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Friday, January 5, 2007
Miscounting the counters
Yesterday brought the news, first reported in the New York Times, that the company charged with certifying most of the US's voting machines -- and they have already been doing so nationwide -- has had its certification for the purpose revoked by a national election board, which curiously did not announce this major move. The Election Assistance Commission revoked the authorization and contract with Ciber, Inc. back in the summer, but failed to disclose the decision, which seems curious since it reflects well on the commission for correcting an earlier mistake. (Is there a deeper story here about the original contract?) New York State, which has a $3 million contract with Ciber for assistance in implementing touch-screen voting, immediately announced it would consider suspending testing by the company.
This is a major story, though it's probably something of a snooze for readers. It is one thing for Diebold and other machine manufacturers to be incompetent. It is quite another when the firm assigned to check up on Diebold -- arguably a role that should be governmental rather than private -- also lets flaws go unnoticed. Did the EAC discover that faulty machines were responsible for vote miscounts in live elections? We can't be surprised at this point.
Incidentally, here's a funny piece of irony.
[Revised 1:09 p.m.]