Saturday, December 17, 2005

Leak in Diebold Dike becomes larger

Volusia dumps controversial voting equipment,OKs $2.5 million for new system

Last updated Friday, Dec. 16, 2005

DELAND – Volusia County today became the second Florida county this week to ditch controversial voting equipment vendor Diebold Election Systems.

With a 4-3 vote, the County Council decided to switch systems and go with a different company in hopes of getting paper ballot equipment that also meets the needs of voters with disabilities.

Earlier this week, the Leon County Commission OK’d a similar deal. The same day, that county’s supervisor of elections, Ion Sancho, authorized a hack into the voting system that he said showed that the votes could be changed without leaving a trace.

Those reports raised the stakes for paper-ballot activists in Volusia County, but appeared to play little part in council members’ decisions today.

While each of the council members on the winning side spoke about the need for paper-ballots, none mentioned the Leon County tests in comments about spending about $2.5 million to go with a different vendor, Nebraska-based Election Systems & Software.

Both companies market disabled-accessible touch-screen machines that don’t use paper ballots. But Election Systems & Software is also trying to get a paper-ballot marking disabled-accessible device called the AutoMARK through state certification.

The contract the council endorsed today allows the county to buy touch-screen units and replace them with AutoMARK units if the units are certified by Feb. 22. If not, the county can get a refund on the entire system.

Council members Joie Alexander, Jack Hayman and Bill Long dissented on the vote, which ended almost a year of controversy in the county over the issue.

Found at Left Edge North

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