Florida Mandates Unsafe and Expensive Voting Machines

An impassioned op-ed in the Daytona Beach News-Journal pretty much summarizes the current state of play in Florida in the Jeb-Bush mandated voting machine fiasco.

I’m going to quote quite a lot of it, because this is an important issue.

Do you realize that the voting system the county will use in the 2006 elections has been proved to be completely vulnerable to manipulation and alteration of election results without detection?

Did you notice that the Republican Governor of Maryland just condemned the Diebold voting system that Volusia County is about to purchase, stating that the citizens of his state (who already vote exclusively on Diebold paperless touch-screen machines) have no confidence in the accuracy of their elections and that he, personally, has no faith in the Diebold voting machines?

Were you surprised to read that the cost to implement the Diebold system in Maryland increased from $37 million to $66 million? And that the annual maintenance costs for the Diebold touch-screens increased, as confirmed by Maryland’s governor, by a startling 1,000 percent, from $858,000 to $9.5 million?

Do you know that our Supervisor of Elections has privately estimated an additional $1 million in costs to implement the Diebold voting system? And that she has acknowledged that the Diebold touch-screen machines do not meet the requirements of the Help America Vote Act (which is now in effect) and will have to be significantly upgraded at taxpayer expense prior to the first election in which it is used?

Are you aware that the Florida Division of Elections certified Diebold’s paperless touch-screen voting systems in a slipshod, hasty, illegal process that violated state laws and regulations?

Do you know that the Division of Elections is arbitrarily withholding certification of the one voting system, the AutoMark, that would allow our county to retain verifiable elections? And that its reason for doing so is absurd?

Have you been informed that 29 states and the federal government have certified the AutoMark, but Florida refuses to do so?

Do you realize that an investor lawsuit has been filed against Diebold alleging that the company did not disclose known security vulnerabilities and accusing Diebold’s top executives of reaping millions of dollars in personal profits through insider trading?

Have you followed the statements by Diebold’s new chief executive officer that the company is considering selling off its troubled elections division?

Do you know that Diebold has confirmed, in a letter to the state of Pennsylvania, that the problematic “interpreted” code (the existence of which Diebold originally denied) does in fact exist as proven in the successful “hack” of Diebold ‘s voting system in Leon County? And that Diebold has confirmed that this code also exists in the touch-screens, making them vulnerable to hacking without detection and with no paper ballots to count?

Have you noticed that 25 states have passed legislation mandating an auditable paper trail, while Florida is heading the wrong way up a one-way street by mandating paperless touch-screen machines?

Have you heard that our Supervisor of Elections may use 100 percent paperless touch-screen voting machines at all early voting sites, essentially rendering our paper ballot system useless?

Do you care whether your vote counts and whether Volusia County voters can have confidence in their voting system?

If you do care, as I do, too bad for us. The Volusia County Council appears to have no choice but to approve the Diebold touch-screen purchase at its meeting Thursday (9:30 a.m., County Administration Building, 123 W. Indiana Ave., DeLand). Volusia County is the last county in Florida to hold out for verified voting, but the state has effectively defeated us through its bogus delay in certifying the AutoMark. Our time has run out. The state has won.

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