Thursday, February 09, 2006

Diebold Opens Secret Code in Alaska; Reminder Palo Alto Tonight

Both BradBlog and are reporting that Diebold has made a serious information disclosure concession in Alaska. Citing their proprietary claim, Diebold in January refused to make 2004 election data available to the Alaska Democratic Party. has more recently posted correspondence between Diebold and the Elections Director of Alaska, and the Director and the Dem chairman. Begrudgingly and with conditions, to satisfy the Democrats' election data request Diebold is making available the code to its GEMS central tabulator software.

While this is big news that raises many possibilities, another aspect of the story deserves equal billing. In the letter to Dem Chair Jake Metcalfe, Alaska Elections Director Whitney Brewster wrote: "the Division will charge for its costs incurred in manipulating the data to provide the records you seek." WTF? It's not so much the fee that gets me since quality data manipulation is almost always worth what you pay. The whole problem with elections these days is that we have no basis for confidence in the absence of this manipulation. I bet you didn't think you needed another reason to come to that conclusion.

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And a quick reminder for Bay Area readers: tonight (Thurs), 7pm at Palo Alto City Hall (250 Hamilton), Palo Alto's Human Relations Commission will be voting on the Voter Confidence Resolution. I heard from Commission Chair Shauna Wilson via e-mail yesterday and she remains optimistic that it will pass. She also reaffirmed her intention to send the Resolution to the Palo Alto City Council. Attendance from supporters always helps.



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