Diebold, Ditching Voting Machines, Sticks With ATMs
Tuesday, September 8th, 2009
If you’ve ever used an ATM, chances are you’ve used a Diebold. If that name sounds familiar to you, you may remember that in April of 2008, I interviewed Ed Felten via Skype, the Princeton professor who was able to hack a Diebold voting machine, one of their other ventures. The AP reported last week that Diebold is selling it’s voting machine unit for millions of dollars to Election Systems & Software, giving them a pretty firm hold on the voting machine market in the US.
Diebold, based in North Canton, announced the sale of its Allen, Texas-based subsidiary Premier Election Solutions Inc. on Thursday and said it will get $5 million plus payments representing 70 percent of collections of the unit’s accounts receivable as of Aug. 31.
Diebold said it would disclose the additional payments at a later date.
Diebold expects to recognize a pretax loss on the deal in the range of $45 million to $55 million.
Candice Hoke, an election law professor at Cleveland State University, said the sale raises questions about the consolidation of election services. “It’s a massive consolidation of voting-system vendors,” she said.
The increased size and influence of ES&S could make it harder for smaller, innovative companies to enter the market, she said. “The market power (of ES&S) will be so significant,” she said.
At the same time, Hoke said, ES&S’s growth could allow it to spend more on research to develop better voting machines.
We’ve followed closely stories about voting machines here. For the whole bunch of them, check out our electronic voting archive.
Photo of Diebold ATM via jeffwilcox on Flickr.