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Diebold rebrands evoting business, revises forecasts

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Diebold has re-branded its electronic voting subsidiary as "Premier Election Solutions" after attempts to offload the business failed. The firm also had to rein in its performance predictions, as uncertainty about the security of the machines starts to bite.

The firm said: "Efforts to sell this company... have proven unsuccessful due in part to the rapidly evolving political uncertainties and controversies surrounding state and jurisdiction purchases of electronic voting systems".

It also noted that large orders it was expecting in 2007 have moved into "2008 and beyond", and so needs to reduce its full year revenue forecast by around $120m. That is more than half: the business had expected to report revenue of up to $215m for the period.

Thomas Swidarski, Diebold's president and CEO said: "While we plan to fully support this business for the foreseeable future, we feel a more independent structure should allow it to operate more effectively."

He added that although the market is uncertain now, the US government is likely to pump more cash into voting technology at some point. The implication being that is worth hanging around to see what happens.

The news follows California's decision to decertify the voting machines made by the four biggest vendors, including Diebold.

The move by California Secretary of State Debra Bowen placed tough new restrictions on the use of machines of three of the manufacturers - Diebold Election Systems, Sequoia Voting Systems and Hart InterCivic, after security testers found serious vulnerabilities in machines from all three firms.

A fourth manufacturer, Election Systems and Software, could still be re-certified, having lost its stamp of approval for failing to turn over its source code in time for the review. ®

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