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July 29, 2005

California Rejects Diebold

-- by Gary Boatwright

State rejects e-voting system: Counties scramble to replace Diebold machines.

Let's hope this is the start of a nationwide trend:

After possibly the most extensive testing ever on a voting system, California has rejected Diebold's flagship electronic voting machine because of printer jams and screen freezes, sending local elections officials scrambling for other means of voting. "There was a failure rate of about 10 percent, and that's not good enough for the voters of California and not good enough for me," said Secretary of State Bruce McPherson.

Picky, picky, picky.

Does this sound familiar to anyone:

If the machines had been used in an actual election, the result could have been frustrated poll workers and long lines for thousands of voters, said elections officials and voter advocates on Thursday.

"We certainly can't take any kind of risk like that with this kind of device on California voters," McPherson said.

No biggie says Ken Blackwell & Co.:

State elections officials in Ohio say they still have confidence in the machines.

"Absolutely," said Carlo LoParo, spokesman for the Ohio Secretary of State's Office.

California is the only state I am aware of that has established rigorous requirements:

By January 2006 every polling place nationwide must offer at least one handicapped-accessible voting machine — touch screens are one example — and all California touch screens must offer a countable paper record so voters and election officials can verify the accuracy of electronic votes. *So far, no voting system has been state- approved that meets both requirements*.

"This is a muddle because there is no certified system right now," said Elaine Ginnold, acting registrar of voters in Alameda County. "We have to look at all of the nonoptions."

There are going to be some very unhappy tax payers in San Joaquin county:
McPherson denied approval of the TSx after a series of failedtests, culminating in a massive, mock election conducted on 96 of the machines in a San Joaquin County warehouse. San Joaquin is one of three California counties that purchased a total of 13,000 TSx machines in 2003 for more than $40 million and have paid to warehouse them ever since.

For eight hours on July 20, four dozen local elections officials and contractors stood at tables and tapped votes into the machines to replicate a California primary, one of the most complex elections in the nation. State officials watched as paper jams cropped up 10 times, and several machines froze, requiring a full reboot for voting to continue

Diebold has been peddling pure junk, even if it could be trusted:

Reliable voting equipment has been a problem before for Diebold in California. In the weeks before the March 2004 presidential primary, the firm rushed a new device called a voter-card encoder through assembly, testing and temporary state approval. Hundreds of the devices broke down on election day. Without the devices, thousands of voters in two of California's largest counties, San Diego and Alameda, could not vote on Diebold's touch screens. Lines developed, and hundreds walked away without voting.

I'm trying to figure out why the tests McPherson ran didn't include hacking.

Posted by Gary Boatwright at July 29, 2005 1:10 PM

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