Monday, February 27, 2006

Diebold eats our votes and our democracy

An article by Lisa Demer in the January 24 Anchorage Daily News highlights an important but (curiously) overlooked issue in Alaska's last statewide elections:
The state Division of Elections has refused to turn over its electronic voting files to the Democrats, arguing that the data format belongs to a private company and can't be made public.
The Alaska Democratic Party says the information is a public record essential for verifying the accuracy of the 2004 general election and must be provided.
The Democrats put out a release on February 15, basically saying that the delay in releasing this information (the state temporarily relented) was unjustified.
But yesterday, the Alaska Division of Elections decided that our votes, our democracy, should be kept proprietary. Here's the quote from the article:
The Division of Elections initially said Jan. 19 that the file could not be released because it was proprietary information belonging to Diebold Election Systems, the contractor hired to provide Alaska's electronic voting machines.
Several days later, Diebold consented to the release of the records. But the Division of Elections, after two extensions totaling more than two weeks, denied the request.
The state is making major improvements to protect the security of its computer systems, and giving up the database presents "numerous security risks to the State of Alaska government," Darrell Davis, the state's chief security officer for computer technology, wrote in a Feb. 21 letter to the Division of Elections.

And this, of course, reminds me of a little gem of a quote from our old pal Josef Stalin: "Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything."

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