2/26/2006

Diebold: Corrupting Democracy

Democracy in the US has always been about openess and fairness, verifiable and honest (or has it?). However, with Diebold's electronic voting, voter information is a company secret, owned not by the American people, but by a company whose former CEO, Walden O'Dell, promised he would "deliver" Ohio to Bush in 2004.
Now before some of you go on about Democrats stealing elections (and I go on about two wrongs not making a right) remember when the Republicans were making their power grab towards the end of the last century (when a lot of Democrats were involved in ethics investigations)by proclaiming an end to the corruption of the Democrats. Which is true, once the corruption of the Democrats was gone it was replaced by the corruption of the Republicans. (Tom Delay, Jack Abramoff, Katherine Harris and Randy "Duke Cunningham just off the top of my head).
In February of 2003, programmers for Diebold admitted they were parking the companies highly sensitive files on a public website where they could be read by anyone with an interest in hacking the system. A panel set up by California Secreatry of State Bruce McPherson found the system had sixteen bugs that could cede complete control to hacker who could change vote totals, modify results, change the name of candidates or even crash machines. Even after all this damning evidence, McPherson still certified the machines. Maryland and Florida, on the other hand, citing lack of confidence in the voting machines and de-certified them.
Meanwhile, Walden O'Dell, resigned from his position as CEO at Diebold, which is facing litigation from it's stockholders for securities fraud. But don't worry Wally, as a Bush pioneer and a fraud, I'm sure that you have a position waiting for you in the Bush administration.
( This post has been prepared with information from the The Brad Blog to which we are truly indebted)

21 comments:

LILY BRANFORD said...

This controversy has reared its corrupt little head for another reason- in some states, they have used the ruse of privacy to shoot down paper verification, claiming that the same technology that allows a person to recieve a 'receipt' makes the system vulnerable to privacy concerns. (HA! Like they care)Voter registration records are available to anyone who walks into the office, I have gotten them myself. it says the name,address, and party of any neighbor you care to know about. No concerns about privacy. This will be an ongoing argument. Why don't they just ask the IRS how THEY manage to safeguard information and process taxes, by phone and by computer? Ask corporations how thousands of them can encrypt information every day- people pay bills by phone, bank by phone, in fact most of my finances are conducted without paper. Haven't we progressed from chads and butterfly ballots? Even colleges have scheduling by 'kiosk'. Even CONVENIENCE stores have a kiosk to order lunch while you pump gas! Where's the outrage over the absurdity of three hour lines for voting? What I called "Logistical Disenfranchisement" when I saw parents with crying babies leave the lines... Where's the outrage about this whole ridiculous mess? Thank you Lew for posting on this bullshit. These elctions are among the many embarassments we ignore.

Ron Nasty said...

The problem with electronic voting is that there is no paper trail to follow up on. And results can be erased, or changed with a flick of the switch.

abi said...

I agree. Unless human beings suddenly become immune to corruption, a certified paper record of electronic ballots is necessary. It's too easy to change the bits and bytes.

AJ said...

Bugs? What Bugs? If there were *really* a problem with the "bugs" - then they could have call Terminex(tm). Did they? No. 'Nuf said.
Besides, my Diabold stock, is getting ready to soar!
And a 2.15 Yield to boot? Damn, let's party!
To heck with the upcoming BK IPO, I can't wait until Blackwater goes public.

Rory Shock said...

Mass ignorance about how the computer world operates is an ally here to the forces of evil ... it is an invisible world, a world of "code talk" ... a world well suited to corrupt, secretive fascists ... seeking to manipulate an election ... paper ballots baby ... without high tech chads ... that's the only way to go ... at least paper manifestations of the vote and a way for each voter to verify his her vote was counted properly ... and while we're at it, lets get rid of the damn electoral college just to change the subject in a radical and completely unjustified direction ...

Neil Shakespeare said...

You should have paper ballots which are filled in by the voter, then the voter places them on a scanner and the scanner counts them. Then the paper ballots are put in a box for the election officials who count them when the polls close. Then they compare the paper with the electronic counts. Ouila! Then we'd know for sure.

lily said...

I like the big Rubbermaid boxes they use in new Democracies.


Yeah. Get rid of the electoral college. Whats the point?

Left of Center said...

Diebold is an excellent submition. I added my Corruptco to my blog today.

Rex Kramer, Danger Seeker said...

Once again, I feel compelled to address the hippy shrillings of America-hater emeritus, Lily...

Silly hippy! Must I really describe the difference between voter registrations (public record) and the fact that you ordered a tofu dog and hummus while you pumped ethenol into your hybrid-powered Honda (info provided by the NSA)?

Besides, I would have thought that you of all people would be dead-set against paper ballots. I mean, how many trees must die to quench your elaborate conspiracy theories?

Posted in Encryption,

Rex

LILY BRANFORD said...

OH, so Neil can hate trees without reproach because he's a MAN, huh????

It seems that Rex wants to violate my right to choose- paper or plastic.

I did have hummus yesterday though, but with pita chips and cucumber.

some_maineiac said...

tsk, tsk, Rex, it's hippie when referring to someone who came of age in the '60's...

hippy means that Lily has broad hips and no one knows that for a fact except her...use hipster if you can't remember the difference!!!

while we're on the subject of destruction of trees, let's consider the wholesale selling of paper company land in the Northeast for vacation house lots by the lakes and kingdoms of huge acreage for the wealthy...after the current owners get one last clear-cut to supply the vast quantities of paper that get generated and thrown away in the offices every day...paper ballots are a mere pittance compared to that....

oh, they throw a sop to the environmentalists, though...500 foot "green" strips surrounding waterways...take a trip on the allagash sometime, you might think you're in a wilderness, but just get out of the canoe and walk 500' (it ain't real far) and see the massive clearcuts that lay on the other side...

Rhino-itall said...

I don't care too much for your conspiracy theories, but i would like to address the point of the electoral college. we need it. if we didn't have it the president would be selected either through the domination of one populous region over the others or through the domination of large metropolitan areas over the rural ones. Indeed, it is principally because of the Electoral College that presidential nominees are inclined to select vice presidential running mates from a region other than their own. For as things stand now, no one region contains the absolute majority (270) of electoral votes required to elect a president. Thus, there is an incentive for presidential candidates to pull together coalitions of States and regions rather than to exacerbate regional differences. Such a unifying mechanism seems especially prudent in view of the severe regional problems that have typically plagued geographically large nations such as China, India, the Soviet Union, and even, in its time, the Roman Empire.

Rhino-itall said...

I failed to cite my source for the above argument, it was part of an Excerpt from an original document located at Jackson County, MO Election Board.

abi said...

Rhinoculous, I couldn't disagree more.

I live in Massachusetts. Conservatives in this state who vote for a Republican president are performing a futile act. Inevitably, the state votes for the Democrat, and conservatives' votes essentially get translated through the electoral process for the Democrat. It makes no sense.

The electoral college disenfranchises millions of voters, and discourages who knows how many more from voting at all.

There is no 'perfect' system. But one person/one vote is the fairest.

Rhino-itall said...

abi, sorry i haven't been here for a while. Being from NY, i understand how conservatives in Mass. feel, but the problem is that if it was just a popular vote, the candidates would be forced to ignore the needs of most of the country. Only the most populous states would recieve any attention.

LILY BRANFORD said...

So, we should SUBSIDIZE the voice of rural people by rendering the voices of urban areas irrelevant, Rhino? :)



I mean, I hear both sides, but think the electoral system is not the answer.

LILY BRANFORD said...

And don't they ignore the needs of most of the country anyway? Last I checked, the bulk of our population did not work for big oil or the government's pet corruptco's... they don't care about the needs of the majority of the country, they care about themselves and perpetuating their self interests which is why I am so recently wary of giving them even more intrusive authority. My father's jokes about becoming a gun-toting libertarian by my fortieth birthday are less far fetched when I see the chronic dysfunction and disservice that is our federal government. Do they allow social workers into the NRA? Damn my hybrid gene pool. That abortion discussion at the Boot Sounds like my childhood dinner table. Alas, I am scarred by Momma Trotsky amd Papa Heston.

One person, one vote. Then lock up the winner.

Anonymous said...

Lily, are you sure you didn't mean "one person, one vote, then lock up the WHINER"? As much as the founding fathers tried to anticipate what a flourishing democracy would need, they really failed here. It is completely divisive to consider citizens state-by-state in a NATIONAL election as if we don't all live in the same country. And even if there are regional issues, why is it that my vote only counts if I move to a small rural state (hmmm, maybe a good strategy every 4-yrs)? Proof of the two-face republitard outlook on the electoral college is that the 2000 Bush Team had a whole phalanx lined up to take on that very issue if Bush won the popular vote, but lost the electoral vote as they suspected might happen. D.K.

fosco said...

Whiner...thats funny.

some_maineiac said...

use caution with that "abolish the electoral college" sword...it cuts both ways...these interesting stats from wikipedia indicate that NIXON might have won the popular vote in 1960!!!

had there been no electoral college at that time (Nixon could not have mustered enough votes on a recount to swing Texas and Illinois)...he could very well have been president based on a recount in Alabama (where the ballot did not include Kennedy, but rather a slate of Democratic electors)

what an alternate universe that would have been!!!

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