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Diebold admits flaw in voting machine for a decade

Diebold admits flaw in voting machine for a decade

Premier, previously known as Diebold, has admitted an error in its voting software stretching back over ten years.

Anyone who has been paying attention to the US voting scene over the last few years will have heard of Diebold, the manufacturer of controversial digital voting systems which recently renamed itself to Premier. Well, the company has addressed that controversy – with an admission that the machines are faulty.

Techdirt noticed the admission from the company, the content of which won't surprise critics of the electronic voting machine manufacturer, on the Washington Post website. It seems that machines used in thirty-four US states contain a “programming error” which causes the devices to discount valid votes: as far as you're aware the vote went fine, but your particular choice never makes it to the official record. Something of a problem in a voting machine, really.

Diebold/Premier has also admitted that not only does this rather serious glitch exist, but it can be traced back in the affected machines for more than a decade – which brings into question over ten years of votes taken via the machines.

Diebold, as it was then known, became famous for refusing researchers access to its machines to verify their operations, insisting that such independent testing was unnecessary as the systems were perfectly designed so as not to make errors. Clearly, this wasn't true – and still isn't. While the problem will be fixed in the near future, until such time as Diebold/Premier makes its machines and source code available for thorough analysis by disinterested third parties I can't imagine ever trusting a closed digital system to record my votes correctly.

Would you trust a voting machine from a company with Diebold's track record, or would you rather stick with the 'tick the box next to the candidate and stick the paper in a box' method of voting? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

11 Comments

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Bladestorm 26th August 2008, 10:31 Quote
Would I trust a company that had a major error with far-reaching consequences and either lied about it for ten years, or was so blinkered by arrogance that they failed to even notice .. erm .. why no I don't think I would
Arkanrais 26th August 2008, 10:49 Quote
more complexity on voting machines = more things to go wrong.
paper = cheesecake
mclean007 26th August 2008, 11:06 Quote
Ouch. Maybe explains how a shaved chimp managed to win their presidential election not once, but twice?!
Mentai 26th August 2008, 11:28 Quote
Shaved chimp? I thought that was the average American... :P
[USRF]Obiwan 26th August 2008, 11:45 Quote
And guess who the real owners of that company are.. I bet the rockafella's of the world and other new world order scum...
chicorasia 26th August 2008, 13:32 Quote
Brazil has been using electronic voting machines for some ten years now. As far as I remember, they are made by Procomp.

These are incredilby simple devices - no color display, no touch screen, no punch cards. People vote by punching in their candidate's number - two digits for president, governor or mayor, 3 digits for senator, 4 and 5 digits for other representatives.

Before the voting begins, a report called ZERESIMA is printed out, to verify that there are no votes already in the ballot's memory. Voters arrive, are identified and their ID number is punched into a remote terminal, which unlocks the ballot. After all the votes are cast (up to 5), the ballot locks itfself, waiting for the next voter. At the end of election day, a code is typed into the remote terminal, several reports are generated (including a vote count, which must match the number of voters who have signed the voter list), all the data is verified and recorded into a floppy (yes, floppy) disk and uploaded via the internet to a central server. Results are cast in less than 24 hours.

Bear in mind that voting in Brazil is mandatory, and we have over 100 million voters.

If you want to get a feel for Brazilian ballots, go to:
http://www.tse.gov.br/eleicoes/urna_eletronica/simulacao_votacao/UrnaApplet2.htm

(I have worked on several elections already)
MrMonroe 26th August 2008, 14:59 Quote
I can always count on bit-tech for condescending remarks about people in my country. Thanks guys.

Oh, BTW, << an American who knows how ridiculous our electoral system is and has been saying so for years. Snide remarks from outsiders helps people like GWB. Please try to remember that if you don't like the guy.
The_Beast 26th August 2008, 16:47 Quote
everyone knew there where errors in those machines
always stick to a hard copy when doing something important
AcidJiles 26th August 2008, 17:14 Quote
erm so Robin williams movie was right?
Firehed 26th August 2008, 17:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mentai
Shaved chimp? I thought that was the average American... :P
No, though we're headed that way. But then again, so is most of the world.

Trolling aside, I wouldn't be at all surprised if they're trying to overextend their perceived incompetence to cover up something more sinister. As it's closed source, we have no way of knowing what is or isn't accurate; all we know is that they've long since proven that we can't trust them.
LordPyrinc 26th August 2008, 23:56 Quote
How do you F-up something as simple as a program that counts votes entered? What did they do, have circus monkeys do the programming? Conspiracy theories shall abound on this one.

Fox Mulder: "Trust no(t) one" politician.
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