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oh, the irony.
November 16, 2004 8:43 PM   Subscribe

Diebold does it's part to protect the Constitution.
posted by Espoo2 (51 comments total)

 
[brain explodes]
posted by ao4047 at 8:52 PM on November 16, 2004


Holy mackerel!
posted by loquacious at 8:56 PM on November 16, 2004


oh man. we're fucked
posted by bob sarabia at 8:58 PM on November 16, 2004


ha! Lets get a chimp to hack it.
posted by dabitch at 9:09 PM on November 16, 2004


Charter documents is being unveiled to the public on Thursday, September 18, 2003 at 10 a.m

You're a little late....
posted by matty at 9:11 PM on November 16, 2004


What's funny is it randomly starts subtracting amendments which will be good for Arnold, bad for us drinkers and ultimately will lead to the shut down of our beloved MeFi.
posted by wfrgms at 9:11 PM on November 16, 2004


Did they give us a receipt?
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:18 PM on November 16, 2004


My bank closes before I get off work every day, and before I got my company to do automatic-deposit, I had to go through the drive-through--on my bike--if I wanted to deposit a check.

The metal drawer that slid out when I spoke through the bulletproof glass said "Diebold" on it. I was so surprised when I saw this the first time that I didn't hear the teller the first time ask me to enter my PIN.

Diebold probably started out as something like a safe-making company. That they professionally rig elections now is most likely the reason that they've been given the contract to protect the Constitution.

Be grateful: perhaps historians will still be able to smell what George Bush ate the night before on it in the distant future, protected from any probable disasters.
posted by interrobang at 9:24 PM on November 16, 2004


Ugh. If Metafilter ever needed a combined [ironic] and [asinine] tag, this is the time.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 9:25 PM on November 16, 2004


You members of the blame-america-first would-be-urban-elitists just don't understand: to hate Diebold is to hate the protectors of the constitution, and that's hating America.
posted by weston at 9:25 PM on November 16, 2004


Those things are just napkins Madison and Jeffeson scribbled ideas on. The napkins are irrelevant, the ideas are hardy.

I could give two shits what Diebold does, because I know what the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence say, and mean, and I could print a copy of the words off the internet for free if I wanted to get pedantic about it.

The notion that the fate of our republic is in the hands of a corrupt, inept company is ridiculous -- they could burn those pieces of paper tomorrow and all we'd lose are a couple of our most treasured golden calves. The only way burning those papers would hurt our country is if the fire spread and somehow ignited someone's hairpiece. Stop saying inanimate objects have magic powers.

But yes, fuck Diebold, too.
posted by Hildago at 9:26 PM on November 16, 2004


It's ok, Hildalgo.

I'm pretty sure all the posters here so far are just aghast at the practically cosmic and bizarre comic irony of it all.

*brain explodes and reimplodes for good measure*
posted by loquacious at 9:36 PM on November 16, 2004


Diebold: We won't rest.

Ain't that the truth.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:46 PM on November 16, 2004


Wait, aren't these the same people that had some issues with one or two of their electromatronic votermerating machines in some minor election or another?

I'm sure they'll take this ALOT more seriously, for sure.
posted by fenriq at 9:59 PM on November 16, 2004


Nuts to you guys, this is cool.

Do any of you have any, you know, actual, tangible, stands-up-in-court PROOF of ANY of the myriad charges & accusations you hurl at Diebold? No? How about the 10,000 lawyers hired by the Dems to contest any questionable election results -- did any of them find anything that they deemed "lawsuitable" or criminal? No? Then shutcher pieholes, fercryinoutloud, and leave Diebold alone. Gee whiz.

And while some of you mock the actual documents that the words are printed on, which is fine, because as pointed out, it's the IDEALS that are important and not the paper -- I'd wager more than a few bucks that you would gaze lovingly and with the utmost awe & respect at, say, the original manuscript for some hipster-doofus movie, or a handwritten speech by Noam Chomsky, or the original sheet music penned by John Lennon for "Hey Jude," or some other such cultural blather.
posted by davidmsc at 10:10 PM on November 16, 2004


The metal drawer that slid out when I spoke through the bulletproof glass said "Diebold" on it.

Diebold's main business has generally been things like cash registers, ATMs, those pneumatic tube things at the bank; in short, mechanized equipment for money handling. The voting machines are a relatively new effort for them. Wikipedia says they've been around since the 1870s.

Since they make ATMs that print out thousands of little paper slips a day, it's a bit baffling to hear them say that they don't want a paper trail because there would be paper jams. This is a problem they have effectively solved a while ago. Moving slips of paper is something that ATMs have to do perfectly all the time---the white ones, sure, but more importantly, the green ones.
posted by tss at 10:15 PM on November 16, 2004


davidmsc: I agree there is a real confusion with the Diebold accusations.

The claims that they are GOP stooges or are actively trying to cheat elections are truly baseless. There is a vague "appearance of impropriety" (acknowledged by Diebold presidents) due to them being GOP donors, but that's not evidence of anything really.

That said, what is induspitable is that Diebold's machines are laughably insecure, have no paper trail or real way to reconfirm their tallies, and their software is not being properly audited by state governments. As an aside, if there is one case where the software should be open source, this is it. The only people saying Diebold's systems are well designed are (1) people who work at Diebold and (2) people who have no clue whatsoever about computer security.

In general, if you have to explain something screwy and your options are conspiracy or incompetance, it's usually incompetance that's the right answer. And Diebold is amazingly incompetant.
posted by malphigian at 10:19 PM on November 16, 2004


Well, there is this Nicolas Cage film that's about to come out, see, and...
posted by mwhybark at 10:19 PM on November 16, 2004


The layers of irony in this are exquisite. Truly beautiful.
posted by neckro23 at 10:20 PM on November 16, 2004


What malphigian said. I'm not convinced at all the Diebold itself or others using knowledge of security problems conclusively tilted the election. That doesn't matter. The Diebold machines are an accident waiting to happen, and need to be fixed.
posted by weston at 10:32 PM on November 16, 2004


the original sheet music penned by John Lennon for "Hey Jude"

Paul McCartney wrote it, and I'm sure he didn't write sheet music. Just saying is all.

Glad to wallow in the hipster-cliche pit for you.
posted by argybarg at 10:35 PM on November 16, 2004


~chuckle~

Lesseee....davidmsc demands iron-clad proof, damnit, of any wrongdoing, before raising concerrns about a company run by outright Bush supporters with a highly suspicous history and pattern of operation.

But he's convinced, without any iron-clad experience whatsoever (and apropos of absolutely nothing at all), that anyone with those concerns or those who question America's commitment to former American ideals would just climax at the sight of leftist "cultural blather" memorabilia.

Amazing. Hypocrisy manifested in the space of two paragraphs, if not just lazy thought, never fails to amuse.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 10:38 PM on November 16, 2004


Oh. Your. God.
posted by krisjohn at 10:42 PM on November 16, 2004


davidmsc, do you have any "actual, tangible, stands-up-in-court PROOF" that the votes Diebold counted are the ones that were cast? No. And neither do they. Nor do any of us. You give lip service to the ideals of democracy, but only the word -- we're talking about the living, breathing PRACTICE of democracy.

The burden of proof is not on us that their machines and their operations are dishonest, the burden of proof is on them that their machines are honest -- and they refuse to give it, even though providing such proof is a core part of the business that they're in. Democracy shouldn't rest on the say-so of a nakedly partisan corporation. Auditability is the least of what they owe us in return for the awesome (and lucrative) responsibility they've taken on. Do I really need to quote Stalin here? "Those who cast the vote decide nothing. Those who count the vote decide everything." Their system specifically rules out proof of wrongdoing -- or, for that matter, rightdoing. Why do you suppose that is?
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:00 PM on November 16, 2004



#!/usr/bin/perl
###############################################################
# Super Constitution Security Version 1.92 #
# Copyright 1999 Matt's Script Archive; http://www.scriptarchive.com/
# This script may be used and modified free of charge by anyone so long
# as this copyright notice and the comments above remain intact.
###############################################################

posted by planetkyoto at 11:57 PM on November 16, 2004


Do any of you have any, you know, actual, tangible, stands-up-in-court PROOF of ANY of the myriad charges & accusations you hurl at Diebold? No? How about the 10,000 lawyers hired by the Dems to contest any questionable election results -- did any of them find anything that they deemed "lawsuitable" or criminal? No? Then shutcher pieholes, fercryinoutloud, and leave Diebold alone. Gee whiz.

Toxic Sludge is GOOD for you!
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:05 AM on November 17, 2004


Do any of you have any, you know, actual, tangible, stands-up-in-court PROOF of ANY of the myriad charges & accusations you hurl at Diebold? No?

Yes. Yes we do.
This is just one of many lawsuits making their way in courts all over the country: Attorney General Bill Lockyer announced a $2.6 million settlement Wednesday with Texas-based Diebold Elections Systems, seeking to end a lawsuit that alleged the company made false claims about one of its electronic voting systems.

The settlement in the lawsuit, which was filed jointly with Alameda County, must still be approved by a court. If approved, it would provide for reimbursement of some of Alameda County's election costs.

posted by amberglow at 5:40 AM on November 17, 2004


Payback, pure and simple. AND there's no way to prove it because Diebold's voting machines were expressly designed to provide no recount mechanism. Ain't US politics great?
posted by clevershark at 5:44 AM on November 17, 2004


and more: This week, citizens and local officials in New Jersey announced plans to file a lawsuit blocking that state's use of nearly 8,000 electronic voting machines.

A similar lawsuit will be heard in Florida this week, where a state legislator is demanding paper records to accompany the electronic records generated by touch-screen voting machines.

Much of the controversy surrounding electronic voting stems from the Diebold systems used in Georgia and many other states. In 2003, it was discovered that programming codes for the machines in Georgia had been left on an unsecured Web site, opening suspicions that the information could have been accessed and used to rig elections across the country.

posted by amberglow at 5:48 AM on November 17, 2004


Oh, and don't forget Maryland and their Diebold troubles amberglow. Looking like Florida may come into play soon too!

Geez, bunch of whining, crybaby, sore losers. Sounds like sour grapes! Or at least that's what I've been told. Not that democracy means anything so long as "your team wins" or anything.
posted by nofundy at 7:04 AM on November 17, 2004


I'm sure all the antagonistic, bitching-and-moaning, Diebold-this and Diebold-that from the Dems gets pretty annoying after a while. But don't ever forget that the Republicans, with complete control of the White House and Congress, had four years to come up with a safe, secure and transparently fair election system. Instead, they went with a baldly partisan company with secretive systems. They fucked up (as usual), and now half the country thinks Bush stole the election.

So while the right may be sick of all the liberal belly-aching, they should remember that they brought it on themselves. And we've got four more years of it to go.
posted by fungible at 7:40 AM on November 17, 2004


Or more - after all, it's only the 22nd Amendment that prevents Presidents from serving more than two terms. Heck, Congress could probably overturn that one in passing, as a rider on something more important, like providing corporate welfare grants or guaranteeing that every sperm is indeed sacred.

Feh.
posted by FormlessOne at 7:58 AM on November 17, 2004


Well, as long as they can keep it safe from Nick Cage, then I guess it's all right.
posted by dogmatic at 8:09 AM on November 17, 2004


I look forward to whatever company replaces Diebold as The Evil Corporation of the Year (just as it replaced Halliburton who replaced Enron who replaced Microsoft...). They'll have to work pretty hard to one up Diebold. Maybe it'll be "Babypunchers, Inc." or something?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:13 AM on November 17, 2004


Well, as long as they can keep it safe from Nick Cage, then I guess it's all right.

Yeah, this is all just temporary until Walden O'Dell gets that map on the back of the Declaration of Independance deciphered.
posted by straight at 8:49 AM on November 17, 2004


So while the right may be sick of all the liberal belly-aching, they should remember that they brought it on themselves. And we've got four more years of it to go.

Yeah, but the important thing to remember is that the vote was close, and that wasn't because of Diebold. "If it wasn't for those pesky kids!" is a bit disingenuous when the fact is, the Republicans have had basically the same plan for the past 30 years, and it's working a lot better then ours at attracting voters. This election shouldn't have even been close, but then, neither should 2000's.

I doubt very much that there are any huge secret conspiracies between Diebold -- frankly, the GOP doesn't need them to steal elections for them, there's just that many stupid people in this country (sorry, sorry). Anyway, just because their aren't secret handshakes and passwords doesn't mean their aren't... improprieties.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:58 AM on November 17, 2004


Moving slips of paper is something that ATMs have to do perfectly all the time

ATMs are much more reliable than they once were, but malfunctions still happen all the time, and this is technology that's been around and tested for 20 years.

I'm all in favor of a verifiable paper trail, but I think this is a taller order than most people assume.
posted by Hlewagast at 9:23 AM on November 17, 2004


More Diebold Goodness:

Check this out - No less than 5 of Diebold's developers are convicted felons, including Senior Vice President Jeff Dean, and topping the list are his twenty-three counts of felony Theft in the First Degree. According to the findings of fact in case no. 89-1-04034-1:


LOTS more great stuff. Go, read, now.
posted by nofundy at 9:51 AM on November 17, 2004


I'm all in favor of a verifiable paper trail, but I think this is a taller order than most people assume.

I have yet to see any reports of problems with the paper trails used in Nevada (the only state that had them, for some mindblowing reason) this year. Doesn't seem to be much of a problem. Whereas there have been MANY reports of problems with machines with no paper trails across the country.
posted by rushmc at 10:04 AM on November 17, 2004


So, davidmsc, you gonna respond?



Incidentally, I wonder if we should just put the Constitution on a password-protected wiki. And give the password to anyone making more than $250,000 a year.

See you in Gitmo.
posted by Vidiot at 10:10 AM on November 17, 2004


Don't get me wrong, certainly having a printer that may occasionally jam is far better than a system that refuses to even attempt a paper trail supposedly for fear of malfunction.

I suppose my point was (in response to tss above): don't look at ATMs as a comparable system that functions perfectly, because they do generate plenty of both mechanical and software errors.
posted by Hlewagast at 10:52 AM on November 17, 2004


nofundy, your link doesn't work. At least not for me.
posted by scottymac at 10:58 AM on November 17, 2004


Sorry for the bad link.
I should have tested and confirmed that I hadn't made an error.
Let me try that again.
link

There, that's better. Just in case:
http://www.chuckherrin.com/HackthevoteFAQ.htm#how
posted by nofundy at 1:02 PM on November 17, 2004


This thread is Metafilter at its worst. But the silver lining: keep yourself entertained with stupid non-issues like this, and you'll have less venom to spurt at President Bush, and other great Americans.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:16 PM on November 17, 2004


Any thread that ends with a lame ass Paris Paramus comment is MeFi at its worst, you're quite right, PP.

So I think I'll chime in and add that the no paper trail reasoning from Diebold is less than pathetic, its an outright lie. If I were voting on an electronic machine, I'd demand a written receipt or an absentee ballot while loudly proclaiming how many errors those machines have been dinged for.

And robocop is bleeding, WalMart's been at the top of my Evil Empires to Overthrow List for a few years now.
posted by fenriq at 3:31 PM on November 17, 2004


If President Bush is a great American, we're beyond fucked.
posted by amberglow at 3:33 PM on November 17, 2004


Whirrr....zip...shuffle...shuffle...shuffle...Bang. Zip. Clang Clackity clack. Burp. Fwoosh!

2 + 2 = Diebold

beep. beep. beep. beep. beep.
posted by Skygazer at 5:01 PM on November 17, 2004


"I'm all in favor of a verifiable paper trail, but I think this is a taller order than most people assume."

Oh really? Well, up until some places started using computers to do voting, we used a pretty tried and true method of voting that inherently created a paper trail.

It's called paper ballots.

Here in Los Angeles, I actually voted on one this past November 2! Wow! And you know what? I bet that paper ballot is still available for counting and review! I even have a receipt stub to prove I voted! Wow!

Gosh 'n' golly gee, isn't that amazing?

...

So there's already a way in place to assure that there's a paper trail and accountable voting. Now let's all say this one together, folks.

NO. COMPUTER. VOTING. MACHINES.

Let's stick with the old-fashioned way that served this and every other democratic country for centuries, eh what? That way there will be no question.
posted by zoogleplex at 5:24 PM on November 17, 2004


I vote for paper, too.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:09 PM on November 17, 2004


Paper ballots work OK for Canada. They're laughing - and cringing - at our "who the fuck knows what the real vote count was, because there's no audit trail" problems.

Paper ballots, counted by central computers running open source.....

In fact, computers are pretty cheap, and redundant vote counting computer systems would make hacking much harder - especially if one ran Microsoft and the other Linux.

And, anyone who questions my proposal hates America.
posted by troutfishing at 10:15 PM on November 17, 2004


Canada has much simpler ballots than the US though, doesn't it? I seem to remember seeing a Canadian ballot and you just had to vote for one person to represent you. Americans, by contrast, have to vote for judges, state reps, etc etc. Lots of elected officials here. Don't get me wrong, I live in Oregon and we do all of our voting by mail on paper and I think it's a pretty great system, but it's still an important distinction. That's why Canadian elections take so much less time than US elections, incidentally - whereas it took us 36 days to figure out who won the 2000 Presidential race, it took 36 days for Canada to go through a whole election season.
posted by pikachulolita at 1:12 AM on November 18, 2004


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