:Why can't they have the people who make there A (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20257015)

When your ATM gets scammed: All you lose is money.
When your voting system gets scammed: You lose your rights.

They're looking at a different market. (5, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | about 7 years ago | (#20257065)

With a bank, if you get the numbers wrong, you lose that bank as a client FOREVER.

With an election, if you get the number wrong, you have a politician who will be your friend for life.

Think about it. They can handle billions of dollars, but they can't keep a million votes straight? At some point you realize that it isn't incompetence. It's their goal.

Re:They're looking at a different market. (3, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | about 7 years ago | (#20257371)

The billions of dollars are trackable, accountable, and attributable.

The millions of votes are supposed to be secret, anonymous, and unique.

Tell me you don't see a difference with a straight face.

(And hey: if you want to believe that every electronic election is rigged, no matter how eventually open source, now matter how eventualy trackable by paper-trail, etc., be my guest. Keep in mind that most of the electronic voting solutions were the result of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), which was supposed to address the alleged and/or real problems and unfairness of 2000...)

Re:They're looking at a different market. (4, Insightful)

The One and Only (691315) | about 7 years ago | (#20257761)

And hey: if you want to believe that every electronic election is rigged, no matter how eventually open source, now matter how eventualy trackable by paper-trail, etc., be my guest.

You do realize that none of those terms describes the Diebold system, right?

Keep in mind that most of the electronic voting solutions were the result of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), which was supposed to address the alleged and/or real problems and unfairness of 2000...

You say that as if federal legislation could never lead to horrible, unforeseen consequences.

Re:They're looking at a different market. (4, Insightful)

archeopterix (594938) | about 7 years ago | (#20258461)

And hey: if you want to believe that every electronic election is rigged, no matter how eventually open source, now matter how eventualy trackable by paper-trail, etc., be my guest.
"Every" is a very strong word, but I'd say that it is very hard to get an electronic system right.

Open source? Sure - but how do I know that the machine is actually running the code I reviewed? Trackable by paper trail? Good, but you need to: 1) let the voters check their part of the paper trail 2) have someone check the paper trail with the electronic record. If you believe that this is not effectively doubling the traditional ballot, then be my guest.

Re:They're looking at a different market. (1)

obsolete1349 (969869) | about 7 years ago | (#20258557)

I've devised a perfect way for electronic voting to work. It has to be in--bear with me--another universe. It requires 1.21 JigaWatts of electricity to make it work. Basically it's freaking impossible to do electronic voting. So either we update the 'business model' of voting or we stick to the old 'business model' and keep doing paper ballots. Surely there's some new paradigm to voting?

Re:Why can't they have the people who make there A (0, Redundant)

pembo13 (770295) | about 7 years ago | (#20257147)

I think Diebold does in fact make ATM machines.

Re:Why can't they have the people who make there A (2, Informative)

Andy Dodd (701) | about 7 years ago | (#20257341)

That was the point - Diebold does, and their ATM machines (unlike their voting solutions) are extremely secure. The poster was wondering why the people who are involved with their ATM design don't seem to be involved with their voting system design.

Other replies did a good job of explaining why this is...

Re:Why can't they have the people who make there A (1)

RMingin (985478) | about 7 years ago | (#20257533)

Secure maybe. The one at the local Wawa goes into a BSOD/reboot loop about once a month. It's really amusing when it loops while debiting your account. I've personally had to call the bank twice to get a series of thousands of non-existant 20$ withdrawals reversed. I'd rather they got to the 'die' part of their name already.

Re:Why can't they have the people who make there A (3, Insightful)

infonography (566403) | about 7 years ago | (#20257211)

Because the money is in making it NOT work right.

Re:Why can't they have the people who make there A (1)

KillerCow (213458) | about 7 years ago | (#20257451)

because it's a different problem.

With ATMs, both sides of the transaction get to audit it to make sure that they aren't getting ripped off. With voting, no party gets to audit. If anyone could audit that your vote was cast correctly, then they could also buy votes and audit that the vote was cast as bought, or you boss could just audit that you voted the way that he told you to, or the gang down the street could audit that you voted how they told you to... etc.

An ATM is a much simpler problem because it is more transparent.

Auditing votes (1)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | about 7 years ago | (#20257499)

It ought to be possible ( using PGP ) to have the vote counters return to you a code that is your vote encrypted. Only you can decrypt it. If it is not correct, you can go public.

Re:Auditing votes (2, Insightful)

BitchKapoor (732880) | about 7 years ago | (#20257807)

It ought to be possible ( using PGP ) to have the vote counters return to you a code that is your vote encrypted. Only you can decrypt it. If it is not correct, you can go public.


No, that's not good enough—even you shouldn't be able to prove you voted a certain way unless the ballot itself is checked. Otherwise the person to whom you sold your vote/who bullied your vote out of you can just ask for your encrypted vote code.


Re:Auditing votes (1)

Skreems (598317) | about 7 years ago | (#20257905)

There are ways around that. If you were really worried about extortion being a problem, you could allow people to generate an indistinguishable "fake" vote receipt which would indicate a vote other than your actual one. The real problem is, they can track your vote and return to you what you entered, but it's still not proof that the vote you cast makes it into the final tally.

Re:Auditing votes (1)

belmolis (702863) | about 7 years ago | (#20258005)

You could set it up so that it took two keys to decrypt, your own and the auditor's. You wouldn't be able to reveal your vote to an extortionist, only to the auditor.

Re:Auditing votes (1)

Xiaran (836924) | about 7 years ago | (#20258593)

Unless the auditor and extortionist are the same person :)

Re:Why can't they have the people who make there A (3, Interesting)

eh2o (471262) | about 7 years ago | (#20257693)

Diebold obtained the voting system through an acquisition. The system was created from the ground up by a completely different team, and thus no connection to the ATM guys. In fact many of the transgressions had already taken place at the time of buyout, it just was not well known yet.

Independent review (of the leaked source code) concluded that the code base was of shockingly low quality, lacking in many basic principles of secure and defensive design, most likely written by programmers with very little training. Unfortunately this didn't stop it from being election-ready certified, which I imagine is where the real value was for Diebold.

Unfortunately, as any decent coder knows, a huge mess of spaghetti code is nearly impossible to fix short of a complete rewrite, which is probably why the system hasn't gotten any better since then.

Re:Why can't they have the people who make there A (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 7 years ago | (#20258025)

Independent review (of the leaked source code) concluded that the code base was of shockingly low quality, lacking in many basic principles of secure and defensive design, most likely written by programmers with very little training. Unfortunately this didn't stop it from being election-ready certified, which I imagine is where the real value was for Diebold.

Unfortunately, as any decent coder knows, a huge mess of spaghetti code is nearly impossible to fix short of a complete rewrite, which is probably why the system hasn't gotten any better since then.

Just goes to show you really don't wanna hire your brother in law to work on important stuff...

who says ATMs are all that great? (2, Insightful)

JimBobJoe (2758) | about 7 years ago | (#20258263)

Why can't they have the people who make there ATMs work on the voting systems?

The elections machines have been subjected to numerous public tests, the results of which are available to everyone. The ATMs have not. We are told that the ATMs are dependable and secure, but I don't think we really know and I haven't seen much from the banking industry that implies that they are somehow all that much more sophisticated computer security wise than anyone else.

I believe the main reason that ATMs aren't a security issue is because it'd take too long to stand there to hack the machine and the payoff isn't all that great. You can rob a bank in a minute with a gun and get a few grand.

Good idea. (2, Funny)

WK2 (1072560) | about 7 years ago | (#20257003)

Got caught sleeping on the job? Producing crap? Everybody hates you? Have a bad reputation? Change your name! Maybe some people will think you are a new company.

Re:Good idea. (4, Funny)

vought (160908) | about 7 years ago | (#20257421)

Premiere Election Solutions

Now when elections are stolen, people will be PESsed off.

Re:Good idea. (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 7 years ago | (#20257647)

no, its Premiere Open Systems.

and yes, it really is a POS.

Re:Good idea. (3, Funny)

dbIII (701233) | about 7 years ago | (#20257791)

Got caught sleeping on the job? Producing crap? Everybody hates you? Have a bad reputation? Change your name! Maybe some people will think you are a new company.

Matrix voice: "We've been watching you for some time Mr Anderson".

Re:Good idea. (1)

untaken_name (660789) | about 7 years ago | (#20258143)

I would say it worked for SWB/Cingular (Cingular is now the new AT&T!(C)(TM)(R)), but I hated AT&T even more than SWB, so it's a net loss from my perspective. If you have to change your name, your company is doing something wrong. Now, if you just decide you WANT a new name, that's one thing...but if you feel the NEED to change your name, you might want to think about going into another industry.

Diebold and Microsoft (1)

biocute (936687) | about 7 years ago | (#20257005)

Why did Diebold get sidelined after it made a bad product, and couldn't get out of the bad reputation, while Microsoft also makes bad products, and people can't get enough of it, and MS hardly try to change its name!

Re:Diebold and Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20257115)

The reason seems to have something to do with lots of green pieces of paper. Some of these used to reside in my wallet.

Re:Diebold and Microsoft (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about 7 years ago | (#20258325)

Which was a remarkably US-centric poetic device for a British author to use, when you think about it.

Re:Diebold and Microsoft (2, Insightful)

pembo13 (770295) | about 7 years ago | (#20257127)

Microsoft has a stronger marketing department.

Re:Diebold and Microsoft (2, Funny)

grasshoppa (657393) | about 7 years ago | (#20257167)

It's a difference of audience. Diebold sells to the government, who hates it when the public points out that it's getting raped by a private contractor.

MS is aimed at corporations, who are top heavy with clueless idiots. You can point out the obvious to them, and they will blindly keep doing whatever it is they were doing, even if it tanks the company. Afterwards, they will be hired by another company to do the exact same thing over again, only they will get paid WAAAAY more this time around.

Re:Diebold and Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20258683)

Why do you write so poorly?

Have to go by the track record (-1, Flamebait)

transporter_ii (986545) | about 7 years ago | (#20257019)

They have consistently tried to do the wrong thing at every turn. It is like Bill Clinton, if he had just messed up once or twice with women, it wouldn't have been a huge deal, but he did it over and over and over again. So it is pretty clear he wasn't going to change his ways.

Also, after Gator software rebranded, I didn't rush out to install bonsaiBuddy...just look at their track record. Claria or not, I'm not touching anything they put out regardless of the name.

Transporter_ii

Re:Have to go by the track record (1, Funny)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | about 7 years ago | (#20257351)

Right because as we all know, that a man will only have one female sexual partner in his whole life...

It still is shocking that SOME people gave a dam. Most people fuck around all the time, and its probably the only reason to really be alive. I mean computers are nice folks but i'd rather have my fingers else where.

Yeah, obligitory, I'm not getting it lately either (1)

hmccabe (465882) | about 7 years ago | (#20258395)

"Right because as we all know, that a man will only have one female sexual partner in his whole life..."

This is Slashdot. Some guys should be so lucky.

Re:Have to go by the track record (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20257505)

how the fuck does where a man sticks his dick have any kind of relevance on his competence in country running?

if a guy makes good leadership decisions we shouldn't be judging him on sex. shit, we shouldn't even want to know about who he fucks! bob my accountant could be gay for all i know, i still appreciate he's the best man to do my tax.

personally, i'd prefer a well-laid president. probably start less wars in an effort to enhance his apparently lacking masculinity. maybe we should shout bush a hooker - 'y'know, on reflection, maybe we should just not shoot them quite so much and be friendly and perhaps they'll like us.. maybe invasion isn't the best way to say i like and respect your nation.. whew, what was i getting so excited about? here i was thinking there was this axis of evil and all it was was the fact i hadn't gotten laid in five years!'

sheesh..

Putting frosting on a turd.... (2, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | about 7 years ago | (#20257021)

doesn't change it into chocolate cake!

Re:Putting frosting on a turd.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20257169)

A turd-blossom by any other name is still a turd. Maybe Karl Rove should get involved, it seems right up his alley...

Re:Putting frosting on a turd.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20257621)

A turd-blossom by any other name is still a turd. Maybe Karl Rove should get involved, it seems right up his alley...

Now that you mention it, it would be great to see someone shove a Diebold voting machine up Karl Rove's ass, wouldn't it?

Gee, I wonder why not? (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | about 7 years ago | (#20257033)

Dems: D'oh! Lost another one to Diebold!

surely we can do better for a rebrand (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20257063)

we need to brainstorm some, how about

- Guaranteed Result Election Systems

- Early and Often Voting Machines

- DPV (Dead People Vote) Solutions

- NTSC (Never Twice the Same Count) Electionware

Re:surely we can do better for a rebrand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20257731)

I don't think your suggestion is necessary. Premiere Election Solutions, abbreviated as PESt, does a pretty good job describing the product.

It should be obvious ... (1)

tomhudson (43916) | about 7 years ago | (#20257071)

"Apparently their rebranding effort only goes so far."

Politicians want to know what they're buying when they buy an election. They KNOW Diebold can deliver the votes!

I smell a business opportunity here... (2, Interesting)

Dr_Marvin_Monroe (550052) | about 7 years ago | (#20257073)

This seems like just the opening that an "open" company would need to really turn the US upside-down. The failure to sell the business unit means people are scared of being associated with the closed-source voting mess. Even if the security problems are really accidental, in the current climate, you'd be hard pressed to get anyone to believe you.

At a crossroads like this, an OSS company could just step right in and take over the whole election software market. If some OSS platform were successful here, there'd be no competition from closed source platforms after that. OSS voting forever after. I know that "open" means never having to rely on a single source (if you don't want to), but a great hardware solution coupled with all open source code would make one (or a few) companies really pop.

I have not been looking too hard for OSS voting machines myself, so maybe they're already out there. In that case, they just need some PR so that they're visible to the general population.

Redhat? Ubuntu? Where are you?... Here's your opportunity...

Re:I smell a business opportunity here... (3, Interesting)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 7 years ago | (#20257145)

I have not been looking too hard for OSS voting machines myself, so maybe they're already out there. In that case, they just need some PR so that they're visible to the general population.

Yep, it's been used over here, and runs on Linux live CDs. http://www.softimp.com.au/evacs/index.html [softimp.com.au]

There's a Wired article here: http://www.wired.com/techbiz/media/news/2003/11/61 045 [wired.com]

Re:I smell a business opportunity here... (4, Interesting)

Mr. Roadkill (731328) | about 7 years ago | (#20257389)

I know that "open" means never having to rely on a single source (if you don't want to), but a great hardware solution coupled with all open source code would make one (or a few) companies really pop.
Paradoxically, one key benefactor of any such move may well be Diebold themselves. Forget for a moment how badly they screwed the pooch with their voting hardware and software, and think for a moment about that other great area of expertise of theirs - Automated Teller Machines. In general, that kind of machine is tamper-resistant and tamper-evident. They could *really* clean up as hardware manufacturers and systems integrators for a quality e-voting system based around open-source software and high-quality proprietary hardware, if they can hide the stench of their previous offerings.

Another group of companies who are ideally positioned to benefit from this are gaming machine manufacturers. In fact, since ATMs probably aren't as open to government scrutiny and regulation as your average video poker machine is, the gaming machine manufacturing industry is probably *better* positioned to comply with government regulation and produce a tamper-resistant system than Diebold is, and could probably fairly easily adapt one of their gaming platforms to the purpose - you sign in, you get a card to insert in the machine (good for one "voting credit"), you make and review your choices, you collect the machine-punched verification card and "voting card" and deposit both in the appropriate boxes on the way out (with the punched "ballot paper" really only being for verification and tamper-control purposes). Forget the privacy concerns - the voting cards needn't be traceable to any particular individual, and could be constantly re-coded with one-time-use "voting-credit-numbers" as they're recycled during the course of the day - and since the paper electoral rolls won't have timestamps on them, there'll be no way to tie the time of use of a particular voting-credit to a particular voter. To me, this almost seems natural and self-evident, and I'd be very surprised if there weren't gaming companies considering either doing this themselves or spinning off subsidiaries to do this themselves.

Who's Behind The Curtains? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20257113)

"Wherever Diebold and ES&S go, irregularities and historic Republican upsets follow. Alastair Thompson, writing for scoop.co of New Zealand, explored whether or not the 2002 U.S. mid-term elections were fixed by electronic voting machines supplied by Republican-affiliated companies. The scoop investigation concluded that: The state where the biggest upset occurred, Georgia, is also the state that ran its election with the most electronic voting machines. Those machines were supplied by Diebold." From Diebold, Electronic Voting and the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy
by Bob Fitrakis.

Link: http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0225-05.htm [commondreams.org]

More: " (Bev) Harris writes that the hacked documents expose how the mainstream media reversed their call projecting Al Gore as winner of Florida after someone subtracted 16,022 votes from Al Gore, and in still some undefined way, added 4000 erroneous votes to George W. Bush. Hours later, the votes were returned. One memo from Lana Hires of Global Election Systems, now Diebold, reads: I need some answers! Our department is being audited by the County. I have been waiting for someone to give me an explanation as to why Precinct 216 gave Al Gore a minus 16,022 [votes] when it was uploaded. Another hacked internal memo, written by Talbot Iredale, Senior VP of Research and Development for Diebold Election Systems, documents unauthorized replacement votes in Volusia County.

Harris also uncovered a revealing 87-page CBS news report and noted, According to CBS documents, the erroneous 20,000 votes in Volusia was directly responsible to calling the election for Bush. The first person to call the election for Bush was Fox election analyst John Ellis, who had the advantage of conferring with his prominent cousins George W. Bush and Florida Governor Jeb Bush."

And: "Documents illustrate that the Reagan and Bush administration supported computer manipulation in both Noriegas rise to power in Panama and in Marcos attempt to retain power in the Philippines."

Two words: crooked casino.

Re:Who's Behind The Curtains? (1)

Jim_Callahan (831353) | about 7 years ago | (#20258043)

The last member of the executive branch whose party _wasn't_ accused of fixing the vote by the whiny losing party was named George.

Not Washington. George III of England.

Just sayin'. Most likely they're all fixed, or none of them are. I'm guessing both.

I guess their new slogan didn't work. (2, Funny)

WarlockD (623872) | about 7 years ago | (#20257151)

"Vote once, count many!"

Rove Voting Systems (1)

infonography (566403) | about 7 years ago | (#20257181)

I was wondering why he left is such a hurry.

just another day ... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20257237)

Still can't change much by putting lipstick on a pig.

To quote a certain famous politician... (2)

beadfulthings (975812) | about 7 years ago | (#20257251)

If you call a tail a leg, how many legs has a dog?
Five?
No, calling a tail a leg don't make it a leg. - Abraham Lincoln

They can call their "system" whatever they want to. It'll still be bad news.

Not a very good acronym... (1)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | about 7 years ago | (#20257297)

Premiere Election Solutions AKA Piece of Electronic Shit

voting machines are unfit for public voting (2, Insightful)

quitte (1098453) | about 7 years ago | (#20257309)

Voting machines as they are are pretty much as good as they can get. There is no way a Compuiter could ever be trusted to do exactly what it is expected to do, and no way to be 100% sure it has not been tempered with. Those machines will always be unfit for public voting. As a voter I have several rights that a machine can never provide. I'm guaranteed by law that my vote is secret. But it has been shown that the electromagnetic radiation of voting machines can be measured accurately enough to draw some conclusions about what has been voted. Also I have the right to know how the voting works. Everybody can understand how counting votes with pen and paper works. Understanding a voting machine is pretty much impossible without a CS degree. Even if the sourcecode for both the hardware and Software was available pretty much nobody can tell if the machine actually does what it claims to do. Also there is hardly any chance to get an actual Rom dump to compare the sources you are looking at with the code that is running on the computer.

Re:voting machines are unfit for public voting (1)

Phroggy (441) | about 7 years ago | (#20257417)

Sorry, but you're completely wrong: purely electronic voting machines can get slightly better by making sure the source code is publicly available and there are security measures in place to make sure it can't be tampered with, but most people who know what they're talking about don't want a purely electronic system. We want an electronic voting machine that prints out a paper ballot, then a completely different machine which scans, counts and stores paper ballots. That's what PES née Diebold have been fighting tooth and nail to avoid having to build.

Everything should be hand-verifiable at every stage in the process, and there should be randomized testing before and after every election.

Re:voting machines are unfit for public voting (3, Insightful)

Sigmalmtd (887400) | about 7 years ago | (#20257419)

I don't really know how to respond to this, other than that I am disappointed for your lack of open-mindedness towards voting machines. Electronic voting technology is an active area of research: See http://accurate-voting.org/ [accurate-voting.org] for one example. Are voting machines fit for general use now? Absolutely not. But they continue to get better, as more and more research is being devoted to this hot topic.

All of the issues that you discussed can be subverted with better software, and more secure hardware. For instance, many people have suggested the use of TPM chips in voting machines to attempt to prevent software tampering. Teams of experts can validate source code and prove that it does what it's supposed to - I understand that you'd like to be able to validate it yourself, but the more open the source is, the more people that can look at it and can raise a red flag if something is wrong.

It's a shame that so many counties have poured money into machines like the flawed Diebold and iVotronic systems, because it means we may not see upgrades to more secure, and accurate systems for some time. However, pen and paper has its flaws as well. Voting machines have a lot of potential to fix the problems with both pen and paper, and the machines used today. What we need from the Government is more attention and action to these problems - audits and source code reviews should not be simply passed on as what seems to be happening in Sarasota, FL. What we need from members of the public, like yourself, is to not turn a blind eye to the possibilities, but to believe that researchers are doing their best to bring more secure voting machines to use.

Re:voting machines are unfit for public voting (1)

goombah99 (560566) | about 7 years ago | (#20257503)

I don't really know how to respond to this, other than that I am disappointed for your lack of open-mindedness towards voting machines. Electronic voting technology is an active area of research: See http://accurate-voting.org/ [accurate-voting.org] for one example.
Which is why you won't ever understand. If someone qualified to post to slashdot feels that way, what does that tell you about Joe Voter? THey simply will never trust these till many generations have come and gone. It's about trust and transparency not mathematical formulas and perfect equipment. It simply matters not how "provably" correct the research gets. There's always going to be close upset elections that defy polls--else there would be no reason to have elections--and when that happens people simply won't believe it unless there's a tactile human faced way to determine the outcome that a __reasonable__ juror would accept. That's the issue.

Re:voting machines are unfit for public voting (1)

quitte (1098453) | about 7 years ago | (#20257843)

The only way to know a chip actually does what it is supposed to do is opening it and looking at it under a really good microscope. if the voting process happens in a black box you cannot know what happens inside . No matter how many scientists are working on it you never will have a secure enough system. even if the hardware isn't programmable you can not trust it: chips can be resoldered, and if it is all put in a big blob of glue you can not validate the hardware any more. this is a security analysis of a voting machine in the netherlands that was abused to play chess http://www.wijvertrouwenstemcomputersniet.nl/image s/9/91/Es3b-en.pdf [wijvertrou...ersniet.nl] and here is a podcast in german about that hack: http://chaosradio.ccc.de/cre039.html [chaosradio.ccc.de]

Re:voting machines are unfit for public voting (2, Interesting)

RudeIota (1131331) | about 7 years ago | (#20257571)

As a voter I have several rights that a machine can never provide. I'm guaranteed by law that my vote is secret.

Actually, you aren't even guaranteed the right to vote , let alone your vote be kept secret .

Believe it or not, the U.S. constitution allows government to deny your right to vote, as long as it is not based on your race or slave status.

There have been numerous amendments since (such as women's right to vote), but you're still not guaranteed an irrefutable right to. For example, Texas law denies the right to vote to the 'mentally disabled' and incarcerated criminals. It would be very easy for public officials to repress our ability to vote, if they collectively chose to debilitate the U.S. public. Just a thought.

And of course... (2, Interesting)

RudeIota (1131331) | about 7 years ago | (#20257585)

This isn't taking in consideration state laws, in which your state may may specifically define what you mentioned.

Re:voting machines are unfit for public voting (2, Insightful)

quitte (1098453) | about 7 years ago | (#20257909)

wow. another reason I'm glad not to be a U.S. citizen. It keeps amazing me how the U.S. lacks so many of what I consider core democratic rights.

Rebrand the discussion -- computer assisted voting (3, Informative)

beakerMeep (716990) | about 7 years ago | (#20257829)

I think we need to rebrand the discussion. What we need is computer assisted voting. Basically, the touch screen just provides an interface where the computer prints out your ballot which you review for accuracy and deposit in the ballot box. Later, ballots can be counted by hand or some type of scan-tron. Tabulations can be kept in both machines and in the event of mismatches, the paper ballot is recounted providing the official count (or if the numbers are far enough off, a re-vote). The scanning process could be observed and run at such a speed that humans can watch the count in real time and with enough people watching the possibility of count errors going undetected would approach 0. This would take care of most of your concerns about magic happening behind the screen. Nevertheless, the source code should still be freely available.

It's not a perfect system but it provides the basis for a system that's pretty much on par with paper. That is, the problems with election fraud we would see would be the same types of problems paper ballots suffer from (ie people voting twice, someone stealing a ballot box, some poll running out of paper).

This is what is in the draft proposal for New York State voting machines (among many other requirements regarding privacy and the disabled etc). But I only found this out recently by clicking on a signature from a slashdot poster. I encourage everyone to take a few minutes and visit http://www.blackboxvoting.org/ [blackboxvoting.org] and check what sort of voting machines your state has, is testing, or is thinking about getting.

Also, for those new yorkers out there, you may want to visit this page [state.ny.us] about the testing underway for NYS eletronic voting machines for 2008.

Re:Rebrand the discussion -- computer assisted vot (1)

TheLink (130905) | about 7 years ago | (#20258095)

Diebold already made a "computer assisted voting" system.

That's what people are complaining about ;).

Seriously though, technically it's an easy problem to solve - the USA has plenty of smart people who can build practical solutions.

The real problem is the US Gov would prefer to be the one to decide who gets to be the next US Gov and do whatever it takes, just like they prefer to decide who gets to be the next Iraqi Gov.

Re:Rebrand the discussion -- computer assisted vot (1)

will_die (586523) | about 7 years ago | (#20258245)

Logically idea, however if you read most of the complaints here on slashdot and other progressive dominated sites the big worry is that manufacturers are placing code in the computers and changing votes. With that setup you have two places where that can happen.
Meanwhile back in the real world, the problems you had in Florida, and what caused all theses changes, was human based. Bad ballot design and people not following the instructions of the machines such as emptying the punched chat holders. Even the newest cash registers can get the printers easily messed up when people have to replace the ink/ribbons and paper, or when removing of a stray piece of paper that got in the system. You are not going to get any different people working at the poll booths, so beside a nicer user interface with hopfully some input checking, you are not really solving the problems that caused all this mess in the first place.
It would be of interest to see if any states are testing to see how hard it is to change the ink, paper and repairing paper jams.

Re:voting machines are unfit for public voting (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 7 years ago | (#20257903)

No. India had simple and cheap machines that worked. They didn't have the stupidity of networking, overly complex systems and machines that could hold many thousands of votes that could be added by a single theif. Their machines were built to be like ballot boxes - anybody that wanted to do a decent job of ballot stuffing would have to steal hundreds of them just like the ones that hold paper. They have to be opened up one at a time and added up by observers from several parties that do not trust each other - one person hacking into a single system can't get around that, it would take an enormous conspiracy to subvert it.

Re:voting machines are unfit for public voting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20258407)

Everybody can understand how counting votes with pen and paper works.
except residents of florida :P

Even if the sourcecode for both the hardware and Software was available pretty much nobody can tell if the machine actually does what it claims to do.
there are plenty of people in the US that can understand it if they get to look at the code; part of the problem is that the voting machine corps want to hide the code for some god damn reason that has nothing to do with protecting anyone's vote but their own. that should have your attention.

slashdotliberalwhining (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20257347)

"slashdotliberalwhining" has to be the best tag on the site. I propose renaming the "politics" section to this.

Obligatory (1)

aero2600-5 (797736) | about 7 years ago | (#20257353)

"Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken!"

Re:Obligatory (1)

SilverRayn (984075) | about 7 years ago | (#20257395)

...or a hard-ass at that point.

Let's apply ol' wild west rules here: (1)

rts008 (812749) | about 7 years ago | (#20257383)

Back in the day, rebranding would get you hanged for a livestock thief.

All I can say is: Die Boldly, Diebold...the sooner the better. I'm tired of 'running iron' elections being acceptable.
Hang 'em high, and dry!

Taking freedom of choice to a whole new level (1)

Alien Being (18488) | about 7 years ago | (#20257453)

I feel a draft.
You are in Room # 12
Tunnels lead to 3,11,13

Soapbox (1)

ShagratTheTitleless (828134) | about 7 years ago | (#20257457)

I want to take this opportunity to remind everyone that this whole electronic voting fiasco is the result of asking the government to solve a small problem. Please for the sake of all that good don't ask them to solve a big problem!!!

Get out the kiwi! (1)

fishthegeek (943099) | about 7 years ago | (#20257467)

Diebold apparently believes that you can polish a turd.

Re:Get out the kiwi! (2, Insightful)

freedom_india (780002) | about 7 years ago | (#20257535)

Spraying Britney Perfume on a turd does not hide its smell.
Rebranding was a crime in early 1800s. It should be a crime today and Diebold criminally convicted on livestock rebranding.

obligatory Alan Partridge quote... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20257473)

"They've rebadged it, you fool."

This was not intended to get voting machines back (3, Insightful)

Wuhao (471511) | about 7 years ago | (#20257493)

This was not a strategy to get the voting machines back into play in the places which rejected them. Diebold is a very old company going back into the 19th century, and was until relatively recently a very well established and trusted name in security equipment. The Diebold Elections Systems division has not only failed to produce reliable products, but has garnered enormous bad press which has reflected extremely negatively upon that name. Regardless of what their true motives are with Diebold Election Systems, I think everyone can see why any rational executive at Diebold would see the need to protect the Diebold name. A good name is one of the greatest assets a company in any industry can have, and especially so in security, where trust comes grudgingly. If Diebold seems incompetent, possibly malicious, with its election systems, why would you, the bank manager, trust them to build your ATM machines?

Calling them Premier Election Systems does not undo the damage that's been done, but it does help deflect future damages. Any attempt to recertify the machines under the new name is probably something they still would have done under the old name.

That doesn't make the machines any less awful. It doesn't absolve Diebold of the responsibility for what it has done, nor does it mean that their ATM machines are any more trustworthy now. If I were the bank manager, I probably still would not buy their machines. But, if we are going to criticize the company for its incompetence, let us at least criticize them for the incompetencies which they demonstrate -- not ones which we misinterpret into their strategies.

Re:This was not intended to get voting machines ba (1)

dana340 (914286) | about 7 years ago | (#20257589)

I'll bid $5.00 for the company..
...What? it's not worth even that much?...

Re:This was not intended to get voting machines ba (2, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | about 7 years ago | (#20258381)

I'll agree with just about everything you say, but I'll remind you of this:

Long ago, people were scared of "NutraSweet" because of some series of news stories and bad press. So they took the label off of the foods that contain it... just the label though. It's still there. Just look for "aspartame" in the ingredients list.

Every play gets a first run (0, Offtopic)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 7 years ago | (#20257671)

The name "Premiere" kind of implies thay want to do hit and run elections. I expect though by the end of the first act, the audience will decide the show is not ready for prime time and will vote with their feet.
--
Solar power the easy way: http://mdsolar.blogspot.com/2007/01/slashdot-users -selling-solar.html [blogspot.com]

Re:Every play gets a first run (1)

BitchKapoor (732880) | about 7 years ago | (#20257889)

premier != premiere

A rose by any other name? (4, Funny)

Demerara (256642) | about 7 years ago | (#20257759)

[CEO] Hmmm, sales of "Turd" have dropped off severely...

[Marketing Guy] Let's rebrand.

[CEO] Ok, what do you suggest?

[Marketing Guy] How about "Blossom" ... ? ...

[CEO] I love it. Lets run with that...

Smells Like Republicans! (3, Insightful)

posterlogo (943853) | about 7 years ago | (#20257797)

Never forget, the Diebold CEO is a major contributor to Bush. This is the man who said "I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president" during the last campaign presidential, and incredible statement from someone who makes voting machines.


They will rebrand, reorganize, etc., but in the end, don't forget their loyalty is to one political party. That is where the lobbying money goes, so you know who to blame whenever there's an e-voting fiasco.

Re:Smells Like Republicans! (-1, Troll)

will_die (586523) | about 7 years ago | (#20258075)

So you have a problem with the first amendment and freedom of association!
What proof is there that he did anything with the Diebold products to change votes, that idea is just the wet dreams of various nut jobs.
BTW the main news article you saw about problems with the e-voting fiasco during the election were not caused by Diebold but by companies that had members of the Democrate party on thier boards. Spend a few mins on google and you can look that up.

I see one CEO has been reading... (1)

Dracos (107777) | about 7 years ago | (#20258067)

The Gator^H^H^H^H^HClaria business plan.

Trademark violation? (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about 7 years ago | (#20258157)

TSX is already the name of an operating system for the DEC PDP-11. According to the distributor (who is still around and still providing support), the name is trademarked.

What's really important (1)

edwardpickman (965122) | about 7 years ago | (#20258297)

Have they raised prices? I mean elections are already costing a couple of hundred million. If we wind up with a Hilary/Obama ticket on the Democratic side how much with Diebold charge the Republicans to win this time around? We could be talking some serious election time inflation. If hacker/Linus nuts really want to show their support for open source they need to hack into Diebold and get Linus Torvalds elected President. Sure he's not a native born American citizen but that's a truly great hack, get some one elected that can't even take the job. It'd also get all the non computer geeks wondering who the hell Linus Torvalds is? They can also claim hey don't look at us if it was a linux OS this would have never happened.

die bold as hell (1)

ralph1 (900228) | about 7 years ago | (#20258385)

bend over and spread your ass cheeks they are gonna fuck you and take your vote again you reddit here first.

The real reason for the change. (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 7 years ago | (#20258391)

Diebold actually does have a good reputation. They make banking equipment (ATMs and things) and it appears they actually make a decent quality product in this area.

The high profile criticisms of the company cant be doing the banking sector any good.

No other company will touch Diebold's voting machine sector with a 10 foot barge pole. The risks of negative publicity are too great.

Open-source it? (1)

Jeppe Salvesen (101622) | about 7 years ago | (#20258499)

Perhaps then can open-source it and just produce and sell the hardware?

Yeah, right, like that's gonna happen!

The name change was decided democratically... (1)

Hanners1979 (959741) | about 7 years ago | (#20258677)

To decide on whether this name change was a good way forward for the company, Diebold used its own voting machines to conduct a ballot of all its employees.

When the results were announced, an overwhelming 124% of employees voted yes to the change.
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