Yesterday, California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley banned the Diebold TSx touch-screen voting system, citing an April 20th report by his office that details abuse and fraud by Diebold. “We will not tolerate the deceitful conduct Diebold.”
This is not the first time that Diebold has had problems, either. The Department of Budget and Management of the Office of Information Technology for the State of Maryland said in >Risk Assessment Report: Diebold AccuVote-TS Voting System and Processes (Sept 2, 2003):
This Risk Assessment has identified several high-risk vulnerabilities in the implementation of the managerial, operational, and technical controls for AccuVote-TS voting system.
That is pretty damning. They identified not vulnerabilites in just software, but in managerial and operational controls.
Avi Rubin, et alia, discuss the technical problems with Diebold in their Analysis of an Electronic Voting System, due in May’s IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy.
Diebold’s problems go back further than that even. You can find plenty of digital ink about Diebold screwing up the Florida vote count for the 2000 presidential race, and Florida still uses Diebold in Volusia county, among others.
I have two words for this: “open source”. If the government uses software, it should get the source, and in most cases, the people should get to see it. That does not mean the we get a license to use it—just to look at it. Words like “fraud” or “deceit” do not apply when we can inspect the source ourselves.
In the end, our elections should not be a commercial activity, and we should demand something more than just competition in the marketplace to decide what we are going to use. How many states have to connect their election debacles to Diebold before someone goes to jail?