Defective Diebold Machine

Your DIEBOLD Vote Hasn’t Counted For a Decade

Are you a lucky lotto winner? I hope so.  With the recent announcement from the e-Voting champions themselves stating that their e-machines are inherently flawed and that they have been dropping votes for years, the chances of getting your vote through and making it count are as slim as they’ve ever been - but for a change, you’re now painfully aware.

Rabbit's Foot

The logic error is present in both types of voting machines made by the company: touchscreens and optical scan systems. These machines are used in 34 states (1,750 jurisdictions). For example, in Ohio’s March primaries, it is known that the machines temporarily lost 1,000 ballots.

The e-Voting machines “contain a critical programming error that can cause votes to be dropped while being electronically transferred from memory cards to a central tallying point”.

Clearly the most shameful element of this scandal and recent admission is that Diebold (ahem… now Premier Voting Solutions) has previously denied any malfunction or impropriety in their e-machines, and they have continued to deflect any accusations thrown at the integrity of their patented voting process. They’ve even set up decorated demonstrations showing the “much improved” system they’ve come up with.

Look Abroad For Sense?

The Dutch are not fooled (or fools). 90% of the of the votes in The Netherlands are cast on the Nedap Groenendaal ES3B voting computer. You see, the Dutch cast only a single one-candidate vote per election, although sometimes two or three elections happen at the same time.  Concerned voters with a mind to protect the delicate system have set up organizations dedicated to the proposition to keep e-voting out of their electoral process.

See some of Wijvertrouwen Stemcomputers Niet’s (We Do Not Trust Voting Comptuers) findings in the translated PDF here.

Despite their very serious security flaws, the Diebold DREs were certified according
to federal and state standards. This demonstrates that the certification processes are
deficient. The Federal Election Commission’s 2002 Voting System Standards say
relatively little about security, seeming to focus instead on the machine’s reliability if
used non-maliciously.

But here on the US home front, there have been no suggestions or proposed plans to retire the once-suspected, now confirmed faulty and inaccurate machines from their ill-fated careers. The lackluster system set in place by the Help America Vote Act and the Election Assistance Commission means that there is no quick fix for this problem.

In other
the problem
will carry over
into November
In other words, the problem will carry over into November. A company spokesman said it takes “two years on average for certification and approval” of any proposed change. Essentially implying that if the machines were to open up and spit fire into the faces of voters, we’d have no choice but to continue using them because of the mountain of paperwork involved.

Why is this so difficult?

What is it going to take to get this right? I mean, the machines aren’t all that complicated in theory, are they?  You push a few buttons, it stores the choices in a large database, you close the session. It sounds like a program you were assigned in your first year of programming C++.Speak n Spell

We currently have supercomputers and guidance systems that can pinpoint the trajectory of flying missiles, intercept them, and blow them out of the sky with never-been-heard-of accuracy and agility. We have video game systems capable of emulating the instrumentation (and resulting sound) of an entire rock band, all in the comfort of our own living rooms.

Hell, I remember my old Speak and Spell and how cool that was — it was simple, it worked, and it has lasted the test of time both in its purpose and execution.

But why change things? Our current system is working:

  1. Leave the current machines in place
  2. Allow for misinformation to circulate; leave questions unanswered
  3. Accuse the accusers and naysayers of being “paranoid”
  4. Repeat

It brings to mind the words of Henry David Thoreau:

~ All voting is a sort of gaming, like checkers or backgammon, with a slight moral tinge to it, a playing with right and wrong. ~

[Via The Washington Post]

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