E-Vote Firms on the Defensive

Bad press sparks new PR campaign

| October 23, 2003 Issue

Manufacturers of electronic touch-screen voting machines, stung by criticism from activists and a string of bad publicity from a study exposing security flaws, are considering a major PR effort to convince voters their products are safe. As Kim Zetter reports in Wired News, a study published in August by researchers at Johns Hopkins and Rice universities exposed serious technical flaws in the leading e-voting system, manufactured by Diebold Election Systems.

In response, notes Zetter, Diebold and several other voting machine manufacturers are working with a strategic lobbying firm on a media campaign to "generate positive public perception" of the companies and to "reduce substantially the level and amount of criticism from computer scientists and other security experts about the fallibility of electronic voting systems."