July 15, 2024

More E-Voting Follies

Lately it seems that we’ve seen one story after another about the carelessness of e-voting vendors, especially Diebold. Here are two.

(1) Kim Alexander of the California Voter Foundation (who has been, in my experience, a reliable source of information) reported this:

This afternoon [apparently Tuesday – EF] I attended a meeting of the California Secretary of State’s Voting Systems Panel, which is in charge of certifying and decertifying voting systems for California elections.

At this meeting the initial results from the Secretary of State’s audit of counties using Diebold equipment were released. The Secretary of State’s auditors discovered that of the 17 counties using Diebold equipment (both optical scan and touchscreen), all 17 had some software or firmware version in use that was not certified by the Secretary of State.

It was an astonishing piece of information – no one knew how widespread the problem was of Diebold installing uncertified software in voting systems as was discovered in Alameda County. It turns out all of Diebold’s California clients are using some version of Diebold software or firmware that is not certified by the state.

It was a real bombshell. Secretary of State Kevin Shelley came into the meeting to address the panel and spoke very firmly and passionately about the need for voters to have confidence in elections. He also suggested that it is possible Diebold could be decertified in California altogether.

(2) An AP story by Rachel Konrad reported on allegations that Global Election Systems, a company purchased by Diebold, had employed convicted felons, some in upper management. Here’s a sample:

The programmer, Jeffrey Dean, wrote and maintained proprietary code used to count hundreds of thousands of votes as senior vice president of Global Election Systems Inc. Diebold purchased GES in January 2002.

According to a public court document released before GES hired him, Dean served time in a Washington correctional facility for stealing money and tampering with computer files in a scheme that “involved a high degree of sophistication and planning.”

Diebold said that Mr. Dean left his job when Diebold bought GES. Diebold apparently did not comment on the status of the other four current or past employees who are said to be convicted felons.

[Link credit for (2): Siva Vaidhyanathan.]


  1. Ahh, Paul, that Jeff Dean was a convicted felon is not the point of this story. What he was convicted of doing is the point of the story: tampering and computer theft. A reasonable person would consider every single computer, program and file that he could have touched to be tainted and untrustable. A reasonable person would conclude that a convicted hacker would have placed backdoors and/or deliberate defects in the software in reserve for later exploitation (because that is standard operating procedure for hackers). Nothing he touched could be considered trustable. And the one thing that election software must be, above all, is trusted.

  2. http://www.blackboxvoting.com
    a site dedicated to uncovering the unauditable voting reform fraud.

  3. Am I wrong, or are convicted felons no longer allowed to vote? There’s either a joke, or a scary conspiracy theory to be made here…