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Hi-Technologies in California

The article “Hi-Tech Voting Is Banned in California” by John Schwarz discusses reasons and arguments why it is better to ban hi-tech voting systems in California. The article presents both arguments of proponents and opponents of the controversial issue. Schwarz reports that use of about 1,500 electronic voting machines designed by Diebold is banned in California because of claims about system insecurity and improper operation. They won’t be used till measures to upgrade systems are taken.

Therefore, Diebold should be charged because of fraudulent actions, as well as of despicable behavior. The company is claimed to engage deceitful behavior to succeed in California business sphere. The issue whether to use electronic voting systems has become controversial and is still under debate. On the one hand, opponents claim that systems should be banned as they are insecure allowing hacking during the electoral process which is impossible. Insecure systems make electoral process less transparent and the losing side will get a chance to dispute results of elections.

Moreover, credible reputation of California will be also under attack. Opponents argue that fraud and electoral flaws may remain undetected and, in such a way, re-counting won’t take place. Credibility of results will be doubtful. The director of marketing in Diebold doesn’t agree with accusations. Mark Radke argues that they are confident in their technologies and benefits. Therefore, they are going to check everything to help successful elections in California. The California secretary of state, Mr.

Shelley, says that the company has jeopardized the outcome of the elections as thousand of voters in San Diego were not provided with opportunity to reach polling places because of malfunctioning of electronic voting systems. The president of Diebold defends his company claiming they are not idiots, although he admits that their systems may works not as the smartest from time to time, as they are not Gods. Nevertheless, Diebold is accused of breaking law of state elections as they have installed insecure software on machines.

Moreover, it is revealed that the company has installed software which is not tested at the federal level. Therefore, machines known as AccuVote TSX are banned from using. Actually, AccuVote TSC were uses in Solano, Kern, San Diego and San Joaquin counties. Now they have to use older technologies – optical ballot scanning – and voters must mark ballots by hand. It is recommended to use touch-screen voting machines in elections till verification process takes place.

However, these systems will be also banned of counties don’t upgrade their reliability and security. Mr. Shelley reports that machines in ten counties are closed explaining that such steps are necessary. The goal is assumed to “balance trying to make this election work in those 10 counties with improving voter confidence”. (p. 13) Mr. Shelley asked hi-tech voting machines to produce a paper receipt and claims for seeking new ways how to speed up preparation for elections. Schwarz writes that the number of opponents is growing.

For example, “a voters group in Maryland, the Campaign for Verifiable Voting, filed suit against the Maryland Board of Elections last week to block the use of the state’s 16,000 touch-screen machines until paper-based verification systems that display each vote can be added to them”. (p. 13) Diebold machines were tested and report showed that hacking was possible during elections. It is necessary to admit that the article is directly related with hi-technologies in California field as the author discusses problems with hi-tech electronic voting systems in California designed by Diebold Company.

The author analyzes possible consequences of improper use of hi-tech in electoral process. Actually, systems could be easily hacked and the whole election process will be endangered by possibilities of falsification. Therefore, the actions of the State of California are appropriate as Diebold should test and certificate their systems before they are put in use.


Schwarz, John. (2004). Hi-Tech Voting Is Banned in California. The New York Times, May 1, pp. 12-13.

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