Ohio Sues E-Voting Machine Maker But Keeps Same Crappy E-Voting Machines

Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner is suing e-voting machine maker Diebold, now known as Premier Election Solutions, seeking damages for the mess the malfunctioning machines caused in the super swing state in 2004 and 2006—the same machines which will, frighteningly enough, still be used to gather and/or misplace Ohio votes in the upcoming McCain-Obama contest.

The Diebold machines achieved notoriety in the 2004 presidential election, losing hundreds of votes and exhibiting several serious security flaws. This is equipment proven to be vulnerable to attack, and Michael I. Shamos, professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University and an official examiner of Pennsylvania electronic voting systems, said the machines had "the most severe security flaw ever discovered in a voting system." In 2006, dropped votes were discovered in 11 of the 44 Ohio counties in which the equipment was used.

Premier pre-emptively sued Brunner and the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, seeking a court order that they have held up their side of the contract. This is evidently a standard move when one party believes they are about to be sued, as a decision in Premier's favour would prevent Cuyahoga County from suing for breach of contract. Brunner's suit, actually a countersuit, is an attempt to recover taxpayer money spent on the faulty machines, to the tune of US$22 million.

The scariest part of the story is that these machines are still somehow in use, and it is too late to make the change to the recommended optically-scanned paper ballots by this November's election. Brunner says Ohio residents should remain calm as they vote this fall, and that officials will be on hand to make sure all votes are tallied. There, now you Ohioans can vote in total confidence! [Ars Technica]

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