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Diebold slams HBO Hacking Democracy documentary

Sight unseen, gets knickers in a twist

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A campaign by Diebold to torpedo a TV documentary investigating its controversial e-voting machines looks set to backfire.

Diebold president David Byrd and CEO Chris Albrecht this week fired off press releases and angry letters to HBO demanding the US network pull the doc, Hacking Democracy, and that it airs disclaimers before, during and after presentation this week.

Byrd cites "egregious" errors and misrepresentations, while Albrecht alleges some kind of pinko-liberal-Hollwood conspiracy against Diebold. Hacking Democracy "is directed by the directors of VoterGate, and contains much of the same material. VoterGate was produced with special thanks to Susan Sarandon and The Streisand Foundation," he writes.

According to reports, the Diebold duo have not seen Hacking Democracy, and they are also getting their documentaries mixed up.

Confusingly, Votergate is the UK working title of Hacking Democracy. The documentary that Diebold is complaining about - the US Votergate, if you will - was produced and directed by a different bunch of people, HBO says.

The storm comes a week before US citizens go the polls to vote in the bitter 2006 mid-term election campaign. The usual round of political debate and mud slinging has the added spice that there are unresolved questions over the reliability of machines from Dieblod to accurately count and securely record votes.

It seems to be common practice for machines to record votes for Democrats as Republican while machines have also been hacked under tested conditions. Diebold has always maintained its machines are tested and secure.

According to Diebold, 40 per cent of votes this November will be recorded electronically with its own machines accounting for 40 per cent of that market.

That's enough to put the frighteners on a growing number of voters. Representatives of the NAACP told the US radio broadcaster NP that the organization has counted an upsurge in people casting absentee votes, a paper- and postal-based approach that circumvents Diebold machines. ®

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