The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

9 December 2003

Diebold with a vengeance

A number of people are distrustful of Diebold because (1) they make voting machines and (2) their management is staunchly Republican.

My gripe with them, on the other hand, is that they're building Windows XP-based automatic teller machines, that a small fraction of them were actually infected with the Nachi/Welchia worm this summer, and that they're only just now admitting to it.

Could Diebold's voting machines be similarly infected? Probably not; they run Windows CE, which lacks some of the obvious holes in other versions of Windows, and they're usually not operated on a network.

Posted at 3:35 PM to PEBKAC

TrackBack: 5:59 PM, 9 December 2003
» Hey, where'd all my money go? from ronbailey's weblog
Worm hits Windows-based ATMs | CNET Man, I wouldn't trust them with my vote, much less my money... Automated teller machines at two banks running Microsoft's popular Windows software were infected by a computer virus in August, the maker...[read more]

How long do you expect non-networking to last when media puts on more and more pressure to get out election results instantaneously? I think I'll side with Glenn Reynolds on this one and vote for the return of paper ballots.

Posted by: Lummox JR at 5:06 PM on 9 December 2003

I like the system we have in Oklahoma: you mark a really large paper ballot (relatively easy to read) with a black marker, you shove it into the reader, and when the polls close, the reader coughs up the totals but you still have the paper ballots to verify the numbers. It's a lot more impressive, I think, than these vaunted touch-screens and other fancy-schmancy devices.

Posted by: CGHill at 6:44 PM on 9 December 2003

I too like and trust Oklahoma's voting system. The worst problem I ever saw was someone putting the ballot in backwards, and then the machine just spit it back out. I don't trust any system that seperates the voter from the actual marking of the ballot.

Posted by: Mike at 8:36 PM on 9 December 2003

That sounds like a great idea that wouldn't take automation out of the system entirely. Maybe someone should get Prof on the case.

Posted by: Lummox JR at 11:34 PM on 9 December 2003

A number of people are distrustful of Diebold because (1) they make voting machines and (2) their management is staunchly Republican.

Tell that to Joe Lieberman.

Posted by: Vickie at 5:15 AM on 10 December 2003

Joe wasn't answering his phone; in the distance we could hear him muttering "Et tu, Al?"

Posted by: CGHill at 7:18 AM on 10 December 2003

It sure seems odd that this company doesn't produce a single ATM that completes transactions WITHOUT a paper hard copy.

However, they chose to eliminate this vital redundancy in their voting systems.

One would think that the best solution would be an electronic vote with a hard copy backup, verified by the voter then stored separately and independently counted in the event of a dispute.

An extra cost, sure, but cash register owners and banks seem to think that redundancy is worth the money.

Posted by: Okie Wines at 2:04 PM on 10 December 2003

I would rather the hard copy be printed then turned in, instead of relying on data to be your vote, then some recipe being "proof".

I too like oklahoma's system.

Posted by: bruce at 12:52 AM on 11 December 2003