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Diebold TSx touch-screen study for Utah

By Bev Harris, Black Box Voting  Posted by Joan Brunwasser (about the submitter)     Permalink
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Black Box Voting : Latest Consumer Reports from Black Box Voting: 03-18-06: BBV EXCLUSIVE - Diebold TSx touch-screen study (Part I)

Posted by Bev Harris on Saturday, March 18, 2006 - 09:33 pm:

Emery County Clerk Bruce Funk has been running elections for 23 years.
He was quite content with his optical scan system. The state of Utah
thought otherwise: On Dec. 27, Funk took delivery on 40 Diebold TSx
touch-screen machines, part of a statewide directive.

"I had concerns about Diebold," says Funk, "but I thought, 'If the
state is going to mandate it, then I guess they'll assume
responsibility if anything goes wrong.'"

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Not so. He soon learned that he will be responsible but the state will
decide what election system will count the votes.

(photo: Bruce Funk, Emery County Clerk, with Diebold TSx shipment)

"You're going to hate my guts on Election Day"

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Funk's concerns escalated when he heard a particularly unusual
statement by Diebold sales rep Dana LaTour.

"Some of you are going to hate my guts on Election Day," she said to
the assembly of elections officials. Later, another Diebold
representative named Drew was asked what LaTour meant when she said
"Some of you are going to hate my guts..."

"We're going to have problems on Election Day, and we're just going to
have to work through them," he said.

Failures right out of the gate

Shortly after Funk received his "brand new" TSx machines, Diebold
helped him do acceptance testing. Two of the 40 machines promptly
failed the test. Diebold arranged to take them away.

The remaining machines showed several defects -- crooked paper feeds
that jam, memory card bay doors that wouldn't close, parts getting
stuck, coming loose, falling off.

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Taking a closer look

Funk thought it might be a good idea to take a closer inventory.

He booted each machine up to check the battery. Some of the machines
were marked with little yellow dots, and he got to wondering about
that, too. He studied the screen messages, and noticed something very

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