Thursday, December 11, 2003

Out the Yin-Yang


ANNAPOLIS -- An e-mail found in a collection of files stolen from Diebold Elections Systems' internal database recommends charging Maryland "out the yin-yang" if the state requires Diebold to add paper printouts to the $73 million voting system it purchased.

The e-mail from "Ken," dated Jan. 3, 2003, discusses a (Baltimore) Sun article about a University of Maryland study of the Diebold system:

"There is an important point that seems to be missed by all these articles: they already bought the system. At this point they are just closing the barn door. Let's just hope that as a company we are smart enough to charge out the yin if they try to change the rules now and legislate voter receipts."

"Ken" later clarifies that he meant "out the yin-yang," adding, "any after-sale changes should be prohibitively expensive."

The e-mail has been cited by advocates of voter-verified receipts, who say estimates of the cost of adding printers -- as much as $20 million statewide -- have been bloated.

"I find it appalling," said Del. Karen S. Montgomery (D-Dist. 14) of Brookeville, who plans to file a bill mandating a voter-verified paper trail.

"I'd really like to have [yin-yang] explained to me anatomically, with the assumption that almost any place it would be would be painful," she said.

Montgomery said that the price to add printers should be much lower and that she thinks it is being high-balled in part to keep people from talking about the printing system.

Getting a clue yet, people?