It's fair to say I'm not a big fan of Diebold -- even before they sent me a cease-and-desist letter over my small part in exposing some of their illegal practices (for example, using uncertified voting machines for an election). Anyway here's their latest lunacy: Massachusetts (ie, Sec. State William Galvin) wisely decided to avoid Diebold when purchasing new machines to comply with the accessibility requirements in the Help America Vote Act (HAVA)... and in response Diebold sued the state. Here's some coverage:
- Voting device pact at issue (Boston Globe)
- Firm sues Mass. over contract for voting machines for disabled (AP, by way of the Boston Herald)
- And even that paragon of journalism, Slashdot: Diebold Sues Massachusetts for "Wrongful Purchase"
The best bit of the articles, to my mind, is this:
Galvin called the lawsuit "frivolous" and "sour grapes on the part of Diebold."
"We've gone through an exhaustive process consulting with the disabled community to find out what's best for them," Galvin told The Associated Press. "We certainly don't feel like we have an obligation to help (Diebold) market their equipment."
I'd have said "a company guilty of breaking election laws" instead of "Diebold", and "insecure and buggy equipment which threatens the bedrock of our democracy" instead of plain "equipment", but I think Sec. Galvin and I are on the same page here.
Incidentally, the AP article massacres the reasons why the AutoMARK was chosen, but it's a very good choice from a technical standpoint: it's a disabled-voter-friendly touchscreen machine that emits a bog-standard optical-scan ballot, so the standard election procedures and auditability of optical scan technology are uncompromised. Further, it integrates well with existing systems, so it's cost-effective to boot. In the past I've felt that Sec. State Galvin was not doing all he could to safeguard Massachusetts elections, but good decisions like these are slowly winning me over.