Diebold/Premier Acquired By ES&S – Promises No Change In Service

Update: Other coverage of interest

9/10/2009 – NY Times Editorial <read>

The combination of the Election Systems & Software and Diebold American voting machine divisions raises classic antitrust concerns. Election Systems & Software, which has also been criticized for making unreliable machines, would be the nation’s largest voting machine maker by far. And states and cities, which have long complained about the low quality and high cost of the machines, would have less choice or bargaining power…

It makes no sense to allow private companies to count votes using secret, proprietary software. The federal government and the states should also require that all electronic voting machines produce a paper record of every vote and mandate random hand counts to ensure the reliability of the results.

Like the Times, we support the Holt Bill.

9/03/2009 – Brad Blog covers concerns with the merger and history of ES&S:
“Bargain-basement sale price; Anti-trust complaints to be filed; Dreadful history of failure by both companies”   <read>
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Election Systems and Software, Inc. (ES&S) has acquired Premier Election Solutions, Inc.  (formerly Diebold). Press Release <read>

I am sure we will have more analysis from others over the next few days.  But for now we are not as excited as the company is about the promise of more of the same.  From the press release:

“While combining these two companies will mean many positive changes, one thing won’t change,” said Tesi. “In everything we do, we will continue our focus on delivering high quality services and products for all of our customers. Moving forward, all of our customers will get the same great level of service they have come to expect.

From the history of memory cards programmed by LHS Associates, our distributor, we are not pleased at the prospect of continuing memory card issues.  Earlier this year we covered the latest UConn memory card “audit” <read>  According to the report 9% of the cards sent to UConn had memory failures.  These problems are not new national reports go back at least to 2007 <read> That is an incredibly poor product – can you imagine if 9% of all thumb drives failed?

Memory cards are hardware.  Here are a couple of examples of the software quality we have come to expect from Diebold/Premier <read>

On the other hand, ES&S could have a better track record.  See page 9 of this report by VotersUnite <read>.  It outlines how:

By threatening to withdraw support, ES&S is able to dictate conditions that increase the county’s dependece.

ES&S also brought us the 18,000 missing votes in Sarasota, FL <read>

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