As the UK prepares to try its hand at new ways of electronic voting, one of the largest makers of e-voting machines in the US is fighting off rumours that it wants to quit the business.
Diebold, which deployed more than 130,000 voting machines during last November's US election, is said to be mulling over severing ties with its e-voting subsidiary, according to a report by Associated Press.
Diebold has long been a target for critics of electronic voting systems, most notably due to the absence of paper receipts in its machines and the strong ties of former chief executive Wally O'Dell with the Bush administration.
In 2004, the company was sued by the State of California over what the state said were fraudulent claims made by Diebold.
Much of the speculation comes from Diebold's recent filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission in which it cited "the failure of governments to certify election systems products" as a possible risk factor for the company.
Diebold stated in the filing that the inability of local and state governments to properly adopt and implement the systems could harm the company's reputation, and prompt it to "eliminate, modify or cancel components of our services that could result in additional development costs and the possible loss of revenue".
A Diebold spokesperson told vnunet.com that the company would be unveiling its plans for its electronic voting branch later this year.
"Whatever long-term decision the company comes to regarding our future in the voting business will be a strategic decision and will be made in the best interests of the corporation, our shareholders and our customers in the elections space," said the spokesperson.
The reports have led activists who have long been critical of the company to claim victory.
"They have no one to blame but themselves for this," wrote David Allen, activist and blogger for BlackBoxVoting.com, a site dedicated to monitoring corruption in e-voting systems.
Allen accused Diebold of spreading a "blizzard of lies and criminal deceptions".
"It would be easier to sell Titanic brand cruise ships, or Hindenburg brand zeppelins than a Diebold voting machine company," he wrote.
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