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Diebold to Pay $2.6M Due to Insecure Voting Machines 370

sunilk writes "In a short period, Diebold has been at the center of several problems. Now it seeks to settle the lawsuit filed against it by the State of California by paying $2.6 million. Settlement comes because of flaws in the Diebold systems that could compromise election results."
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Diebold to Pay $2.6M Due to Insecure Voting Machines

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  • by nonregistered ( 639880 ) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @09:14PM (#11127659) Homepage
    ... that will just set the price of an election!
    • "I hope they don't just settle..."

      They may or may not settle, but I don't see the point. Just moving a lump sum of money may serve as punishment / compensation, but doesn't do anything about the issues with these voting machines, does it? Better to have Diebold work on that. Or better yet, stop relying on electronic voting machines at all.

      There are 4 boxes in defense of liberty... ah, you know the drill.

      • by StarKruzr ( 74642 ) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @04:31AM (#11128958) Journal
        ... that we have actually PRIVATIZED THE VOTE.

        Just let that sink in for a few minutes. We took the single most important tool of citizenship... and SOLD IT.

        What the fuck is wrong with our country?
        • by danheskett ( 178529 ) <danheskett&gmail,com> on Sunday December 19, 2004 @11:10AM (#11130326)
          ... that we have actually PRIVATIZED THE VOTE.

          That is a 7th grade answer to a PHd level question, and you probably know it.

          What we are talking about here is machines. We have used *MACHINES* To count and tabulate votes for the better part of 100 years in this country.

          There have been problems with *MACHINES* for a long, long time.

          The fundamental facts do not change:

          1. Voting is effected by volunteers and/or local government employees.

          2. Voting is tabulated and verified by state and local government employees.

          3. Votes are certified and submitted by the Secretary of State or Comptroller of the Votes (depending on your state) and the whole process is open and subject to judicial review.

          We took the single most important tool of citizenship... and SOLD IT.

          That is false on many many accounts. The local and state governments have purchased *MACHINES* to count and tabulate votes. You are over reacting to such a degree that it's amazing.

          The Slashdot crowd is only all worked about this because they can relate. Anyone who has worked with the older generation of machines knows that it was just as easy - if not easier - to manipulate the vote on the ancient equipment than anything any e-vote vendor has put out. I've worked with the machines. They have never been that good. They have never been resilient to attack or fraud.

          The bottom line is that the e-vote equipment in question is obviously flawed. That does not prove there is or was fraud. And it also does not mean that this election or any election was inherently false.

          What the fuck is wrong with our country?

          The biggest problem is that people like to curse and swear instead of analyzing rationall a complex problem. Voting in our country is complex. We have no central election authority. We have no nationwide election. We purposely have designed the system to be decentralized. This is a topic for discussion. Hysterical claims that we "sold the most important tool of citizenship" besides being wrong, wrongheaded, false, and untrue, add nothing to the very real discussion that needs to take place.

          Let this sink in: both corporations and the government have vested interests in the outcome of any election, as do the citizens. What is the appropriate role of federal, state, and local government officals in carrying out their respective elections? What is the role of machines in our elections, and what should it be?
          • The problem (Score:4, Insightful)

            by StarKruzr ( 74642 ) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @02:34PM (#11131693) Journal
            with your rebuttal is that you fail to recognize that the source code for Diebold's voting machines has *not* been given governmental review of any kind. Diebold showed the government a black box and said, "look! electronic voting!" and the government bought it, no questions asked about the internal workings because the internal workings were a "trade secret."

            You can't. Make the vote. A trade secret.

            The internal workings of mechanical voting machines, at least, are well-documented and understood, at least according to my stepfather who works in the NYC Board of Elections.
    • How come my guy never wins? Here in Oregon we have a much better system you vote with a #2 pencil LOL and then mail or drop off you ballot. Yes you can make your ballot with a pen first and then with a #2 pencil.
      • Sounds like a cool device ;) Must be expensive and stuff...

        Here in techno maniac Finland we also use these mysterious devices. Then we use our hands and eyes to count scribbles on the ballots. Long time ago I was asked to be election monitor and it wasn't very difficult to count couple of thousand votes. There was three of us and it took about thirty minutes. Of course we don't have dog catcher elections etc. only one or two ballot items at a time.

        Hope your guy wins next time.

    • by h4rm0ny ( 722443 ) * on Saturday December 18, 2004 @09:41PM (#11127769) Journal

      I'm unclear. Who get's the 2.6 million? The government they just chose?

    • The same day the settlement was announce the change in stock price alone was several fold the vlaue of the settlement. It's a crock. The value of the trial and the evidence discovery value would have grossly exceeded any cash value to the state of CA. shame on them for settleing.
  • 2.6 million? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Icarus1919 ( 802533 ) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @09:15PM (#11127663)
    How the hell can you put a price on jeopardising one of our constitutional rights? These people broke the law in a big way and lied about it, and they're getting off with this slap on the wrist? People should be put in jail for this.

    • Re:2.6 million? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dissy ( 172727 ) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @09:21PM (#11127699)

      After all, attempting to overthrow the government actually ranks as a crime up with murder. Both carry life sentences, though I'm not sure if both still can carry the death penalty.

      When terrorists tried it, we started a war.
      When a company on home soil trys it, they get a ticket :/
      • Re:2.6 million? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by konekoniku ( 793686 ) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @09:23PM (#11127711)
        on the other hand, no attempt to overthrow the government has been proved. the issue here is of incompetence and failure to fulfill contractual obligations, rather than of high treason.
        • Re:2.6 million? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by caino59 ( 313096 ) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @09:53PM (#11127813) Homepage
          Diebold made changes to their systems after being certified.

          That goes beyond incompetence - I'm sure they understood and knew full well what they were doing. They have lawyers - they knew the details of their contract. They broke it knowingly and willingly.

          Just b/c nothing 'bad' happened (depending on your feelings of the outcome of the election, of course) doesn't mean that it wasn't a possiblity. They knew what the problems were - they were well documented - and never fixed.
          • Re:2.6 million? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by konekoniku ( 793686 ) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @10:51PM (#11128024)
            by your definition, then, diebold committed gross negligence. gross negligence, however, also does not equate to high treason, and does not prove that diebold's systems systematically and intentionally pushed the election in any particular direction.
            • Re:2.6 million? (Score:3, Interesting)

              by caino59 ( 313096 )
              treason: a crime that undermines the offender's government

              negligence: the trait of neglecting responsibilities and lacking concern

              Sorry, but my definition doesn't really define gross negligence. Had they merely neglected to fix known security issues, it would be negligence. However, they made changes AFTER government certification. That's a little beyond negligence, that hints at malicious intent. After all, why would one make changes to a system after being certified - if not to compromise it in som
              • Re:2.6 million? (Score:4, Insightful)

                by konekoniku ( 793686 ) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @12:00AM (#11128282)
                you're clearly not a lawyer, or even a student of US history. article 3, section 3, clause 1 of the US Constitution - the supreme law of the United States - explicitly declares: "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court."

                your attempts to label diebold's gross negligence as "treason" clearly lacks legal standing.
          • Re:2.6 million? (Score:2, Insightful)

            by SuperBanana ( 662181 )
            Diebold made changes to their systems after being certified. That goes beyond incompetence - I'm sure they understood and knew full well what they were doing.

            I hate Diebold as much as the next person and think their CEO is a slimy Republican asshat...

            ...but never underestimate incompetence or "left hand does not know what the right hand is doing" problems in a large corporation, or what they can do.

      • Treason is the only crime defined in the Constitution and it does indeed carry the death penalty.
      • It's called Treason, and yes, it still holds the death penalty. Treason is a federal juristiction crime, not a state or local crime, so local laws hold no bearing. The federal laws state execution and that's exactly what Treason carries. No jail time, just instant execution.

        These assholes deserve it, too.
    • Heh.

      Welcome to the corporate shield. Finding a corporation is easy - finding individuals within that corporation to be criminally culpable for the corporation's actions is much, much more difficult (financial fraud is a somewhat exceptional case, in case Enron et al come to mind).

      All too often, this reduces their following the law to be a mere matter of cost-benefit analysis. If it makes them more money, they break the law, pay the fine... and profit.
    • it's the american way, sue someone and get money.

      (Maybe it's arnolds new buisness plan.)
  • I have to ask (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rootofevil ( 188401 ) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @09:15PM (#11127664) Homepage Journal
    How much is a secure, honest, fair election worth? 2.6 million? Thats a drop in the bucket.

    Something to the effect of the vendors machines being overhauled at the expense of the vendor or removed permanently in the state seems a bit more fitting for this degree of failure.
    • Re:I have to ask (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DM9290 ( 797337 )
      Something to the effect of the vendors machines being overhauled at the expense of the vendor or removed permanently in the state seems a bit more fitting for this degree of failure.

      That would only amount to a mere refund.

      After a vender sold you a defective product and caused you irreperable harm you would be entitled to damages as well.

      And if recklessness or negligence were proved, you would be entitled to punitive damages.

      What value does your vote have? Perhaps all the taxes you paid in 4 years?
      Who k
    • Re:I have to ask (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rusty0101 ( 565565 )
      I'm thinking it should go one step further. "... and shall do no business with any company with offices in California for four years."

      I mean it's not like they do any improtant business with anyone like Bank of America, or Wells Fargo. Is it? Or American Express, E-Trade, or any other financial institution that uses ATM machines...

      That I think would hurt them. I put the restriction of four years as I think that is a reasonable period considering the offense related to elections. Some might suggest 6 years
      • I mean it's not like they do any improtant business with anyone like Bank of America, or Wells Fargo. Is it? Or American Express, E-Trade, or any other financial institution that uses ATM machines...

        Are any of those state chartered institutions in California?

        Granted that you'll put a hurt on smaller institutions in California (probably not Diebold though) by making them scramble to keep any Diebold ATMs under service during your ban on their business.

        • Both Wells Fargo, and Bank of America have headquarters in California, I beleive thay are also charterd in CA. AE is out of NY if I remember correctly. Not sure about E-Trade, though I would suspect it is incorporated in Delaware.

          Granted I could be wrong all about that.

          While banks may have a scramble getting new contracts in place, the hardware would be supported by NCR or some other vendor, and may very well be replaced with NCR and Fujitsu machines fairly quickly.

          Diebold's largest business may be ATM m
          • Re:I have to ask (Score:3, Insightful)

            by TykeClone ( 668449 ) *
            Wells Fargo and Bank of America are both National Banks (federally chartered). As such, they have legitimate grounds to dispute any such rule.

            I agree that Diebold could be replaced as a servicer if that is who a given bank is using, but by requiring that you're hurting local businesses (the state chartered banks) as much as Diebold.

    • by lheal ( 86013 ) <(lheal1999) (at) (> on Saturday December 18, 2004 @10:25PM (#11127937) Journal
      The biggest cost to Diebold is the bad press. Their customers are bureaucrats and politicians, who generally have their finger in the wind.

      Unfortunately most of the focus appears to be to accuse Diebold of trying to steer the election toward the Republicans. While that would be a bad thing of awesome proportions, I think all the talk abou it misses the point.

      The real issue is having an open, verifiable ballot box, so *no one* can abuse the ballot device to affect the results of an election.

      Diebold wants a closed, "certified" ballot box. I don't think they want it that way to influence elections. I think they want it that way because they see secrecy as their best road to a profit. Never mind ensuring the correctness of their programs through open review; that would cost them a business advantage (they think).
  • California's fault (Score:4, Insightful)

    by krumms ( 613921 ) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @09:17PM (#11127672) Journal

    Now it seeks to settle the lawsuit filed against it by the State of California by paying $2.6 million.

    IMHO, this is California's fault for going with Diebold's systems despite being told well and truly before the elections that these voting machines were insecure. Why do they believe the critics now?

    Anyways, I'll bet they still use electronic voting machines come next election.
  • by mg2 ( 823681 ) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @09:17PM (#11127674)
    When the San Diego Registrar of Voters implemented the Diebold system, they went ahead and got rid of thousands of these little plastic voting booths we used to use. Also, the stylus voting equipment is gone -- all replaced by shiny new touchscreen voting equipment.

    Come election day, half of the machines booted into Windows CE Explorer instead of the voting software... whoops

    So now, the hardware is being re-certified, the old voting equipment is gone, and San Diego is using (Diebold Manufactured) optical scanners for voting on a temporary basis.

    If these issues (and expenses) have been present in other counties of California, I fail to see how 2.6mil is a decent settlement. Sorry.
    • Whatever system we use, someone will piss and moan. My area (Indiana) used punch cards up until the big deal in FL 4 years ago. And contrary to what the news media was trying to claim, punch cards were not relegated to poor black areas. This is a middle class white area. Never heard of anyone being confused by the ballots or having any problems whatsoever. If you were too stupid to stick a stylus into a hole, then you are probably too stupid to cast an intelligent vote.
  • $2.6 million... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jmcmunn ( 307798 ) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @09:17PM (#11127675)

    So that's how much our the future of our nation is worth? Insecure voting machines that play a part in determining who is elected to office...and it's only worth $2.6 million? What a bunch of B.S., $2.6 million is nothing close to what they should pay, if you ask me.
  • That's it? (Score:5, Funny)

    by MightyPez ( 734706 ) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @09:18PM (#11127684)
    Huh.....I guess many can buy everything.

    Well if democracy costs $2.6 million, how much for a quasi-constitutional theocracy?
    • err.... Money too.
    • That would be equivalent to buying out Ohio.

      Or Florida. Which ever you prefer.
    • by TR0GD0RtheBURNiNAT0R ( 734295 ) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @10:06PM (#11127860)
      Well if democracy costs $2.6 million, how much for a quasi-constitutional theocracy?

      I think you need to switch those two...

    • No kidding. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by killjoe ( 766577 )
      I know you are kidding but it's no joking matter.

      America is a country where anything and everything is for sale. In America you can buy a kidney, you can buy a vote, you can buy a womb if you don't want to carry your own child, you can even buy a child, heck you can have children imported from other parts of the world.

      All perfectly legal.

      Americans used to think that it would be an abomination to buy and sell children, organs, or rent space in a woman's womb for 9 months but not anymore.

      It's funny but si
    • Re:That's it? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by forlornhope ( 688722 ) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @02:06AM (#11128663) Homepage
      I feel the need to respond to this comment and all others who seem to say that it is wrong for anyone to vote with their religion.

      What I keep hearing is that all those people who voted for Bush on election day based on their religious beliefs are idiots and stupid and in some cases I hear that they don't even deserve their vote/life(yes I have heard people advocate death for the "Moral Majority"). In anycase, I was watching SNL tonight and there was this lovely skit/cartoon where Santa descided that he would no longer deliver presents to the "Red States" because they were now part of "DumbAssinstan" or somesuch. It ended with a little girl calling Santa a bigot because he was saying that all these people were idiots just cause they let a little thing like religion influence them. She also said that Santa was becoming the very thing that he hated. I must say that I love the truth of satire.

      Now, just in case I have not yet made my point, let me just make a few more observations. Everyone who sits there and says that the religious right is automatically stupid and should not be allowed to vote is basically saying that someone is automatically stupid and should be disallowed the right to vote because of their skin color, because they hold a certain job, or because they happen to read slashdot(well this last one might be true). Democracy is about the citizens taking and _ALL_ their beliefs and trying to form a moderate goverment that is as best as it can be for entire country. Now some may believe that the current goverment is not best or optimal or whatever. The majority of the nation has spoken and there must be a reason for it. Now it may be through voter fraud, but from talking to actual people I can tell you there is a reason that the Democratic party and the majority of the "left" is completely missing. Stop making excuses and figure out why a nation would vote for someone they know lied to them outright(Well I think we did it twice, Clinton and Bush but thats irrelavant).

      For those still hung up on all the alleged voter fraud, let me leave this last nugget of truth with you. The Democratic party has a much longer and more worrisome record of voter fraud and all out vote buying than the Republican party ever could. In West Virginia there is a saying that goes something like this, "When I die, bury me in Logan County so even after I am dead I can still vote." Now the funny thing is, historically the Democrats have always done better amoung the dead getting nearly 100% of their vote. So isn't all of this a little bit of the pot calling the kettle black?

      I personally think both parties are dirty and need to be destroyed. A little revolt now and again can be healthy. Also don't dilute yourself by thinking that the parties are all that different, they both have the same corpreate masters.
      • Re:That's it? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by FireFury03 ( 653718 )
        What I keep hearing is that all those people who voted for Bush on election day based on their religious beliefs are idiots and stupid and in some cases I hear that they don't even deserve their vote

        I have no problems with people voting based on their religious beliefs as long as they also take everything else into consideration (why vote for a warmonger just because he claims to have the same religious beliefs as you?)

        The thing that really wound me up though was one of the TV interviews I saw with a Bus
  • And when do we get our votes back? This is crap. Thanks california for striking another blow for democracy. :P
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Indeed. If the machines were indeed flawed, and Bush "won" at 51%, then all states who used those damn machines should ALL hold another set of voting - maybe Bush SHOULDN'T still be in power after all.

      I don't trush Bush, and I don't trust Microsoft. Funny how those TWO things were involved in this affair.

    • It is indeed another resounding blow struck against democracy. For a nation-building nation that appears to be set on exporting democracy at gunpoint, one would think that its own state of democracy would be setting a better example.

      Iraqi politicians should start taking Diebold management out to lunch, if they haven't done so already.

      (As always, any loathing contained in this post is not directed at Americans in general. It is directed purely at the current administration, the neocons and all the mod
  • Funny... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by haelduksf ( 812679 ) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @09:24PM (#11127713)
    When I buy a service that isn't delivered as advertised, I get a full refund.
  • by belmolis ( 702863 ) <> on Saturday December 18, 2004 @09:25PM (#11127715) Homepage

    I'm disappointed that California didn't pursue criminal charges. A civil suit may be sufficient to deal with honest mistakes, but if, as seems to be the case, Diebold repeatedly made changes to software after certification, that's a deliberate malfeasance. These people need to learn that elections are serious business. These aren't candy machines.

    • It makes you wonder just how much money the attorney general got behind the scenes. Not saying this actually happened, but you have to wonder...
    • I'm disappointed that California didn't pursue criminal charges.

      I was disappointed initially as well, but after thinking about it, it makes some degree of sense that they didn't. After all, who would they press charges against? The CEO? A coder? The guy who actually did the software modifications after the machines were certified?
      It would be much more difficult to prove malice or ill-intent of one 'mastermind' in a criminal trial, as so many different people are involved in the organization.

      While I
      • After all, who would they press charges against? The CEO?

        Yes. They are ultimately responsible for the business activities of their company.

        Presumably, the CEOs of large companies get paid so very much because of the stresses and stakes of doing their job correctly. If it's appropriate for a CEO to get a nice bonus when their company does well, I think it's appropriate for a CEO to take responsibility for the failure of a large high-profile project.

    • There are surely elected officials who'd rather not publicly call into question the validity of the voting equipment that put them into office. Seems like the most obvious reason why there have been no criminal charges.
  • By the article, it says that Diebold "has also agreed to certain technology and reporting obligations that will provide election officials with a better understanding of how to use its voting machines." So it looks to me that they aren't going to fix the problems with the machines, just let people know how to use the voting machines. It would be nice if they actually fixed the machines and the security flaws...
  • Tell ya what (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lord_Dweomer ( 648696 ) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @09:36PM (#11127747) Homepage
    Tell ya what Diebold, you keep the 2.6 mil, and give back the election.

  • Didn't people say these things were insecure to begin with. Didn't those Diebold guys tell us there wasn't. Didn't California agree with them.

    $2.6 million dollars in nothing for something on this scale. It seems like just enough to seem serious. I don't think I'm a conspiracy theorist, but there does seem to be some kind of agenda. Oh well.
  • How much of the money goes to the lawyers concerned?
  • Here's one (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Fjornir ( 516960 )
    How about this, why don't you Californians put together an initiative for the 2006 ballot making the use of Diebold voting machines in CA elections illegal? ...just a thought.
  • This sucks. (Score:5, Informative)

    by PotatoHead ( 12771 ) * <> on Saturday December 18, 2004 @09:53PM (#11127814) Homepage Journal
    30 percent of our national vote was cast on non-voter-verified electronic voting machines. Ohio also was at about 30 percent.

    Realistically we will never know who exactly was elected this year and that's a big problem.

    Until we can address the voting machine issue proper (with voter-verified votes at a minimum) Americans have lost their democracy for all intents and purposes.

    Interestingly the only state that got this right was frickin Nevada. They did use the machines, but insisted that they produce voter-verified paper trails.

    The rest of the nation could actually learn a thing or two from Nevada of all places.

    In addition to all of that, what I find most hard to swallow is the lack of action on the part of our elected officials to avoid this mess. Election supervisors have known for years literally and bought the machines anyway.

    This whole mess is a crime against the American People. People should be in jail over this. We send people away for far less (like duping a movie).

    Sorry for the rant, but this issue bothers me more than any other because I cannot trust our national election. Even though I live in a state (Oregon) with a pretty solid voting system, my solid vote means nothing in light of Florida and Ohio both with significant election irregularities.

    I am not convinced we actually chose our President this year. Americans should be just a bit more upset about that than they are. We get press reports on the Ukraine yet we see almost nothing about our own failed election.

    Finally, this is not about who won or lost. It's that we will never actually know...

    • by DM9290 ( 797337 ) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @10:10PM (#11127877) Journal
      "Realistically we will never know who exactly was elected this year and that's a big problem."

      Why are you trying to confuse the issue?

      It is clear that voters overwelmingly choose George W. Bush to lead the nation for the next 4 years.

      And these election results were specifically chosen to reflect that fact.

    • The rest of the nation could actually learn a thing or two from Nevada of all places.

      There's a reason Nevada knows about this type of stuff. Slot machines.
    • Re:This sucks. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by webfiend ( 112579 )

      Right you are, we won't actually know. Oregon may be more or less safe, but there are problems even in reasonably stable Washington state. 700 votes were mistakenly marked invalid, and state judges [] have chosen to block those votes from being counted. So add Washington to the list of problem states.

    • Uh, you are wrong. Nevada is not the only state that got the election technology right. They are the only ones who got touch screen voting right, but many states didn't not use touch screen voting.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...this is what I want:

    I want an amendment to the state constitution requiring all methods of voting to have a verifiable audit trail.

    I want this proposed settlement to cover the cost of implementing a verifiable audit trail in the counties that Diebold shafted. Including replacing defective machines. They broke our democracy, they're gonna pay to fix it.

    That's what I want the pointy end of this lawsuit to do: patch the electronic voter fraud exploit. This is a non-partisan goal. America depends on e
  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @10:11PM (#11127878) Homepage Journal
    The price of this election now includes perhaps $2.6M in Diebold settlement, and the price of installing Gov. Schwarzenegger (in another rigged election), to OK it. With Bush raising well over $200M to win, and in control of something like $10T in debt over the next 10 years, the election is cheap. California can just take that $2.6M instead of the $8B that Schwarzenegger won't be suing to get from Enron in CA overcharges.
  • by tdhillman ( 839276 ) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @10:21PM (#11127917)
    For a little fun, see exactly where a little Diebold campaign money goes:

    from the public record...

    Crowther, John Michael Mr.
    8/27/2003 $2,000.00
    Canton, OH 44708
    Diebold Inc. -[Contribution]

    D' Amico, Thomas R. Mr.
    9/3/2003 $2,000.00
    Canton, OH 44718
    Diebold Inc. -[Contribution]

    and that /.'ers, is just the tip of the iceberg.

    Never mind that the Carter Center, which supervises elections around the world, considers our systems fubar.

    And yet I do love America still. Curious indeed.
  • A couple of months in jail for a few of the the Diebold execs might put the fear of the voter into these people. Unless they end up losing a lot of money on this deal, no monetary fine is gonna do anything to stop this bullshit. -- Sooner or later somebody is going to exploit these holes (if it hasn't already happened).

    They said "trust us", then they violated that trust. End of story.

  • Get in the experts (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ConcreteGnome ( 841601 ) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @10:34PM (#11127973)
    The biggest and best democracy in the universe has no idea if their last election is valid. Hmmm.

    1. The United Nations offer a service that may be useful. There a many satisfied clients. Get the UN election observers in.

    2. Swallow some of that arrogant pride and ask some of the other democacies how they do it. Most of them manage to poll their entire country (compulsory voting) with little confusion or uncertainty and even do it within the hours of 9 to 5.

    Idea !
    Subcontract your elections out to experts. Any of the European Union countries, Australia, New Zealand.. They can do it for you.

    • by Narmi ( 161370 )
      > The biggest and best democracy in the universe has no idea if their last election is valid. Hmmm.

      India is the largest democracy (by population).
  • Get out there early with a product. Do not worry about it being right or correct. Simple get it out there and try to corner the market. If sued, hold off as long as possible and then finally settle.
  • ...for all the "found" ballots in King Country for the Democrat candidate.
  • by CodeWanker ( 534624 ) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @10:59PM (#11128054) Journal
    The problem is not with crappy software or rigged machines. The problem we face is that, when a bunch of American voters stood up and protested that they were too stupid to use paper ballots properly, we tried to come up with a pre-school level voting machine instead of saying, "Okay, some people really ARE too stupid to vote."
  • whoa. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by focitrixilous P ( 690813 ) on Saturday December 18, 2004 @11:00PM (#11128059) Journal
    Alright, I usually frown upon cracking, but someone needs to exploit these machines, and elect Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. Seriously. No one in the media will give a care about computer security until something happens. If a group of counties in California go 99 percent for a pair of cartoons, I promise you that heads will roll at Diebold. And if the media doesn't pick up the story, no one will do anything about it. So, geeks of the world, go out to your polling places, and crack for democracy!

    The real fun begins when Disney sues to have some of it's people put in place as president instead of mickey mouse, who was unavailable at the time.

  • The Democrats stole California from Bush!
  • Question (Score:2, Funny)

    by jchap ( 628091 )

    I'm a UK citizen and was recently alarmed to find that my vote in the last election was not counted. On further investigation I find that I'm actually not allowed to vote at all! I don't understand, George W Bush took my country to war and for some reason I'm unable to vote him out of office. Can anyone explain this to me?

    In regard to the topic: the idea of speeding up so called 'antiquated' voting systems with modern technology is clearly flawed. Speed up the voting = speed up the voting fraud. V
  • Alright, this'll probably go 1000 comments. Everyone will comment on the fact that money is an unsatisfactory remedy for voting fraud. Then it'll die. The media won't pick it up, 2.6 million is not an impressive number. The average person won't care, and all will proceed as usual. Just because we know something is wrong doesn't mean the average person does.

    Remember, this is the country that uses intellectual elite as a pejorative term.

    You wonder why public schools suck? An educated populace wouldn't toler
  • by 0x0000 ( 140863 ) <<moc.xehorez> <ta> <xehorez>> on Sunday December 19, 2004 @12:04AM (#11128296) Homepage

    Given recent history - Enron, Global Crossing, Diebold, Microsoft, Haliburton - I think we should implement a corporate death penalty for certain corporate crimes (esp e.g. Diebold and Haliburton - both arguably guilty of treason).

    "Settlements" are bullshit. The corp pays to a set of politicians some money - those same polititicians that Diebold was cnotracted to install in office? Sounds a lot more like a kick-back than a settlement.

    It's interesting that this California peice made the news - a place where apparently the politicos are willing to let Diebold settle. The situation in certain other states - Ohio, Georgia, Florida, for instance - is indicative of outright criminal activity for which the company should be brought up on charges. Treason is not to strong a word.

    In order for that to work, though, there would have to be a mechanism to impose a sentence appropriate to the crime upon the corporation. Maybe seizure of assets, nullification of incorporation status, revocation of licenses. The corporate officers should also be charged and incarcerated, banned from participating in corporations or sitting on boards for some period of time.

    In a case like Diebold, the siezed assets would have to be distrubuted to someone besides the politicians who paid Diebold (with public funds) to put them in office - perhaps the money could be used to finance eclections, pay for audits and recounts, etc.

  • Pretty amazing seeing what happens to those in politics who cross Diebold. []

    Apparently our Governator has taken sides. Pity.
  • by michaelaiello ( 841620 ) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @12:09AM (#11128311) Homepage
    Got bored over the summer and found this document [] which shows how to get past diebold's password "security" on the counting software and made a video [] on how I did it. It is beyond silly how easy this is.
  • When I look at the fundamentals of the Diebold design, I can't see any fundamental purpose of the design of these machines other than to facilitate fraud. No strong authentication. No basic mean of tracking tampering. Closed source. No paper trail. Even places like India and Bulgaria allegedly have more secure voting machines. What does it say about the Democrats that they would also something like this to pass through unchallenged? I think part of it was that there just wasn't any decent technical review here. All the Diebold folks had to do is throw some money around.
  • The Chad (Score:3, Funny)

    by Ranger ( 1783 ) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @01:10AM (#11128508) Homepage
    My brother-in-law Chad is grateful there were no jokes at his expense this time around. We couldn't decide if he was a pregnant Chad, a swinging door Chad, or a dangling Chad. Only my sister would know that one. Well, all I can say is DieBold,Die!
  • Revoke their charter! Dissolve the company, divide the assest among the owners.

    Then pursue criminal charges. Surely "treason" could be on the list.

  • by kponto ( 821962 ) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @01:22AM (#11128540) Homepage

    ...when corporaitions are granted the same constitutional rights as an individual, yet face no signifigant consequences let alone anything equal to the imprisonment of an individual.

    We'd live in quite a different world if corporations were held to the same standard of punishment as the individual. Say, the inability to keep their profits for 25 to life. Even better, if the major shareholders faced personal fines or imprisonment for the actions of their companies.

    Corporations are the cause of everything wrong in this country. Political coruption, the war machine, polution, ad creep, health care, our health problems, blah blah blah. What we really need is the ability to rescind corporate charters.

  • by suwain_2 ( 260792 ) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @01:46AM (#11128610) Journal
    Everyone talks about how horribly insecure the touchscreens are.

    But in a lot of counties that didn't use them, the results from things like optical scanners were still stored and calculated using GEMS. Which is not too secure [].

    Read that, and then read this [].

    The problems weren't with touchscreens. They were with GEMS, though. But whoever hacked Florida [] knew enough to not mess with touchscreens: they went right to the source, and that's also why it wasn't spotted.

    And we've all seen this [], about the Democrats trying to not let Diebold supply the voting machines to Ohio, after their CEO stated that he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the President next year"?

    I'm still confused as to why no one (in mainstream America) seems to care at all. There was blatant fraud [] going on, particularly in Florida counties.
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Sunday December 19, 2004 @03:05AM (#11128808) Homepage
    Warren Slocum [], the Chief Elections Officer of San Mateo County, California (where I live) is outspoken about electronic voting safeguards. He's against touchscreen voting without a paper trail, and has been publicizing this position for some time. He's probably the most influential election official pushing for verified voting.

    Elections here use big mark-sense ballots, which are scanned when they go into the locked ballot box. You mark them with a felt-tip marker, using big marks that are unambiguous. They're counted automatically, but can easily be recounted manually if necessary. Any single ballot box can be recounted and verified against the scanner results for that box, so it's easy to check the accuracy of the system.

    Here's his take on Diebold: []

    • It's about time that Diebold got punished for its lying ways. The company this week was fined by California's Attorney General ...

    No ambiguity there.

    Slocum has an RSS feed [] for election issues.

  • not good... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by acroyear ( 5882 ) <> on Sunday December 19, 2004 @08:05AM (#11129449) Homepage Journal
    by settling out of court, there are no decisions and no "findings of fact", thus, it sets no precident that can be used to justify furthur lawsuits and/or corrections in their systems.

    its just money, and that's the easy part.


Hard work never killed anybody, but why take a chance? -- Charlie McCarthy