Voting machine maker in antitrust suit

A voter uses a Diebold electronic touch voting machine.

TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: Remember Diebold? The company that -- well, they make ATMs, but they also made those voting machines that election experts criticized for being insecure and inaccurate. A few months ago, Diebold sold the voting machine business to its biggest rival, Election Systems and Software, or ES&S. Well now, Brett Neely reports the Justice Department reportedly plans to sue ES&S on antitrust grounds.


Brett Neely: Bev Harris with the advocacy group BlackBoxVoting.org is for breaking up ES&S.

Bev Harris: What you have is a single entity taking control over the programming and the counting of the votes in 74 percent of the jurisdictions in America.

And she says a monopoly can also lead to higher maintenance costs.

The Justice Department wouldn't comment. But ES&S spokesman John Groh says the voting machine industry has to consolidate.

John Groh: We just don't see how it will support very many suppliers, because it is not a large marketplace.

Activists have complained for years that voting machines can be hacked.

Computer scientist Michael Shamos at Carnegie Mellon says the machines are safer than critics charge. But he says the industry has a bigger problem: reliability.

Michael Shamos: If electric shavers failed as rapidly as voting machines do, we would raise the hue and cry.

Shamos says that makes election officials even more worried about an industry monopoly.

In Washington, I'm Brett Neely for Marketplace.

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