Laughable Response Similar to Those Made by Academics, Election Law Attorneys in Support of E-Voting Technology...
By Brad Friedman on 12/15/2007, 6:30am PT  

Try not to laugh. But here's Diebold's response to the new study from the state of Ohio showing their crappy, untested, inaccurate, unsecure voting machines --- and those made by their equally duplicitous friends at ES&S and Hart Intercivic --- to be extremely vulnerable to tampering with the use of household items as simple as a magnet or a personal digital assistant.

As if to continue pushing their bad luck with yet another dare, the Diebold statement says, "It is important to note that there has not been a single documented case of a successful attack against an electronic voting system, in Ohio or anywhere in the United States."

Okay, guys. This is getting exhausted (and just plain sad), but be careful what you wish for.

"Even as we continue to strengthen the security features of our voting systems," Diebold/Premier writes, "that reality should not be lost in the discussion."

"Continue" to "strengthen"? (Supply own joke here)

Yet, the company who is so proud of their work that they changed their name from Diebold to Premier for no other reason beyond the fact that the horrible, corrupt and fraudulent work of their voting division has disgraced the parent company, says "Premier has performed a host of modifications and enhancements to its software to further strengthen system security. Our new suite of products is expected to soon complete the yearlong federal certification process, and will be available for installation in 2008."

Goody. We'll buy a new supply of magnets right away.

Finally, and without evidence, they add: "We should also not lose sight of the very real improvements in voting accuracy that have been achieved with the deployment of modern touch screen systems."

Really? Where's the evidence for that? Unfortunately, Diebold is not alone in making that specious claim...

We suspect the claim is based on the old chestnut of a study by MIT/Caltech from 2002, updated in 2005 [PDF], which found there were fewer over and undervotes recorded with e-voting systems such as Diebold's. We'll just have to take their word for it, since there's no real way to know if votes recorded by DRE (usually, touch-screen) voting systems actually improved on such so-called residual ballots or not. But, as to improved accuracy, we're aware of no such available evidence for their claim.

Nonetheless, some members of the Election law and academic community, such as Loyola's Rick Hasen of the helpful Election Law Blog, have latched onto studies such as the one mentioned above to make the same case.

Writing in a report for the Stanford Law Review [PDF], assessing changes to America's voting systems in the five years since the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) was implemented, Hasen makes repeated, and unsupported assertions that HAVA has led, somehow, to improvements in voting technology.

While the report is dead on-the-money in its assessment of the various disastrous state of voter registration systems and photo ID laws, etc. Hasen was as out of step on the voting machine issue, as he was on target with the other points, which are his area of expertise.

Just some of the unfortunate, and unsupported claims from his report: "vote counting technology has improved...outside the area of voting technology, most legislative bodies have done too little to fix problems...States moved to a variety of more reliable technologies...and the results were certainly an improvement over the dismal performance of the machines in 2000...Technology, however, is the success story since 2000..." etc.

Needless to say, we disagree heartily with both Diebold's and Hasen's assertions and believe there is little if any evidence to back up their claims. If someone has any, we're sure they'll send it to us forthwith. In the meantime, the growing mountain of evidence demonstrating that such systems have been an unmitigated disaster for the American electoral system, continues to grow every day.

Recently, after politely pointing out our disagreement with Hasen's assertions on the private Election Law mailing list, which he runs with fellow academic Daniel Lowenstein, we were removed from the list. The reason for our removal, we were told, were member complaints about "the tone" of our postings to the list having caused a "general chill" among participants.

We hadn't noticed such a chill on the list where dozens of notes are posted each day, even as disinformation experts and operatives such as the Wall Street Journal's John Fund, the former Republican chair of the FEC, Brad Smith and even members of the disgraced American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR) remain on the list as members in good standing.

We're disappointed in the loss of access to many valuable sources and helpful information, but somehow, we shall soldier on.

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