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Vermont Town Says "NO" To Diebold Voting Machines

October 13, 2008

In a small but stunning victory for accurate and secure vote counting, the town of Calais VT voted overwhelmingly 41-21 to defeat the use of Diebold optical scanners, much to the chagrin of Secretary of State Deb Markowitz, who is a strong advocate for the machines.

Vermont Director of Elections Kathy DeWolfe offered a presentation to the town, touting the benefits of the Diebold system. But in the end, the town paid attention to the increasing concerns about the security and reliability of the system and the trustworthiness of Diebold.

Independent studies like the Brennan Report and a Security Analysis of the Diebold AccuBasic Interpreter have found significant vulnerabilities with the system. The Pennsylvania Secretary of State banned the use of the Diebold Optical-Scan machines, and Diebold is currently being sued for fraud by the Ohio Secretary of State. In another blow to Diebold's reputation, the former Director of Elections for Ohio recently admitted on camera that the company offered to make a significant campaign contribution if he chose to implement their system.

Vermonters for Voting Integrity helped inform town residents about the subject by refuting some of the Secretary's claims that the system is secure and reliable. A few citizens wrote to the organization asking for information and were given documents outlining Vermont's lack of adherence to security recommendations and a listing of documented failures of the machines to operate properly.

Town resident Jim Hogue, a member of Vermonters for Voting Integrity, helped make sure his fellow citizens got all the facts. But VVI's Gary Beckwith expressed concern that other towns are not being presented with the whole story, as the Secretary of State continues to push for the machines, ignoring the questionable history and expert testimony. "Several other Secretaries of State are taking appropriate action, but ours continues to sound like a salesperson for Diebold," Beckwith said.

Residents made the right choice to say "no" to the Diebold system, and Calais will continue to count their ballots by hand.

Vermonters for Voting Integrity is a non-partisan citizen group seeking to increase the security of the electronic voting system used throughout Vermont. For more information visit the website: VtVoters.Org

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