Diebold admits flaw in voting machine for a decade

August 26, 2008 | 10:05

Tags: #diebold #error #flaw #vote #voting

Companies: #premier

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.
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