Md. Files $8.5 Million Claim Against Electronic Voting System Manufacturer - Southern Maryland Headline News

Md. Files $8.5 Million Claim Against Electronic Voting System Manufacturer

State Seeks to Recover Costs Incurred to Provide Voters an Accurate, Reliable, and Secure System

BALTIMORE (Dec. 25, 2008) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler on Wednesday announced that the State of Maryland has presented Premier Election Solutions (formerly known as Global Election Systems, Inc. and Diebold Elections Systems, Inc.) with a claim to recover costs the State incurred to correct flaws in the touch screen voting system supplied by the company.

In December 2001, the State contracted with Diebold Election Systems, Inc. (Diebold) to provide a touch screen voting system including hardware, software, documentation and support services. The State's payments to Diebold under the voting systems contract have totaled approximately $90 million. After the State's initial acceptance of the new system, expert, independent investigations revealed concealed security vulnerabilities in the voting system. In response to those investigations, beginning in Fiscal Year 2004, the State and Diebold implemented measures to cure the deficiencies that were identified.

"The citizens of Maryland must have a voting system they can trust, and Diebold promised to provide such a system," said Attorney General Gansler. "Yet the equipment supplied by Diebold had vulnerabilities that needed to be fixed before it could be used in State elections. Under the terms of the contract, the company must reimburse the State for its costs of fixing Diebold's voting system to make it more accurate, reliable, and secure."

Diebold recently presented the State with nearly $4 million in bills arising from services it provided for the 2008 elections under the voting system contract. As allowed by the contract and State law, the State is withholding payment on those and future bills from Diebold until the dispute is settled.

The deficiencies in the Diebold system, as originally supplied by the company, included but were not limited to:

-- The voting system was not compliant with the State's information Security Policy and Standards;

-- There was a need for the State to put into place an integrated process to ensure the integrity of the system;

-- The system did not provide for election vote totals to be transmitted with cryptographic protocols with 100% verification of the transmitted results;

-- The system required a risk assessment of its operation and every significant modification of the system requires a new risk assessment to be performed;

-- The system lacked adequate access controls;

-- The system lacked provisions to assure that only certified software was loaded; and,

-- The system's audit logs were not properly configured.

To implement corrective measures, the State incurred costs for consulting and technical services, personnel and logistics, and materials and supplies. The State estimates the total cost of these expenditures, to date, at $8.47 million. Under State law, Diebold has 30 days to respond to the State's claim.

Source: Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler

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