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California AG Says He'll Sue Diebold 394

moby11 points to this Reuters story carried by Yahooo!; it begins "California Attorney General Bill Lockyer said on Tuesday he would sue electronic voting machine maker Diebold Inc. on charges it defrauded the state with false claims about its products."
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California AG Says He'll Sue Diebold

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  • by jmcmunn ( 307798 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @08:41PM (#10184509)

    Or the jury will have to count their votes ten times.
    • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @09:28PM (#10184892) Homepage Journal
      Or the jury will have to count their votes ten times.

      You misunderstand...

      "Lockyer determined sufficient evidence existed to go forward with a false claims lawsuit against Diebold," the statement said. The state's top lawyer earlier had dropped a criminal investigation of Diebold.

      It's an electon year, right? Even if he's not up for re-election, it's the natural behavior of a politician.

      To whit:

      Diebold Vice President Thomas Swidarski said in a statement that the company was pleased Lockyer dropped the probe. Despite Lockyer's decision to sue, the company is "confident that the state's decision to intervene will aid in a fair and dispassionate examination of the issues raised in the case," Swidarski said.

      What Swidarski really oughta said, "[the company] is confident that this is a political ploy and will amount to nothing."

    • We, the jury, find the defendant to be Pat Buchannan.
  • A YRO topic?? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bob beta ( 778094 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @08:42PM (#10184511)
    I thought was just set up for this non-online stuff.
    • Re:A YRO topic?? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by echeslack ( 618016 )
      I also think they placed it under the wrong topic, but I think this is just as much a general technology issue as it is about politics. I figure is for actual politics. This is really about technology's role in politics, so it makes sense as general news on this sight. Not sure why it would be under yro though. But a lot of stuff gets put under IT that seems entirely unrelated to IT, so who knows.
    • Re:A YRO topic?? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Lehk228 ( 705449 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @08:49PM (#10184585) Journal
      Diebold eVoting machines and their various flaws are not really a political topic, rather a technical topic, now the conspiracy theories about handing the election to bush (regardless of merit) may be political, the machines and their (lack of) adoption and use is Tech related.
      • Re:A YRO topic?? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by WindBourne ( 631190 )
        In fact, the CEO of Diebold promises to deliver GWB for president. After he goes to prison for doing so, the next CEO may be a democrat who will then do the same.
    • It is in politics.

      There are 3 topic icons above: United States, YRO and Politics.
    • Re:A YRO topic?? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Petronius ( 515525 )
      Soon someone will be asking why it's not posted under . That's why it needs to be posted on the homepage.
  • And then what? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JakeThompson1 ( 808024 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @08:43PM (#10184521)
    So they will sue Diebold, win, and use the money to buy more Diebold products? After all, they are probably engaged in some type of "e-vote upgrade" and have already sold their "old" optical/mechanical/etc. machines to "poorer" [not considering the CA budget deficit] states.

    Have they considered vendor lock-in?
    • Re:And then what? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by nharmon ( 97591 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @08:46PM (#10184552)
      Actually, it would be fitting for Diebold to refuse to sell to California.

      This would be similiar to when governments began sueing Ford Motor company because their Crown Victoria police cars would explode after being hit in the rear by vehicles traveling at highway speeds. When the state filed charges, Ford stopped selling them cars.

      So, this begs the question, California still buying diebold machines? Because if they are, then this lawsuit is nothing about ensuring voting integrity.
      • Re:And then what? (Score:5, Informative)

        by AuMatar ( 183847 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @08:48PM (#10184583)
        Diebold machines have been ruleed illegal in the state.
  • From TFA... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nuclear305 ( 674185 ) * on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @08:43PM (#10184525)
    "Secretary of State Kevin Shelley has said Diebold deceived California with aggressive marketing that led to the installation of touch-screen voting systems that were not tested or approved nationally or in California."

    From the sounds of it, the person(s) involved with authorizing the installation gave in to Diebold's hype without bothering to give system a thourough inspection/review prior to making the decision. In addition to suing Diebold, maybe the AG should be looking for some heads to chop for making a bad situation[company pushing false claims] even worse[installation and failure of product]?
    • Re:From TFA... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Maybe Diebold should cowboy the fuck up and accept its responsibility as an aid to the democratic process of the United States of America instead of diddling about as an aid to the Republican Party.
      • Re:From TFA... (Score:4, Informative)

        by DAldredge ( 2353 ) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @09:12PM (#10184775) Journal
        Because we all know that Democrats never commit vote fraud. Just ask all the dead people at the polls in chicago ;->
    • Re:From TFA... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by nharmon ( 97591 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @08:48PM (#10184582)
      Well, since they didn't bother to test the machines, then the state shares in some of the blame.

      Mayber caveat emptor doesn't apply to the gov'ment?
      • Re:From TFA... (Score:4, Informative)

        by Ralph Wiggam ( 22354 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @10:23PM (#10185319) Homepage
        The reason they are filing a lawsuit is because Diebold was apparently intentionally misleading in thier "aggressive" marketing of the product. Yes, the state should have done some independant verification of some things. The fact is that we have laws saying that you can't blatantly lie about your product.

        To reply:
        I've always used "guv'mint".
      • Re:From TFA... (Score:5, Informative)

        by bigsteve@dstc ( 140392 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @11:03PM (#10185623)
        Well, since they didn't bother to test the machines, then the state shares in some of the blame.
        Well, no.

        The purchasor has no legal obligation to verify that claims made by the vendor are true. The obligation is entirely on the vendor. And if the vendor makes untrue claims, a court may award damages, or even find the vendor guilty of fraud.

        Mayber caveat emptor doesn't apply to the gov'ment?
        Caveat emptor is common sense, but it is not a legal principle.

        Caveat emptor says that if I buy second hand car, I would be wise to get an independent mechanic to check its condition. After all, everyone expects used care salesmen to be a bit shonky. But it I buy a brand new car, I shouldn't have to do this. I should be able to trust Ford / General Motors to design and build cars that are mechanically sound when they leave the showroom.

        In this particular case, it is not clear to me whether the State of California or individual voting districts (?) purchased the machines. Either way, the purchaser was entitled to believe Diebold's assertions about the products' fitness for use at face value. Given that Diebold does not disclose its source-code, the purchasors have little choice wrt voting integrity issues.

        • Re:From TFA... (Score:3, Informative)

          by Rich0 ( 548339 )
          Caveat emptor is common sense, but it is not a legal principle.

          Actually, it is legal principle.

          If you buy a house with major defects in plain view, and then decide six months later to sue to get your money back, you'll probably have trouble. On the toher hand, if the house has hidden major defects that the prior owner knew about, you might be able to get your money back.

          Caveat emptor basically says that you can't back out of a deal simply because you kept your eyes tightly shut when going into the dea
    • more than that. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ( 142825 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @08:50PM (#10184596) Homepage
      It is not just the sale of the machine and things on the hype. Diebold also 'repaired' systems using unahthorized/unapproved/untested software and patches.
    • more proof of malfeasance(previous diebold owners running away with elections when behind in polls, etc...)
      Politicians []
      Halfway down, see ctrl-f rigging []
      convicted fellons working for them! []
      i don't have an account :( []
      Backdoor vote rigging? []

      That is a starter list, I'll post more later, just mod the parent up(this one!)
    • Re:From TFA... (Score:3, Informative)

      by Dhalka226 ( 559740 )

      What really surprises me is the last half of what you quoted: "that were not tested or approved nationally or in California."

      Who could authorize the move to Diebold's system, the Sec of State? And how the hell did he manage to let a fact like not being approved in his own state slip by? How did the people funding the change not realize it?

      Somebody's head should be chopped for that alone, nevermind Diebold's other faults. That is just incompetence as far as I'm concerned, and a basic lack of fact-chec

  • by tonydiesel ( 658999 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @08:46PM (#10184559)
    Good. With California (still) facing rather sizable budget deficits and having paid Diebold so much money to begin with, this seems like a good step. I'm worried about the 2004 election in our state, we don't have enough machines, volunteers or money to solve the problems. Since my taxes went toward paying for those machines in the first place, I'd be happy to see the state get some of my money back so it can put it towards the stuff it really needs.

    Too bad about the criminal case though, it may not be fair, but Diebold sure seem like a bunch of crooks to me!
  • Upset? (Score:5, Informative)

    by buckhead_buddy ( 186384 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @08:47PM (#10184565)
    Well, the President of Diebold did claim in 2003 that his company was
    committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year.
    I suppose the California officials are upset that Diebold didn't include their state in the obvious corruptions of an opaque and unmonitorable voting system.
  • by Performer Guy ( 69820 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @08:48PM (#10184577)
    This is going to be entertaining. The developer memo that Diebold should "Charge them Out the Ying-Yang" [] for paper copies because it was a new feature will surely come back to haunt the company. Such a disgusting attempt to exploit the customer over product deficiencies will not sit well with a jury.

    I think the damages in this case may be "Out the Ying-Yang". That's a phrase that really grows on you when the shoe is on the other foot. Come on say it with me Diebold, "Out the Ying-Yang".
    • Price on Democracy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by weston ( 16146 ) <westonsd&canncentral,org> on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @08:58PM (#10184663) Homepage
      "Out the Yin-Yang" indeed. It's hard to put a price on playing fast and loose with American democracy.

      For as much as modern pundits seem to throw around the term "treason" these days, I'm surprised the term hasn't been applied to Diebold.
      • by Performer Guy ( 69820 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @09:08PM (#10184750)
        It'll only be treason after they orchestrate a coup, and even then only if they get caught failing. Until then it's just business :-)

        Seriously though, I'm not one of the hysterical anti-Diebold mob, but there are a number of troubling things about this company and these systems. That said there will always be issues with any system and people crying that the sky is falling, but in this case there's enough substance and evasion by Diebold to cause some serious concerns. The case for code auditing and an open software model seems to have a great deal of appeal. I can't help but think we're rushing into this in a compressed timeframe and installing expensive systems early that will leave a technological legacy for future elections and systems to deal with. You'd have hoped that someone with a clue would have sat down and started some reasonable standards process and a software engineering effort to go along with it. OK this has happened to a limited degree but it has been steamrollered by a drive to do this in haste with intense lobbying in some areas, now what was this lawsuit about again?.
      • Corps can not commit treason, only people who do not donate lots of money to the whores on both sides of the isle in DC can be traitors.

  • by Glowing Fish ( 155236 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @08:49PM (#10184588) Homepage

    Like most big lawsuits, especially between the government and a big country, this will probably go through dozens of twists and turns, and motions and objections and requests for odd evidence, and it will probably end up out of court or perhaps just be dropped.

    However, since this is getting covered very widely, on Y! news, for example, it will at least people start asking questions about why people want electronic voting, and how secure it really is.

  • California (Score:2, Insightful)

    by panth0r ( 722550 )
    That's right up their alley... Litigation with the complaint of "I'm too stupid."
  • Backdoor (Score:5, Informative)

    by bluelarva ( 185170 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @08:54PM (#10184632)
    You might be also interested to know that their system has a HUGE security hole (backdoor). []
  • by ShatteredDream ( 636520 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @08:55PM (#10184634) Homepage
    Electronic voting is a guaranteed way to have a dictatorship. Once a closed source machine is in charge of counting your votes, as long as the number matches the participants, who could challenge it, it's a machine. Say good bye to minor parties if this becomes mainstream.
  • by Brian_Warner ( 765805 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @08:55PM (#10184642)
    I was wondering when the blamestorming was going to finally hit the Diebold fiasco. At what stage will people realise that with something as important as a voting machine, independently checking its secrity would be a good idea? Sure, Diebold is partially responsible, but so are the people that decided to pay for their flawed systems.
    • Problem was, at the time people were looking to pay for voting machines, there was not one mass produced machine with open source code.

      Not one.

      Do you even understand how government, especially local government, works?? You get the money once. It's a set sum, with an additional budget for maintenance and support. If you don't spend the money, it's gone. So you have to buy when you have it. You can't wait. You can't hope or wish. You have to pick a vendor and pay them and hope they do a good job, because the money won't be coming back if you wait too long.

      Diebold had machines. People bought them because Diebold made big promises and nobody else had a decent machine for a fair price. Meanwhile, Open Source lost yet another battle due to a complete lack of understanding of how things work. If an OSS solution had been ready when the evoting money came in, and that solution was cheaper and backed by a solid company with a reputation and support staff, it would have won.

      That didn't happen. Not because local government is stupid and doesn't understand open source, but because open source is nearsighted and reactionary and was not ready.
      • If you don't spend the money, it's gone.

        Absolutely right. If there is one thing ordinary citizens fail to understand about how government works, it is that in government accounting, recipients of funds do not get to "roll it over" the following fiscal period. Not only do you have to spend what you have, if you don't spend what you have, you don't get more money later.

        With large government IT projects (as voting machines are), the projects that get funded get funded again only if they use the money they

  • UK Elections (Score:4, Informative)

    by Paster Of Muppets ( 787158 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @09:02PM (#10184707)
    Similar story in the UK not so long ago, the Government wanted to use postal and telephone voting as a means of increasing turnout, but they were seen as open to fraud and abuse ( m []), including voter intimidation. What is wrong with making it compulsory for people to turn up to a voting station to cast their vote in person? I accept that some people cannot do this, for physical reasons (disabled, etc) or work (emergency services, etc), but if people are saying they're too busy to vote then why not reallocate a public holiday so they don't have to go to work that day? And if voting is compulsory, they cannot complain about who wins in the end. If you don't vote, don't complain!
  • [OT] Florida...? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @09:02PM (#10184709)

    I wonder how things are going to go in Florida this time around, between Diebold machines, institutionalized electoral mismanagement ('00 was neither their first "00", nor their last), and 2-3 hurricanes wiping the state's infrastructure flat during the run-up to the election.

  • I bet DieBold will try to counter sue for slander of title, in order to hold onto investors while they bail out.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    And the dozen jurymen vote: 2 for the plaintiff, 13 for the defendant, 1 for Buchanan.
  • Good Plan (Score:3, Funny)

    by bahwi ( 43111 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @09:16PM (#10184809)
    1) Accept, without proper testing, Electronic Voting Machines. Pay ridiculous amount.
    2) Find out machines suck
    3) SUE for Much More than the original cost
    4) PROFIT!!
  • by Theovon ( 109752 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @09:19PM (#10184831)
    Sometimes, competition and rush to market is so intense that companies simply CANNOT do a proper job. The reason? No one is going to do a proper job. If you wait and do things right, then a competitor will get their half-ass product to market before you, and then you lose. No one is the wiser until way down the road. Now, since everyone is doing the hack-and-slash job, the winner is whoever managed to cover their mistakes better or who had fewer visible mistakes (or marketed better, etc.). By the time people figure out that the chosen product is shite, the companies that might have done a good job are either long gone or on to other things.

    Only after this first wave of a new kind of product do companies "learn from the mistakes of the past" (translation: we can do it right this time because customers finally expect to wait on a proper product).

    Capitalism is wonderful, but as with anything run by humans, it has its challenges.

    Diebold is the sacrificial lamb in this case. There's no way that history could have turned out any other way. If it hadn't been Diebold, it would have been someone else doing the same crap job and then getting sued by CA. They were the lucky ones who got to market first and the unlucky ones who got caught at doing what they and all of their competitors were doing. As usual, some other company will soon come along and produce a slightly better machine, etc.
    • BTW, I thought I'd add something: Perhaps if a pattern emerges where companies get sued for doing a shit job, companies thinking of doing a shit job will think twice before doing it, and better products will be produced.

      But even then, there's bound to be some jackass who tries to take the shortcut and ruins things for themselves and everyone else. The only way to deal with THAT is to have stricter testing.
  • ...if the product were open source and it was later found to have flaws, could California sue? I think voting terminals should be open source because it allows people who may be a lot smarter than those working at Diebold to dissect it and make sure it's working properly and secure. For something as fundamanetal as voting, people should know what happens when they click on a candidate.

    But back to what I was saying, California knows that if Diebold violates the contract, they can sue. If this was done by
  • Guess... (Score:4, Funny)

    by michael_cain ( 66650 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @09:29PM (#10184895) Journal
    the California state government didn't get the memo: How do you tell when a vendor is lying? Their lips move.
  • Not Approved? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by GSpot ( 134221 )
    "Secretary of State Kevin Shelley has said Diebold deceived California with aggressive marketing that led to the installation of touch-screen voting systems that were not tested or approved nationally or in California."

    Not approved? WTF, why would any vendor, save a car mechanic, do anything without the customer's approval? Especially in the case of a multi-million dollar rollout of such a large product. I call bullshiat, I bet Diebold has many signed approvals by authorized members of the government
    • Re:Not Approved? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tony ( 765 )
      I call bullshiat, I bet Diebold has many signed approvals by authorized members of the government of California.

      I call bullshit too, but on Diebold. This isn't the start of it; this was reported and investigated months ago. Diebold *did* install untested software on many of their voting machines. They had a specific list of build numbers that were authorized. They ignored this list.

      This is well-known, and well-documented. Diebold tried to pull a fast one, fucked up the engine of democracy, and tried
  • It seems to me that Diebold hasn't done anything wrong here. They have a horrible product which doesn't hold up to any scrutiny. Incompetent, perhaps, but not wrong. The politicians, who are absolutely incapable of critical thought, especially when it comes to using tax money, screwed up buy buying into an obviously flawed system, and now they're trying to shift the blame (as politicians always do) to Diebold. Oh well, I guess that always has been and will be the way of things. Diebold's job was to sell the
    • They have a horrible product which doesn't hold up to any scrutiny.

      Several things wrong with that statement. The first thing wrong is simple: you can't scrutinize the product, because the source code was hidden. Second, the product that Diebold deployed was not always the same product that the elections commission in CA had vetted.

      The problem is simple: Diebold promised one thing, and delivered another.

      Diebold's job was to sell their product. It was the customers job to decide if they needed it, and
  • Finally (Score:3, Insightful)

    by xombo ( 628858 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @09:42PM (#10184988)
    It's finally good to see Diebold get its come-uppens. It's highly important to see this as the first step in realizing that commercial companies are incapable of securely managing our infrastructure (applies to voting and Diebold's ATMs) without the people's ability to scrutinize such products.
  • Well well well... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Reene ( 808293 )
    It's [] about [] freaking [] time. []

    (okay, so I'm a little biased.)
  • by starrsoft ( 745524 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @09:48PM (#10185037) Homepage
    Diebold CEO, Bob Urosevich, announced, "Like our motto [] says, 'We won't rest!' We will fight this lawsuit until we win! For us, it is do or die bold!"
    • Also, in a statement addressed directly to the California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, Diebold Vice President Thomas Swidarski said , "It isn't our fault that you didn't make sure to Lockyer voting systems!"
  • by FleaPlus ( 6935 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @09:49PM (#10185042) Journal
    Has anybody tried talking to non-computer people about electronic voting? I've tried it a few times, even toning down things, but people often either don't understand what's at stake or assume I'm exagerrating.

    I think this is quite possibly the most important US domestic issue this year, and feel that the word needs to get out about this, so we can try to fix what we can before it's too late []. Unfortunately, I haven't been successful thus far. Has anybody else had better luck?
    • I've tried to explain the whole issue to my wife, while not computer-phobic and somewhat familar with issue in the computer industry (simply by living with me) she does think I am exaggerating the issues with machines like Diebold's. To further enhance the facts here, she has also been serving as the head election judge for my voting precinct, and is directly responsible for making sure the vote is counted fairly and accurately.

      To be more blunt here, I think I understand her issues more than she understan
    • by sholden ( 12227 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @10:31PM (#10185384) Homepage
      people ... assume I'm exagerrating.

      See "The boy who cried wolf".

      See "The Y2K bug will destroy civilisation so you better stock up on cans of food and bottled water and shotgun ammunition, and a bunker in the middle of nowhere would be good too..."

      Of course you personally probably didn't do the wolf crying but the media did and people know nothing happened (and don't believe that the people working to fix problems might have had something to do with that).

      Also the "fear of computers" has been reduced by the wide acceptance of ATMs. After all if the banks trust them with huge amounts of money, why shouldn't I with voting]?[*]

      * Of course banks don't want to lose money and don't gain anything from ATM fraud. The makers of the machines could steal lots of money but the banks would notice... Whereas with voting the machine makers and the election runners (or a section of them) can be working together to rig the vote - a very different, and much harder to secure situation.

  • Interesting (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ebsf1 ( 689864 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @10:05PM (#10185178)
    It is interesting how this has played out. /.ers have been moaning (rightly so) about how this stuff is bad and how the ppl in charge have been ignoring it. And now the ppl in charge seem to be waking up. There appears to be hope after all. Having said that, it should never have happened in the first place.
  • by m2bord ( 781676 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @10:25PM (#10185339) Homepage Journal
    we will be able to be protected by whistleblowers.

    someone please correct me if i am wrong but...

    this suit and the carnage over it began some time back with diebold's documents being leaked onto the net and posted just about everywhere.

    the following articles will jar some memories... 26256&tid=103&tid=137&tid=126&tid= 17 [] 18218&tid=153&tid=103&tid=17 [] 42252&tid=153&tid=172&tid=103&tid= 17 []

    and there are many more on this topic, d&author=&sort=1&op=stories []

    basically...the new features prposed in the upcoming versions of windows and ms-office, plus the pending legislation before congress would protect the company and will kill this kind of information from being leaked.

    once those leaks are sealed and only authorized eyes see these documents, you can bet that whistleblowing on nefarious activities will come to a halt.
  • Let the AG know! (Score:3, Informative)

    by bshort404 ( 112024 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @10:26PM (#10185344) Homepage
  • by nietzsche_freak ( 804786 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @10:33PM (#10185399) Homepage
    California Attorney General Bill Lockyer said on Tuesday he would sue electronic voting machine maker Diebold Inc. on charges it defrauded the state with false claims about its products.
    A good start, maybe, but what about the election fraud backdoor [] built into Diebold machines? From my link:
    By entering a 2-digit code in a hidden location [on the vote tabulation machine], a second set of votes is created. This set of votes can be changed, so that it no longer matches the correct votes. The voting system will then read the totals from the bogus vote set.
    Now I (who ANAL) would call building such a backdoor into a voting machine conspiracy to commit election fraud, which is, by the way, a felony in California.

    Why isn't the attorney general taking them to court over that?

  • by FleaPlus ( 6935 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @10:47PM (#10185499) Journal
    While reading through news items on the various Diebold electronic voting controversies, I came across this page [] showing step-by-step screenshots of how to secretly alter the votes on the central tabulator machines, as mentioned in a previous slashdot story [].

    If we can't get remove these systems (or give them paper trails) by November, perhaps we can instead follow the steps ourselves? Actually, we wouldn't even need to click through MS Access as shown above -- a quick little Visual Basic script would do the trick. It'd be neat if the US had Michael Badnarik [] and Ralph Nader [] as President and Vice President for the next four years.
    • by FleaPlus ( 6935 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @11:05PM (#10185637) Journal
      After skimming around some more, I found this page [] which has links to voting machine executables and some election results which Diebold inadvertently made public. You can actually run the software on your home computer to try it out.

      Also on the page is Election Support Guide [] for Diebold staff pulling support duties at the elections. It includes such gems as:

      The AccuFeed is often sensitive to the orientation, size, and print quality of the ballot.. AccuFeed units tend to reflect varying behavior in terms of speed and quality of processing. Familiarize yourself with the functioning of the AccuFeed before the election if it will be used in the election. Do not offer information as to the AccuFeed's shortcomings to the jurisdiction, even where obvious.
      • by JimMarch(equalccw) ( 710249 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @02:27AM (#10186687)
        As the author, I can tell you that's a good page and the links to actual code still work.

        The information therein should be supplemented with this later data:

        That's a "walkthrough" of the "hack demo" Bev Harris did with Howard Dean on CNBC a bit over a month ago. Complete with screenshots. It can be replicated with pieces downloaded from the "Dieboldtestnotes" page.

        Putting the actual code and sample data online REALLY pissed Diebold off something fierce; they filed a cease'n'desist notice against my ISP.

        Which did NOT succeed in taking my site down; on the contrary, mine is the only site to have completely survived a Diebold C&D with no downtime.

        To see how I pulled that trick off:

        My main "Diebold page" is at: - the "Dean Demo" page will be linked from there soon (prolly tomorrow).

        Jim March
  • by paulydavis ( 91113 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @11:17PM (#10185723)
    Most software I have used does not live up to it's hype... but are protected by thier ULAS does this mean that there could be an opening to challange software that doesnt live up to the hype. IANAL so I couldn't say.
  • by JimMarch(equalccw) ( 710249 ) on Tuesday September 07, 2004 @11:53PM (#10185941)

    This is the March/Harris lawsuit. Lockyer has decided to "join in", bringing the government in as a co-plaintiff.

    At around 10:30am today, Lowell Finley (our lawyer) calls me with the news that Lockyer and the AG's office have decided to join the suit Bev Harris and I filed all the way back in October. Lockyer and company have taken this long to decide whether or not to jump in.

    Their decision to do so is VERY welcome by myself, Bev and our lawyer.

    Here's the repercussions:

    * Bev, Lowell and myself will be splitting 15% of any winnings, versus 30% if we had to prosecute this on our own.

    * We ain't complaining, first because we were never in this for the money and second because Diebold is much more likely to settle early, confronted with Lockyer's legal staff instead of just Lowell. MAYBE they'll cave in before the November election, which would be great.

    * Second, our odds of any sort of win is now better.

    * Third, Lockyer has sent notice to the REST of the Diebold customer counties in California that they can "join in the fun". So this could spread beyond Alameda County, the original gov't entity that Bev, Lowell and I filed on behalf of.

    * This idea of suing Diebold for fraud becomes the alternative to what Solano County decided to do: pay $415,000 in their case to get out of their Diebold contract! (Note: Solano's settlement means it's TOO LATE to join in the March/Harris/Lockyer lawsuit and solution. There's a fair chance Lockyer announced all this today to prevent any more "Solano-style" mistakes.)

    Other bits:

    The AG's staff are promising Lowell that they are NOT getting into this in order to "sabotage the case and settle early for peanuts". They *could* do that but I believe them that they aren't.

    The fact that this is being done as a "whistleblower suit" by two private citizens strongly HELPS the government versus a situation where they did it themselves, even when you factor in the small "bounty" to Bev, Lowell and myself. This is because the whistleblower laws include a triple damages provision if we can prove fraud. This becomes a "big stick" to threaten Diebold into settlement with (for less than triple damages; we'll be OK with actual costs returned plus 15% so that the gov't agencies get "made whole" despite the 15% cut.)

    Without whistleblowers, first off the gov't wouldn't have had the data to do this at all and even if we just gave them the data "for free", the gov't wouldn't have the damage tripler "stick".

    Finally, the question WILL come up (and already has among these replies): "Is all this legit? Did Diebold REALLY screw up here in a fashion worth suing over?"

    My answer to that is at this new page showing the actual vote fraud rigged into Diebold's central tabulator software via screenshots of actual Diebold code and database structures:

    That is all I need to say about the basic morality of this lawsuit.

    Jim March /
  • Jesus Christ (Score:5, Informative)

    by DavidTC ( 10147 ) <<moc.xobreven> ... .vidavsxd54sals>> on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @12:58AM (#10186284) Homepage
    How the hell did we get a story about Diebold without a link to blackboxvoting []. There's a fucking backdoor in Diebold's tallying system where you can disconnect various tables in the database via typing a code in a secret location. And the tallying software doesn't just count Diebold votes, it normally counts all the votes.

    But, let's all yammer about California suing them while ignoring the huge revelations that have happened in the last two weeks WRT Diebold.

    • by JimMarch(equalccw) ( 710249 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @01:16AM (#10186361)
      AP is covering the same story in a wee bit more detail: ID =@@2004409071097

      Yup - Lockyer didn't FILE suit, he joined in the one by Bev Harris (Executive Director of and myself (Member of the Board of Directors, same org).

      AP keeps reporting that I'm a "programmer". Not true, I've tried to correct that several times now (I'm a former LAN sysadmin/tech support type).

      You can see an alternate version of Bev's "cheat code problem" described with screenshots here:

      See also my other posts in this thread for more of the background by one of the OTHER plaintiffs - Bill Lockyer is only the newest :).

      NOTE: Bev and I demoed the same stuff as described in the link above to the California SecState's staff on August 18th of this year. Also present was an attorney from Lockyer's office. That may have been the final "tilt" Lockyer needed to join in; that or he saw how Solano County hosed themselves by paying Diebold $415,000 to go away less than two weeks ago.

      Jim March
  • The BIGGER issue... (Score:3, Informative)

    by d474 ( 695126 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @03:21AM (#10186879)
    You know, even if Diebold was competent, it wouldn't matter:
    "Meanwhile, William A. Arbaugh, an assistant computer science professor at the University of Maryland, College Park and part of the team, easily sneaked his way into the state's computers by way of his modem. Once in, he had access to change votes from actual precincts - because he knew how to exploit holes in the Microsoft software."
    Hacking democracy []
  • by Slashi ( 702236 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2004 @05:11AM (#10187223)
    According to August/004631.html [] and [], there is even more than just missing security in the Diebold election machines. If these are true, than Diebold might have more troubles than it seems so far.

Someday your prints will come. -- Kodak