Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Will Diebold voting kiosks ever work correctly?

I don't think so, and the latest round of news about the self-service voting devices doesn't improve the outlook any. First comes this story on ArsTechnica about Diebold's latest plan to fix the touchscreen machines: tell people not to touch them. That's right, touching the touchscreens is the cause of all those nasty problems according to Diebold, and to "fix" them for the upcoming Maryland elections, they're preparing to retrofit all 5,000 of them with keyboards and mice (though they acknowledged that there might be a software fix in the works). This is after a mock election demonstrated that the machines were woefully incapable of handling basic voting tasks.

But wait, it get's better. As Techdirt notes (from a story on Avi Rubin's blog), apparently there has been at least one case where a Diebold kiosk hasn't recorded any votes, "despite the fact that fifty-five people were logged voting at that machine. There was no warning or error message on the machine that would have, you know, let anyone know that the machine shouldn't be used or their votes wouldn't be recorded. While in the end, they were able to recover the votes by looking at the additional on-board memory (not the memory card) on the machine, Rubin points out all of the problems with this method, including the fact that they're reliant on Diebold to recover these votes and provide an accurate tally."

Past links to Diebold articles:
Major flaws found in Diebold electronic voting kiosks
Diebold introduces self-service coin counting solution
Diebold Reports First Quarter Financial Results

Tags: Diebold, voting kiosks, interactive kiosks, self-service voting, voting terminals

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