Something's rotten in the state of Denmark

Monday, November 15, 2004

Diebold wasn't even good enough for Kenneth Blackwell

Here's something worth reminding: despite Ohio being the state headquarters of Diebold, Ohio did not use Diebold machines. As this Ohio Democratic Party webpage reminds us, "Ohio did not use modern electronic voting machines in this election. Six counties use an older form of electronic voting, which has a means of verifying the accuracy of the vote. In 69 Ohio Counties, punch card ballots were used."

Why wasn't Diebold used? Because Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell -- I know, I know, we've all been wanting to cast him as the Katharine Harris in this situation, but he made the right call here -- decided that there were too many "unresolved security issues" with the Diebold machines.

Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell today halted deployment of Diebold Election Systems' electronic voting devices in Ohio for the 2004 General Election. The decision is based on preliminary findings from the secretary of state's second round of security testing conducted by Compuware Corporation showing the existence of previously identified, but yet unresolved security issues. Hardin, Lorain and Trumbull counties had selected to use new Diebold equipment this November. Those counties will use their current voting devices in 2004.

"As I made clear last year, I will not place these voting devices before Ohio's voters until identified risks are corrected," Blackwell said. "Diebold Election Systems has successfully addressed many, but not all, of the problems that were identified in our first security review. The lack of comprehensive resolution prevents me from giving county boards of elections a green light for this November.

"I look forward to working with Diebold Election Systems and our other qualified election system vendors as they continue to bolster security and develop voting devices that meet Ohio's requirement for voter-verifiable paper audit trails."

In December 2003, Secretary Blackwell released results from two comprehensive examinations identifying 57 potential security risks within the software and hardware of the voting devices offered by Ohio's qualified electronic voting systems vendors: Diebold Election Systems, Election Systems and Software, Hart Intercivic, and Sequoia Voting Systems. He ordered the voting machine manufacturers to resolve all of the identified issues or face a halt in deployment.

The Diebold machines didn't past the test with Blackwell -- and he's a party hack! -- and yet have been used throughout the nation in many other states.

Keep in mind that the Ohio recount is about double checking the use of the electronic machines that counted the punched ballots, in a state which has had so many discrepancies reported, not to mention the Warren County lockdown and the weird addition of those 4,000 votes in Franklin County. But New Hampshire should be taken as the recount to examine the efficiency and accuracy of the electronic voting machines.

Check out that Ohio Democratic Party link for other useful information related to Ohio, including explanations (debunking) of the Cuyahoga County situation that has been mentioned in many emails floating through the universe.