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Registered: 02/14/04
Posts: 4,102
Last seen: 7 years, 11 months
Evoting rules!
    #2590734 - 04/22/04 01:09 PM (13 years, 11 months ago)


Diebold apologizes for device flaws

Critics of electronic voting and voting

By Ian Hoffman, STAFF WRITER

It is an uncommon day when the nation's second-largest provider of voting systems concedes that its flagship products in California have significant security flaws and that it supplied hundreds of poorly designed electronic-voting devices that disenfranchised voters in the March presidential primary.

Diebold Election Services Inc. president Bob Urosevichadmitted this and more, and apologized "for any embarrassment."

"We were caught. We apologize for that," Urosevich said of the mass failures of devices needed to call up digital ballots. Poll-workers in Alameda and San Diego counties hadn't been trained on ways around their failure, and San Diego County chose not to supply polls with backup paper ballots, crippling the largest rollout of e-voting in the nation on March 2. Unknown thousands of voters were turned away at the polls.

"We're sorry for the inconvenience of the voters," Urosevich said.

"Weren't they actually disenfranchised?" asked Tony Miller, chief counsel to the state's elections division.

After a moment, Urosevich agreed: "Yes, sir."

Flanked by most of California's local elections officials and advocates for the blind and speakers of minority-language, Diebold executives and attorneys pleaded for one more chance.

"There's still not any evidence of electronic voting sys- tems anywhere in this country counting votes inaccurately," said Conny McCormack, the Los Angeles County registrar of voters.

But critics of electronic voting and Diebold said enough is enough.

Seattle journalist and BlackBoxVoting.org leader Bev Harris took a microphone two feet in front of Urosevich and said, "What we have is a company that lies. Yes, I'll say it -- lies."

"You have got to vote them off the island," said Jim March, a Sacramento lobbyist for the right to bear arms and see a paper ballot. March waved an especially harsh state report on Diebold's poor compliance with California election law.

"After this report, doubts will always remain not only about their credibility but their sanity," he said.

California elections regulators expect to make a recommendation today to Secretary of State Kevin Shelley on whether to disallow or "decertify" some or all of Diebold's voting machines -- or electronic voting altogether -- for the November elections.

State officials and other voting industry experts said they expected California's Voting Systems and Procedures Panel, at a minimum, to decertify Diebold's latest TSx touchscreen voting system, purchased by four counties for more than $40 million.

Such a move would send San Diego, Solano, San Joaquin and Kern counties scrambling for a new voting system, and it would mark a first: No other state has decertified a modern, electronic-voting machine since the race to embrace e-voting after Florida's chad-filled difficulties of 2000.

If limited to the TSx, California's decertification could have minimal impact on other states, none of which have certified the machine. The exception is Ohio, which is eyeing the machine for the November elections in the home state of Diebold Elections' corporate parent.

But California officials were warned Wednesday that a more sweeping move to decertify all touchscreens could snatch away the newly acquired rights of blind and non-English-speaking voters to a private vote, without assistance, and trigger similar acts elsewhere in the country.

"You're going to cause chaos throughout this nation as this begins to move and begins to spread," warned Austin Erdman, assistant registrar of voters in San Joaquin County.

Fourteen California counties where 43 percent of the state's voters use touchscreen machines would have to switch to their backup, optical scanning systems, which use a paper ballot. Advocates for minority-language speakers and the blind said those systems would force them again to rely on others for assistance in marking their ballots.

"We would do well to remember the lesson that separate is not equal. Going back to optical scan is tantamount to segregation," said Kathay Feng, an attorney at the Asian Pacific American Legal Center in Los Angeles.

But critics of e-voting said there is no trade-off between disabled or multi-language capability and secure, stable voting. Another vendor, ES&S, offers an audio ballot-marking system for optical-scan ballots, for example.

State elections officials hinted they were leaning toward some form of decertification in two reports that took a critical first look at the nation's largest rollout of electronic voting in a presidential primary and Diebold's actions beforehand.

In one report on the March 2 primary, elections analysts and consultants for Shelley's office found "numerous problems and concerns" that suggested that touchscreen voting "may not yet be stable, reliable and secure enough to use in the absence of an accessible, voter-verified, paper audit trail."

Currently, electronic machines offer no independent vote record to recount, rendering recounts useless.

Weeks after Diebold Election Systems Inc. vowed a "new day" of operating excellence in California, the nation's second largest voting systems firm asked state approval for 10 mostly untested changes to its voting software.

Its latest requests were less than a month before the Super Tuesday presidential primary, prompting state officials to demand a backup voting plan for four counties where Diebold had installed its untested, unapproved TSx voting system, which sold for $40 million the previous summer.

Undersecretary of State Mark Kyle blasted Diebold Elections president Bob Urosevich over Diebold's two-page proposal for more than a million hand-counted paper ballots.

"It is apparent from your responses that no such backup plan has been created and that you continue to 'fly by the seat of your pants,'" Kyle wrote on Feb. 8. "In view of the chaos your company has caused, we expected that your company would 'step up to the plate' with an aggressive backup plan. Your failure to do so raises grave questions about your suitability as a voting systems vendor."

Diebold was not the only vendor to seek last-minute changes to its software. Every vendor selling e-voting systems in the state asked for changes in the two months before the March primary.

Diebold offered explanations for at least some of the last-minute software changes. Its executives said they were caught between the slow, federal transition to "new" 2002 voting system testing and California's desire to approve the hardware and software counting its votes.

State elections officials were dismayed to find that Diebold had sold and installed thousands of its new TSx machines in the state without getting them tested, nationally qualified and even before applying for state certification.

"I understand your frustration," said Diebold chief developer Tab Iredell. "Why did we sell something that we didn't think we could run? Our understanding based on past experience was we thought we could get that certified."

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 User Gallery

Registered: 11/08/02
Posts: 32,665
Loc: Ripple's Heart
Re: Evoting rules! [Re: phi1618]
    #2590908 - 04/22/04 02:05 PM (13 years, 11 months ago)

Kathy Feng must be paid well by Diebold.

why else would anyone in their right mind support
buggy, unsecure and untrackable voting systems
based on the sole premise that they are needed to
end 'segregation'.

secure votes for all trumps my desire for mexicans
and the deaf or blind to have a comfortable voting

All I know is The Growery is a place where losers who get banned here go.

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Two inch dick..but it spins!?

Registered: 11/29/01
Posts: 34,235
Loc: Lost In Space
Re: Evoting rules! [Re: phi1618]
    #2591415 - 04/22/04 04:32 PM (13 years, 11 months ago)

E-voting will be haunting us for a long time to come.

You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for that my dear friend is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. ~ Adrian Rogers

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