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Contributors: Douglas McIntyre Jon C. Ogg

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Diebold Doesn't Want You To Read This

On July 14 we wrote and posted a story called "Will House Hearings Impact Diebold?" discussing the electronic voting machines. The hearings were merely to determine if the new standards will prevent or limit the perception of problems existing. On July 14, DBD closed at $37.97. This company is not a one-trick pony since they are the ATM leader, but there is the potential of a massive windfall if they can secure the trust for electronic voting machines accross the US.

This "public trust and perception" may be at risk if the most recent event has anything to do with it. If the public views their votes not being properly counted then they will say to hell with all electronic voting machines. Ultimately we all know that will be available on an electronic basis, but fear and discomfort can bog down progress just as much as any government mandate.

In elections this week in Alaska Diebold-built touchscreen voting machines did not properly upload votes into the central computing system and these results had to be manually counted and manually uploaded. Supposedly this was because the Kodiak precints were required to be presented in more than one language. This is also because of new technology in remote areas, but think of all of the places in the US considered "backwoods" and wonder if this will be isolated to one event. If you think back to the time you have voted at a precinct, ask yourself if the voting monitors and volunteers there will all know how to be on-site techies capable of handling any electronic "issues" that come up. According to a "Anchorage Daily News" article the spokesperson for the Alaska Democratic Party noted that this is indicative of larger problems with the machines.

Ultimately we will all be using electronic voting machines and maybe even remote voting is not out of the realm of possibilities, but for now this is obviously an "at risk" situation for Diebold and anyone else wanting to profit off of electronic voting machines.

Shares of Diebold (DBD) over the last 5 days have traded down from $42.00 to today's 0.5% decline to $40.92.

Jon C. Ogg
August 24, 2006
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