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Diebold Demands That HBO Cancel Documentary 514

Posted by Zonk
from the because-we-say-so dept.
Frosty Piss writes "According to the Bloomberg News, Diebold Inc. is insisting that HBO cancel a documentary that questions the integrity of its voting machines, calling the program inaccurate and unfair. The program, 'Hacking Democracy,' is scheduled to debut Thursday, five days before the 2006 U.S. midterm elections. The film claims that Diebold voting machines aren't tamper-proof and can be manipulated to change voting results. 'Hacking Democracy' is 'replete with material examples of inaccurate reporting,' says Diebold. 'We stand by the film," said a spokesman for HBO. 'We have no intention of withdrawing it from our schedule. It appears that the film Diebold is responding to is not the film HBO is airing.'"
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Diebold Demands That HBO Cancel Documentary

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  • by rufo (126104) * <rufo AT rufosanchez DOT com> on Thursday November 02, 2006 @07:22PM (#16696823)
    I hadn't heard of this before, but now I'm sure to record it (assuming it gets on the air).

    I love publicity-bringing lawsuits, don't you?
    • by cmeans (81143) *
      Same here. It's now on my TiVo's schedule for recording later tonight. Diebold is obviously run by idiots...let's hope that's not the same quality we can expect of their hardware and software developers.
    • by kfg (145172) on Thursday November 02, 2006 @07:35PM (#16696977)
      I demand that you withdraw your post, or . . . I'll stamp my feet and demand again.

      Don't expect a lawsuit to come of this. That would mean discovery.

      KFG
      • Don't expect a lawsuit to come of this. That would mean discovery.

        If SCO can get away with it why not you ?!
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by kfg (145172)
          SCO was the one doing the fishing.

          If you are the fish you do not demand the hook.

          KFG
  • On Sept. 26, Byrd wrote to Jann Wenner, editor and publisher of Rolling Stone, saying a story written by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., "Will the Next Election Be Hacked?" was "error-riddled" and that readers "deserve a better researched and reported article."

    And the People deserve better researched voting methods and ones that aren't error riddled as the Diebold machines have proven to be. Diebold should be required to have warnings on their machines and paper ballot stations nearby.

    Let the people decide which is
    • Let the people decide which is better.

      "The people" aren't really qualified to make that decision. Hell, most elections commissions aren't qualified.

      I'm obviously not going to defend Diebold, but having multiple systems of voting is just asking for trouble. It is one thing to have provisional ballots available as a backup or for questionably-eligible voters. It's another thing entirely to have multiple balloting systems running at the same time in the same location. Plus, paper ballots are no less suscepti

    • [...] ones that aren't error riddled as the Diebold machines have proven to be.

      I'm not sure you're being accurate, here... it's only error-ridden if the software doesn't work as the designers intended (regardless of what the users want/expect it to do).
  • about to backfire.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by adam (1231) * on Thursday November 02, 2006 @07:26PM (#16696871)
    You have to figure HBO has a pretty sizable legal department, and wouldn't air a documentary that wasn't accurate (for fear of being sued). So if diebold's claims are untrue, all they are really doing are serving to help publicize the documentary before it airs. Brilliant move, haha. I know I had my DVR set to record it, but I can imagine many other /.ers did not... and now undoubtedly, some will.

    Regarding Diebold's claims, although the article is a little short on facts, for instance, following this section, "According to Byrd's letter, inaccuracies in the film include the assertion that Diebold, whose election systems unit is based in Allen, Texas, tabulated more than 40 percent of the votes cast in the 2000 presidential election." ... "The letter says Diebold wasn't in the electronic voting business in 2000, when disputes over ballots in Florida delayed President Bush's victory for more than a month and raised questions about the reliability of electronic voting machines." I would like to see an actual fact that states whether their claims are true or not. For instance, maybe they weren't in electronic voting business in 2000, but that doesn't mean they didn't still tally many paper votes (the aggregate of which amounts to 40% of the votes in the election)-- or that he hasn't screwed up interpreting what the film says (since he apparently hasn't seen it). Regardless of which, I think it's probably safe to assume if HBO isn't backing down, and does air the documentary, that this is largely smokescreen on the part of Diebold to try and convince the public that HBO is just an extension of the "liberal media" lying to them.

    Furthermore, the article is short on explanation, but I don't think this is just a crass comment, "It appears that the film Diebold is responding to is not the film HBO is airing." ..but rather that HBO's spokesman is actually suggesting they are responding to this film, VoterGate [imdb.com], and not Hacking Democracy [imdb.com], whose UK working title is listed as "VoterGate" and whose tagline says, "Computers count America's votes in secret. 'Votergate' hacks the votes." The co-mingling of the word "Votergate" does lead to some confusion, even though the directors of each film are totally different, one is produced by "Digital Bazooka [digitalbazooka.com]" productions and the other by "Teale-Edwards [teale-edwards.com]" Productions (which produced another good, but sad HBO documentary that I would reccomend watching -- Dealing Dogs [imdb.com]). My suspicions are probably best supported by the line,"The company, which hasn't seen the film, based its complaints on material from the HBO Web site, Bear said." ..if they haven't seen the film, it's a bit difficult to suggest it is full of eggregious errors, and maybe they are commenting about 2004's VoterGate [votergatethemovie.com].

    On a personal note, I am a documentarian, and no documentary can ever be completely "true" to everyone. Laymen make the mistake of thinking to shoot a documentary you just point some cameras at stuff, edit it, and voila. But there is so much more than that.. a documentary is about capturing the "truth" the documentarian sees. For (s)he to use cameras and mics to tell the story that (s)he saw. There is always some bias in this, and one important trick to being a good documentarian is divorcing yourself from this bias as much as possible.
    • They are surely not too worried about being sued, so long as the amount is less than the benefit (more viewership == more dollars). If the benefit to them is greater than expected legal costs then they will run it.

      a documentary is about capturing the "truth" the documentarian sees more likely a domcumenary is about stacking up "evidence" to support the documentarian's point of view.

    • by bobdotorg (598873)
      I know I had my DVR set to record it, but I can imagine many other /.ers did not... and now undoubtedly, some will.

      You are correct. I'm a case in point.

      I saw the headline, immediately queued it up on the Tivo, and only then came back to rtfa and comments.
    • The review over at the Washington Post [washingtonpost.com] wasn't exactly steller. It seems the documentary could have used facts much more to their advantage but rather relied more on implication and innuendo rather than following through on their leads.
    • by spisska (796395) on Friday November 03, 2006 @01:30AM (#16699853)

      For the record, Diebold has only been in the election machine business since 2001. They only make direct-recording electronic (DRE) machines, and have never produced paper ballot readers or any other equipment other than electronic machines and electronic pollbooks. Here is a good historical overview [cnn.com] of Diebold's election activities.

      There are a number of points that are completely missed or misunderstood in the discussion of election hardware, and why so many jurisdictions have moved to such questionable devices. The story of what has happened is a case study in how the federal government creates a royal mess from good intentions.

      After the debacle of Florida 2000 Congress passed the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), which was designed to prevent such a thing from happening again. Of course the problems in Florida were not caused by faulty election equipment but by poorly designed ballots.

      Of all the parts to the eqatuation in FL 2000 (voting machines, ballots, election process, registration, administration, etc) it was the ballots that were at fault, and the administration of the resulting dispute that created the big issue. I still believe that if Al Gore had accepted (or insisted upon) a statewide recount of Florida rather than trying to game county-level results he would have won Florida, and the presidency.

      Instead the POTUS (President of the US) was effectively elected by the Supreme Court. And that led rather directly to HAVA -- a federal law wherein the federal government assumes authoritah over the states on issues concerning election procedures, quite contrary to strict readings of the Constitution.

      The Constitution clearly gives the states power to handle their own electoral affairs, but at the same time gives the federal government power to distribute funds, and to set requirements on the distribution. Through HAVA, Washington pledges a ton of money to each state and local jusrisdiction to upgrade their election hardware to something that is compliant with HAVA, but the requirements only apply to election for federal office -- ie President and Congress. But since it's too much trouble to maintain separate election system for fedreal and local offices, and too much money to ignore, all states are scrambling towards HAVA compliance.

      Diebold comes in because of a rather ill-thought clause in HAVA -- Section 301. This requires that HAVA-compliant hardware meet the needs of blind voters in allowing them to 1) cast a ballot without assistance, and 2) to review and change ballot selections before casting the ballot.

      As of 2000, blind voters cast ballots with the assistance of two election judges (in jurisdictions that did not require Braille ballots). HAVA requires that all blind voters have audio ballots. Which means many effective and accurate voting systems and procedures are no longer valid.

      Once HAVA was passed, Diebold saw a business opportunity in US election systems (they had previously sold electyion hardware to Brazil). Diebold could certainly deliver counting machines with audio capability, and naturally they theough that security requirements for ATMs were analogous to those for election systems.

      The points of this whole rant are 1) Diebold gets a lot of deserved blame for producing faulty hardware [securityfocus.com], and a lot of undeserved blame for commiting mass electoral fraud [scoop.co.nz] (remember that they didn't have any election hardware in 2000); 2) All DRE machines (with or without paper trail) are subject to problems and errors; and 3) the voting process is sound, even if the equipment has flaws.

      Make sure you vote on November 7, make sure if you're using a DRE machine that your vote is properly recorded, and make sure you have some sympathy for the sorely undertrained and underpaid election judges at your precinct.

      And don't complain if you don't vote.

      • It wasn't Gore's intention to "game" the system by asking for the first recounts to be in those four counties in Florida. Rather, that was the legal mechanism he was supposed to follow in order to eventually trigger a state-wide recount. I think he should have taken a page from the Republican playbook and said "screw the law, we're going to win this in the court of public opinion and then make a new law". He should have loudly and immediately agitated for a full state-wide recount regardless of Florida's
  • Why don't we take vote on whether or not the movie can be shown? We can use the Diebold machines...
  • protest too much, methinks
  • Oh my, well golly, diebold's feelings are much more important than the integrity of our elections.
    • by ScentCone (795499)
      Oh my, well golly, diebold's feelings are much more important than the integrity of our elections.

      Um... you notice that this has NOTHING to do with whether Diebold is "demanding" that any jurisdiction, anywhere, actually use their equipment? Did you vote for the people who are now running the election board in your county? What brand of equipment did they choose to use?
  • Apparently, Diebold actually did comment on the wrong documentary and screwed up factually too. Already reported on the BRAD BLOG [bradblog.com].
  • If the reporting is truly unfair, the Diebold should sue, in a court of law.
    Anything else is just posturing, and should be treated (read: ignored) as such.
    Now this being Slashdot, I think we all know how we feel about whether or not their machines are secure.
  • Open Voting System (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DrugCheese (266151) on Thursday November 02, 2006 @07:36PM (#16696991)
    I don't understand why an open voting system wouldn't work. (And yes I know the major hurdle would be beating the peoples in power to transition to one)

    Source code is 100% open to find exploits and bugs, when you vote you're given a ticket with a number, anyone can go online and see how everyone voted but only you are able to tell which vote was yours by the corresponding ticket number. That'd allow for everyone to do their own count if they wanted.

    I've just don't like technology getting a bad name because people abuse it. An electronic voting system would be more secure then a paper trail with PEOPLE manually counting each vote.

    No?

    • by Rix (54095)
      With people manually counting each vote, you can have representatives from all interest groups observe the process.
      • by Alaren (682568)

        With people manually counting each vote, you can have representatives from all interest groups observe the process.

        Which is also a good justification for open electronic voting; not only could all parties watch for fraud, everyone could watch for fraud so long as they were willing to learn about the system.

        Electronic voting is not the problem. Closed source electronic voting, that is the problem. Sadly, the media is only phrasing the problem in terms of "electronic or not electronic?" So if the choic

    • by forand (530402) on Thursday November 02, 2006 @07:49PM (#16697159) Homepage
      I do not believe any system that lets someone track a single vote will stand up against the provisions in the constitution which protect anonymous voting. There are very good reasons that it is not a good idea to have confirmation of a vote that can be check outside the polling station. Mainly you do not want to allow the buying of votes.

      While I understand the desire to know exactly how your vote was counted I think that having a paper trail that can be counted by humans would make it a lot harder to have widespread voter fraud. Even if you are given a encrypted key that only you know there is no reason that you should expect that what the computer tells you is what it counts in the tally. The ONLY way to be sure is to have two distinct methods for getting a count then comparing the statistical corroelations. You being able to check how you think you voted online doesn't tell you how the machine acutally tallied the votes.
      • This is why I voted absentee again this election. For one thing, here in Colorado we had about 80 items on the ballot. There is no way I'm going blind and crazy checking that all 80 were recorded properly.

        Best of all, the 2 double-sided legal sized pieces of paper are a permanent, human-readable record. They count them with a machine and do limited hand-counts to sanity-check the results. If the election is close, they'll be entirely hand-counted.

        If everyone voted absentee, we'd have no problems with
      • by hchaos (683337)
        I do not believe any system that lets someone track a single vote will stand up against the provisions in the constitution which protect anonymous voting.
        I'm pretty sure that there are no provisions in the US Constitution that say anything at all about anonymous voting.
      • Everyone always says this when people propose this simple and logical scheme. "You can't do that because people could buy votes." Well, you know what? People buy votes already. You can look at almost any election and you'll see that the party that spends more, wins. It's not a perfect correlation but it's very close.

        And how about voting by mail? Anybody can watch you vote and pay you for what you do. Or eliminate the middleman and just hand over your signed, blank ballot for cash, to let them fill in and ma
        • by Jeremi (14640)
          People buy votes already. You can look at almost any election and you'll see that the party that spends more, wins. It's not a perfect correlation but it's very close.

          Um, no. Buying a vote is when you give somebody money in return for their vote. Advertising is not buying votes, because you are not giving money to people in exchange for their votes.

          And how about voting by mail? Anybody can watch you vote and pay you for what you do. Or eliminate the middleman and just hand over your signed, blank ballot f

    • >only you are able to tell which vote was yours by the corresponding ticket number.

      Only you, and your abusive spouse who beats you if you vote the "wrong" way, and the vote buyer who doesn't pay until you log in and prove that you delivered, and your pastor who warned everyone they'd be thrown out of the church if they didn't vote for his candidate (that is a real case from recent history), and your union rep who will skip you in the hiring hall unless you show your ticket number and vote, or your psycho
    • by monkeydo (173558)
      It doesn't matter if the code is open or not. The people crying the loudest aren't worried about coding errors (which open source might make finding easier), they are convinced that those writing the code are actively tampering with votes. So, opening the code does no good unless you are going to compile the code yourself on election day (bring your own compiler) on your own hardware. Your system of checking your own vote via a serial number is similarly flawed. If I wanted to cheat, I would simply writ
    • >I don't understand why an open voting system wouldn't work.

      In principle it could provide unambiguous ballots, accurate counts, and as much audit trail as you could want or imagine.

      In practice the systems aren't being bought with security as a criterion.

      Also, hundreds of millions of people can judge the security and accuracy of a paper ballot system. The number of people who can spot off-by-one errors and exploitable memory corruption in 50+ KLoC is much smaller.
      • So use Scheme to do the code. That reduces the opportunity for mischief. Use Trusted Computing to insure the image is valid. And seal everything up at the factory. Use transparent boxes for the circuits, and make 1 giant chip do everything. Only bus is to the keyboard, screen, network, and printer. Use cryptographic voting protocols and paper ballots. Make this thing Level 4 Common Criteria Certified. Make sure that the workers know how to spot tampering. It should make the Pentagon look like an easy target
    • by ??? (35971)
      "No?"

      No. It seems I end up responding to this argument every time a Diebold (or other voting) story comes up. Just to shake things up, I'll review your points from the bottom-up.

      "An electronic voting system would be more secure then a paper trail with PEOPLE manually counting each vote."

      A well-designed manually counted paper system (yes, you do need design in manual processes too), like implemented in Canada, can significantly improve both accuracy and security. Secondarily, it allows the resolution of c
      • by cdrguru (88047)
        The problem with any manual system isn't necessarily that someone wants to alter the outcome... the problem is that today we require accuracy greater than that which can be provided by a manual system.

        If the manual system has a 2% error rate - which is pretty good for as messy a manual system as counting votes in most places in the US - then any election where the difference between the candidates is 2% or less is a random selection. People are discovering this and realizing that every recount will offer d
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TeraCo (410407)
      Source code is 100% open to find exploits and bugs, when you vote you're given a ticket with a number, anyone can go online and see how everyone voted but only you are able to tell which vote was yours by the corresponding ticket number. That'd allow for everyone to do their own count if they wanted.

      There's no guarantee that the code on the boxes is the same as the code on the web site.

      • by strider44 (650833)
        That's why you have to do random spot checks and voter verification. If there's a public web site where a voter can verify his/her vote using a receipt of something similar then you would have some measure of security. You of course also need to have it deniable so people cannot sell their vote or force someone else to vote their way. Yes this is all possible.
    • I just thought of a way to exploit it:

      Each voting center probably only takes on about 5-10k voters. Therefore you only need about 20k unique IDs. "You voted for Presidential Option A". Of coures you did... but #2408 in LA did too.

      You would need to ensure that people all over the country were receiving unique ids.
      • So use a 16-character, randomly generated, base-32 encoded number as the ID. You'd have to have over a trillion votes cast to have even a 50% chance of a collison.

        But that's not the real issue. The real issue with this "tecket" system is being able to buy or coerce votes, as others pointed out.

        Some cryptographers invented a receipt concept that used transparent layers so that a person could verfy their vote without being able to prove it to somebody else. But the printers then become a bottleneck, as they j
    • by Jeremi (14640)
      I don't understand why an open voting system wouldn't work.

      Because it suffers from the same problems that a close system suffers from: it's very difficult to prove that a voting machine is working correctly and has not been tampered with. Showing people pages of well-written source code might make them feel better, but they can only verify the logic that they are reading, not the logic that the machine is actually using.

      I'm all for open source everything, but it's not going to fix this problem. Even with

    • by AJWM (19027)
      when you vote you're given a ticket with a number, anyone can go online and see how everyone voted but only you are able to tell which vote was yours by the corresponding ticket number

      Or anyone you choose to show your ticket to or who forces it out of you. That really opens the door to vote buying and vote extortion.

      Some of that probably happens already, but you can always lie about how you voted. With the above scheme the vote can be verified.
    • by lawpoop (604919)
      Rather than an open source voting system that simply tallies votes, I think that there needs to be some sort of tamper-proof tallying system.

      I envision that it would work like some kind of extended PGP system, where, once a voter confirms their selection, their vote is encrypted into a tally string and passed onto the next voter. At any point, the tally string can be decrypted and read for the current tally. The tally string only records the tally, not individual votes, so it can't be guessed how somebody
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 02, 2006 @07:38PM (#16697013)
    It's interesting to see the selection of facts Diebold has chosen to refute.


    According to Byrd's letter, inaccuracies in the film include the assertion that Diebold, whose election systems unit is based in Allen, Texas, tabulated more than 40 percent of the votes cast in the 2000 presidential election
    ...


    The letter says Diebold wasn't in the electronic voting business in 2000, when disputes over ballots in Florida delayed President Bush's victory for more than a month and raised questions about the reliability of electronic voting machines.


    In other words, in the light of allegations of insecurity and the ease of which a Diebold DRE or tabulator (GEMS) can be modified, they nitpick the date in which they got into the voting machine industry.

    Bravo, Diebold.

    Also, the article's implication if I'm not mistaken is incorrect:


    The letter says Diebold wasn't in the electronic voting business in 2000, when disputes over ballots in Florida delayed President Bush's victory for more than a month and raised questions about the reliability of electronic voting machines.


    If I'm not mis-reading this passage, the article is implying that Florida ballots in 2000 raised questions about the reliability of electronic voting machines. The only problem is that the problems in Florida were due to "hanging chads" and the poor design of "butterfly ballots" in Palm Beach County, two problems which are entirely specific to paper voting methods. Maybe they meant to say "and raised questions about upgrading their voting technology" but who knows.
  • liar liar (Score:5, Funny)

    by dustwun (662589) on Thursday November 02, 2006 @07:45PM (#16697109) Homepage
    Is anyone else reminded of Jim Carey in Liar Liar?

    Fletcher: Your honor, I object!
    Judge: Why?
    Fletcher: Because it's devastating to my case!
    Judge: Overruled.
    Fletcher: Good call!
  • ...they are certainly bold. I wonder if they will live up to the rest of their name?
    • Re:Well... (Score:5, Funny)

      by QRDeNameland (873957) on Thursday November 02, 2006 @08:17PM (#16697535)
      ...they are certainly bold. I wonder if they will live up to the rest of their name?

      Well, if you do a German-to-English translation of "Diebold" on Babelfish, it comes back with "thief old".

      Even worse, if you rearrange the letters of Diebold Election Systems, you get So Dems Lose Indetectibly.

      Coincidence? You decide.

  • research (Score:2, Informative)

    by gninnor (792931)
    Perhaps these will be of interest http://itpolicy.princeton.edu/voting/ [princeton.edu] and a write up. http://arstechnica.com/articles/culture/evoting.ar s [arstechnica.com]
  • For people concerned with democracy you'd think they'd let the whole censorship thing slide.
    • by ScentCone (795499)
      America and our Democracy are being stolen right out from under us

      You mean, kind of like the entire left side of the punditocracy screaming about ABC's "Path to 9/11" docudrama? You know, the one that people were insisting (having not even seen it!) that they change, or pull off the air? Yeah, like that.
  • by teslatug (543527) on Thursday November 02, 2006 @07:53PM (#16697221)
    Lou Dobbs on CNN was talking about the Sequoia voting machines operated by the Venezuelan company, and I think we should bring to his attention the Diebold ones too. Please take a moment and send a polite comment at their feedback form [cnn.com]

    Try other big media outlets. We need the general public to become aware of this potential debacle before it's too late.
  • on election cheating... rfk jr. had a very nice article in Rolling Stone on 10/5 with many details; first few paragraphs below and link to full text.

    Along with all the OTHER deathblows dealt to liberty (even over the last few weeks) this one is also a critical blow. It feels like we're at the very end of a mortal combat battle and Democracy is sailing backwards into the spiked pit after the triple-katana lightning-strike mortal-blow-to-the groin attack.

    ANYWAY, I found the full article fascinating.

    http://ww [rollingstone.com]
    • by humphrm (18130)
      Along with all the OTHER deathblows dealt to liberty (even over the last few weeks) this one is also a critical blow.

      I don't understand, are you commenting on the article here on Slashdot, or your own article? If you're commenting on Slashdot's article, are you saying that HBO running the Diebold movie is a critical blow to liberty, or are you saying that Diebold demanding that they don't (despite every appearance that they will anyway) is a blow to liberty?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 02, 2006 @08:04PM (#16697357)
    I'm really forced to wonder if the Slashdot group-think would hate Diebold as much as they do if Gore won in 2000 or Kerry won in 2004. I sincerely doubt it. If anything, they'd probably be considered as heroes in that case.

    Call that a flame or troll if you want (and I'm sure that politically-charged mods who love to abuse their mod privileges will be more than willing to do so); but with the collective hatred for anything republican on Slashdot, things have finally gotten to the point where any statements against Diebold are as knee-jerk or fashionable as the rampant anti-Microsoftism and anti-republicanism that we all see. They're almost as cliché as the "overlord" and "you insensitive clod" comments.
    • by Tiger4 (840741)
      You insensitive Microsoft promoting, Republican clod! I, for one, welcome our new Diebold denouncing overlords as happy additions to our Slashdot community. We need more right thinking people like them!
    • If Gore had won the 2000 election, we wouldn't HAVE to hate Diebold as much, because asshats like you would be doing it for us.

      "Hatred for anything Republican" is not just a property of Slashdot, Anonymous Coward. Take a look around. If it wasn't for the amazing redistricting done by the Republican congress, we'd be looking at a huge Democratic victory next Tuesday.

      If you don't believe me, check out this article from the Economist:
      www.economist.com/world/na/displayStory.cfm?story_ id=1099030

      and spend a fe
      • by stinerman (812158)
        Bingo. Gerrymandering is the #1 impediment to democracy today. We'll see how it goes next census. The redistricting after the 2000 census was done with some pretty good software. The stuff in 2010 might be good enough to ensure a majority delegation for $STATE for a very, very long time.

        One thing I've noticed recently is the prevalence of the bi-partisian gerrymander that happens when a legislature is closely divided. California did this. The bi-partisan gerrymander ensures safe seats for all but the
    • >statements against Diebold are as knee-jerk or fashionable as the rampant anti-Microsoftism

      Not like the comments about Microsoft, more like the comments about SCO. Both Diebold and SCO are companies that have lost credibility by their own statements and actions.
    • >with the collective hatred for anything republican on Slashdot, things have finally gotten to the point where any statements against Diebold are as knee-jerk or fashionable as the rampant anti-Microsoftism and anti-republicanism that we all see.

      What does "hatred for anything republican" have to do with Diebold, unless Diebold is Republican? Shouldn't a voting machine company be politically neutral?

    • by misanthrope101 (253915) on Friday November 03, 2006 @03:39AM (#16700395)
      Well, let's see...
      1. CEO promises to help Republicans win the vote
      2. CEO is actively involved in Bush re-election campaign
      3. CEO's company makes voting machine with no paper trail, no audit capability, no way at all to verify that the numbers being spit out are related to actual votes.
      4. Company's voting machines are used in states with close outcomes
      5. Company's voting machines are used in states whose election outcomes were starkly different from the straw polls, but the difference was not randomly distributed--the variation benefited only one political party, the very one the CEO promised to keep in office. Straw polls are mathematically reliable enough to be use to spot actual election fraud on other nations. Even if you don't consider them reliable, they are still used to spot election fraud, meaning statisticians do consider them reliable enough to analyze election results.
      6. People get suspicious
      7. People like you are suddenly mystified why the hell anyone would be skeptical. You can't think of any reason, any reason at all, why someone would be less than credulous about Diebold election machines.
      It must be liberal bias, you say. Yep, liberal bias. Nothing to see here. Did you strike your head? I'm not calling you a flame or a troll--I'm calling you deliberately obtuse. Even if Diebold is in actuality as pure as the driven snow, even if in actuality their voting machines are not crooked, it still stinks to high heaven. There is EVERY reason to be skeptical. You have proven, admitted bias, plus a black-box voting scheme where it is (by design) possible to steal an election and not get caught, and then the results don't match the straw polls, the very polls that were considered reliable BEFORE your vote tallies didn't match them. Are you serious?
  • by StikyPad (445176) on Thursday November 02, 2006 @08:09PM (#16697403) Homepage
    Unfortunately, as both the NYT [nytimes.com] and Washington Post [washingtonpost.com] report, the documentary itself is a stinker. They both claim it does little to present actual problems, showing instead unfeasible hacks that admittedly would never work, and contenting itself to merely cast doubt over the voting machines rather than providing any solid evidence. And let's be honest -- it's easy to cast doubt on anything, including paper voting or anything else. On top if it all, the woman at the center of it all reportedly comes off as a crackpot, rather than someone with whom the public would actually empathize.

    Not having seen it myself, I can't make any conclusions of my own, but if the reviews are accurate, this film does a disservice to the concept of secure voting by further validating the fringe/crackpot image that people already have regarding this issue.

    The real news is that Diebold is so furious over such a vague "expose." What they should be doing is simply ignoring the whole thing, unless questioned specifically. By launching their own campaign against it, they're legitimizing the film -- which may actually be a good thing -- and giving it more attention than it may have otherwise received.

    Personally, I think there are much bigger problems with the voting system than the machines that count the votes. Primaries, party politics, and campaign financing all throw much bigger wrenches into the gears than a couple of districts in Ohio that might have gotten shafted.

  • Libertarians and Greens demand that all Republicans and Democrats drop out of the running and give them a chance.

    Seriously, it is like Diebold is trying to shoot themselves in the face.
  • I saw the ad for this on HBO and was pretty psyched, but it didn't seem like it was getting promoted heavily, not enough to get enough people really concerned (as they should be). But like great things in this wonderfully Karmic universe, Diebold starts fussing and inadvertently calls mass attention to something that normally would have slipped under the lemmings radar.

    The real beauty of it, is that this was a story that the mainstream wasn't touching for whatever reason (hell maybe they are really the one

  • Maybe for their next move, they can send in some guy with baseball bats to break the knees of those darn journalists. That'd be sure to fix all their PR problems!
  • Check this out wow!! (Score:3, Informative)

    by tranceyboy (1016910) <preempted@gmail.com> on Thursday November 02, 2006 @11:42PM (#16699245) Homepage
    CHeck this out wow http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory?id=2609 065&page=1 [go.com] news No wonder i like opensource, we should be able to create a comunity sponsired project in direct oposition ti diebold, s%*t we do a better job than them at least.

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