Ah Diebold, how we’ve missed you.

In yet another example of gross negligence with our most sacred political process we find our favorite manufacturer of ATMs and voting machines yet again in the news. This time with a series of failures in the Alaskan primary.

From Slashdot: http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/15859396/article.pl

From Engadget: http://www.engadget.com/2006/08/24/diebold-machines-fail-in-alaska-primary/

For those of you that don’t follow the twist and turns of this seriously shady company, Diebold has a long history of insecure voting machines, battling any attempt to regulate better voting security, and attacking anyone that suggests they might have any teensy-weensy wittle problem that might let someone, you know, hijack an election. For more on the past check out the work by Black Box Voting and the very respected Avi Rubin.

This really pisses me off. Voting, whatever your political party (except maybe you anarchists and fascists) is the ultimate expression of a democracy. If we can’t protect the voting process, we might as well give up and just sell the country to the highest bidder (and yes, I feel the same way about poll taxes, gerrymandering, and anything else that interferes with the right to vote).

I have two simple suggestions to resolve this idiocy:

  1. Require a voter verified paper trail with random audits at the federal level for all elections (right now only certain states require it).
  2. Hold voting machines to the same security standards as gambling machines!

Think about how highly secure gambling machines are. I first heard this suggestion from Ray Wagner (a fellow analyst at my day job) and it was so simple in concept it amazes me every time someone claims higher standards are just too hard. Heck, we already have testing labs, protocols, and procedures in place.

I’m not a conspiracy theorist, despite many hours dedicated to watching the X-Files, but sometimes ya just gotta wonder….