Diebold gives up on voting machines

Diebold has thrown in the towel on its troubled voting machines business. It has sold the whole division to its competitor, ES&S. Diebold electronic voting machines have been plagued with problems, and the company says it is writing off tens of millions in losses, due primarily to lawsuits from disgruntled local governments who bought the machines only to find out they are a security nightmare.

Those of us that warned for years that electronic voting machines were a recipe for disaster can take little comfort in being right. Unfortunately, taxpayers are the big losers, as local governments spent hundreds of millions of dollars on untested equipment, much of which has had to be replaced already. It is not that the technology is inherently flawed--indeed, there are a few simple ways to make electronic voting machines reliable and auditable, like producing a paper record of votes entered. Buying technology and relying entirely on vendor promises can lead to unpleasant surprises.

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