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The Money Pit: Diebold vs. America

By       Message Denis Wright     Permalink
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Georgia was the first state in the nation to go 100% with electronic voting, thanks to Secretary of State Cathy Cox. This was a mantle she carried, and continues to carry, proudly. In fact, she's using it to bolster her run for Governor in 2006, and indeed she is currently the Democratic front runner.

But when you look at the facts Cathy Cox should be ashamed. She has failed the voters of Georgia. She has ensured that our elections are subject to fraud (1); she has knowingly allowed software that violates certification standards to be used in elections. (2) She has wasted huge amounts of taxpayer funds on an election system that is proven to be ineffective at best, a downright scam at worst. And she has hidden or lied about these problems, not only to the voters of Georgia, but also to the state legislature. (3)

A trail of Amendments

In May of 2002 the state signed a contract with Diebold to provide DRE (Direct Record Electronic) voting machines for the entire state at a cost of $54 million. In July of the same year the first Amendment to that contract was signed. It stated that:

• Diebold is to redesign the pre-election training for Georgia officials.

• Diebold is to create and prepare all election ballots for every county in Georgia.

• Diebold is to deliver and install the election database and memory card in every county on or before October 25, 2002.

Immediately, we can see that elections in Georgia have been entirely turned over to a private corporation, one with strong ties to the Republican Party. But it really gets interesting when we turn to later Amendments. Contract Amendments that were signed by Cathy Cox without any legislative oversight.

Despite this written contract, during the November elections there was massive failure of the voting machines which was later documented -- and admitted to, quietly -- by Cathy Cox herself. This information came to light in internal documents obtained through FOIA requests. To the press Ms. Cox consistently praised Diebold and admitted nothing. She even appeared in a promotional video and sales brochures for Diebold.

The second Amendment in December 2002 granted Diebold authority to test the GEMS software with Wyle Labs, certification due in January 2003. Wyle Labs is another privately owned enterprise. Diebold pays Wyle to conduct the tests and the results are made available only to their customer - Diebold. Cost to Georgia voters? $10,029,167.

Third Amendment: Certification has still not been accomplished. Paragraph three states that Federal Certification has not been received but a $1 million dollar payment is demanded, and paid.

August 25, 2003, Amendment Four: The state of Georgia requests three more GEMS servers at a cost of $51,459, which have still not been certified and an additional $23,700 for Kennesaw State testing labs.

Amendment Five: is for a "Security Adjustment" for software glitches, to be obtained by April 29, 2005. Installation of the "security patch " is not to be completed until after the November 2004 election.

Amendment Six: The state bought an additional 955 AccuVote machines from Diebold costing $2.6 million dollars. They also extended their warranty with Diebold through December 2005 at a cost of $1.5 million.

No one in the Georgia legislature knew about any of these Amendments. They were not "in the loop ". There was no legislative oversight whatsoever.

A trail of money

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Denis Wright is a graphic artist and a political activist fighting for what is left of his country.

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The Money Pit: Diebold vs. America