Election Supervisor Raises Serious Concerns Over Diebold Voting Machines

By: Victoria Langley
By: Victoria Langley

One of Florida’s Elections Supervisors is raising questions about the security of voting machines used in nearly half the state after a computer hacker cracked the system.

The concerns are serious enough that Leon County is scrapping the “Diebold” system. But, the Secretary of State’s office is defending its certification of the voting machines, and the security of the votes cast on them.

Leon County Elections Supervisor Ion Sancho told NewsChannel Seven how a computer expert hacked into his voting system and changed totals in a practice election. “The expert that we used simply programmed it on his laptop in his hotel room.”

Sancho’s been raising red flags about the system, made by a company called Diebold, for months, after other hackers were able to change votes during earlier tests.

But, Sancho says he’s gotten nowhere with the company or with the Secretary of State’s office, which oversees elections. “This raises serious questions as to the state of Florida’s certification program.”

The concerns come on the heels of the resignation of Diebold CEO Wally O’Dell, a Republican fundraiser and staunch supporter of George W. Bush. Diebold’s were used in Florida and Ohio in 2004, and skeptics are raising lots of questions.

A Volusia County voting machine had unexplained changes to its vote totals back in 2000, and Sancho thinks his hacker tests may finally have shown how that happened.

But, acting Secretary of State David Mann defends the security of the machines. “Right now we are confident that those machines will carry on an election when they’re used within the context of the security parameters that all supervisors follow.

But with another hotly contested election on the horizon, the questions are likely to continue.

Diebold voting equipment is used in 30 counties in Florida, including Walton, Okaloosa, Calhoun and Wakulla counties.


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