Thursday, November 02, 2006

Diebold demands that HBO cancel documentary on electronic voting machines

Because we're somehow a week away from Election Day 2006 and this issue still hasn't been resolved, HBO is planning to air a special on electronic voting machines, and how they can be hacked nine ways to Sunday to change votes, modify voter history, miscount votes, lose information, and so on. Since Diebold has been one of the biggest offenders in the electronic voting industry, the show features some of their devices, which obviously makes Diebold somewhat unhappy.

According to this article at, Diebold has asked HBO to not air the program, claiming that "Hacking Democracy" (the program's name) is "replete with material examples of inaccurate reporting."

Two things strike me as odd about this: first, HBO's documentaries, while typically based on the truth, aren't necessarily held to the same journalistic standards as CNN, or any of the major networks's news programs (and we can make all the jokes we want about journalistic integrity in general), nor does HBO ever claim that they should be. This causes problems when they present material as fact and voters use this "information" to make informed conclusions. Second, despite that, Diebold is in the news a lot, and when it comes to electronic voting, the news is not usually good. Just take a look at some of the times in the past when I've complained about them, and you'll start to see that maybe HBO is doing their show for a reason:

Will Diebold voting kiosks ever work correctly?
Major flaws found in Diebold electronic voting kiosks
More Diebold voting kiosk news
Miami-Dade loses touchscreen voting information
Voting Kiosks and Super Tuesday

Tags: kiosks, electronic voting, e-voting, voting machines, Diebold, self-service

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