By Harry McCracken | Friday, September 4, 2009 at 8:20 am
Ars Technica is reporting that ATM maker Diebold is selling its e-voting machine unit to a competitor for a paltry $5 million. The move gets Diebold out of a business that accounted for very little of its revenues but caused enormous damage to its reputation, and means that the world will need to find some other company to associate with all the downsides of electronic voting.
Ars’ piece recaps some of the controversies surrounding Diebold’s machines, and notes that ES&S, the company acquiring Diebold’s e-voting unit, has had multiple problems of its own. It also quotes former Diebold CEO and George W. Bush supporter Walden O’Dell’s statement in a 2003 fundraising letter that he was committed “to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the President,” which should have gotten him fired on the spot for gross stupidity if nothing else.
I make no claims to know much at all about the technical issues involved in implementing e-voting systems, so my take on the matter is that I accept the possibility that they’re a good idea in principle–but I have grave misgivings about their use in the real world. The companies involved in the field have an uncanny knack for damaging the reputation of the whole idea…
Which brings up today’s T-Poll: