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Diebold, Incorporated is a security systems company which is engaged primarily in the sale, manufacture, installation and service of self-service transaction systems (such as ATMss), electronic and physical security products (including vaults and currency processing systems), and software and integrated systems for global financial and commercial markets. It has recently entered the business of creating electronic voting terminals and solutions for government entities. Diebold was incorporated under the laws of the State of Ohio in August, 1876, and is headquartered in North Canton, Ohio.

Diebold Election Systems

Diebold Elections Systems is run by Bob Urosevich, who has been working in the election systems industry since 1976. In 1979, Mr. Urosevich founded American Information Systems. He served as the President of AIS from 1979 through 1992, and that company, now known as Election Systems & Software, Inc, counted over 100 million ballots in the U.S. 2000 General Election. Bob's brother, Todd Urosevich, is Vice President, Aftermarket Sales with ES&S. In 1995, Bob Urosevich started I-Mark Systems, whose product was a touch screen voting system utilizing a smart card and biometric encryption authorization technology. Global Election Systems, Inc acquired I-Mark in 1997, and on July 31, 2000 Mr. Urosevich was promoted from Vice President of Sales and Marketing and New Business Development to President and Chief Operating Officer. On January 22, 2002, Diebold announced the acquisition of GES, then a manufacturer and supplier of electronic voting terminals and solutions. The total purchase price, in stock and cash, was $24.7 million. Global Election Systems subsequently changed its name to Diebold Election Systems, Inc.

Accusations & criticism

Together Election Systems & Software, Inc. and Diebold Election Systems, Inc. are responsible for tallying around 80% of votes cast in the United States. The software architecture common to both is a creation of Mr. Urosevich's company I-Mark. Some critics claim that this structure is easily compromised, in part due to its reliance on Microsoft Access databases. Britain J. Williams, responsible for certification of voting machines for the state of Georgia has provided a negative assessment based on her accounting of potential exploits.

In August 2003, Walden O'Dell, chief executive of Diebold, announced that he had been a top fund-raiser for President George W. Bush and had sent a get-out-the-funds letter to Ohio Republicans. When assailed by critics for the perceived conflict of interest, he pointed out that the company's election machines division is run out of Texas by a registered Democrat. Nonetheless, he vowed to lower his political profile lest his personal actions harm the company.

DES claims its systems provide strong immunity to ballot tampering and other vote rigging attempts. These claims have been challenged, notably by Bev Harris on her website,, and book by the same name.

According to critics, the I-Mark and Microsoft software each represent a single point of failure for the vote counting process, from which 80% of votes can be compromised via the exploit of a single line of code in either subsystem. Harris and C. D. Sludge, an Internet journalist, both claim there is also evidence that the Diebold systems have been exploited to tamper with American elections —a claim Harris expands in her book Black Box Voting.

Sludge further cites Votewatch for evidence that suggests a pattern of compromised voting machine exploits throughout the 1990s, and specifically involving the Diebold machines in the 2002 election.

Current controversy

Its voting machines, which are made by its subsidiary Diebold Election Systems (DES), have caused a public uproar among some opponents, some of which are engaged in "electronic civil disobedience" against legal attempts by Diebold to stop the release and publication of a number of internal memos.

In September 2003, a large number of internal Diebold memos, dating back to mid-2001, were posted to the Web by the website organizations Why War and the Swarthmore Coalition for the Digital Commons, a group of student activists at Swarthmore College. Diebold's critics believe that these memos reflect badly on Diebold's voting machines and business practices. Diebold has since reportedly sent cease and desist letters to sites hosting these documents demanding that they be removed in violation of the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act provisions of the DMCA found in § 512 of the United States Copyright Act.

In December 2003, an internal Diebold memo was leaked to the press, sparking controversy in Maryland. Maryland officials requested that Diebold add the functionality of printing voting receipts. The leaked memo said, "As a business, I hope we're smart enough to charge them up the wazoo [for this feature]".

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