Who Really Won?

Monday, March 05, 2007

Diebold Done?

Diebold Inc. saw great potential in the modernization of elections equipment. Now, analysts say, executives may be angling for ways to dump its e-voting subsidiary that's widely seen as tarnishing the company's reputation.

Though Diebold Election Systems - the company's smallest business segment - has shown growth and profit, it's faced persistent criticism over the reliability and security of its touch-screen voting machines. About 150,000 of its touch-screen or optical scan systems were used in 34 states in last November's election.

The criticism is particularly jarring for a nearly 150-year-old company whose primary focus has long been safes and automated teller machines.

"This is a company that has built relationships with banks every day of every year. It pains them greatly to see their brand tarnished by a marginal operating unit," said Gil Luria, an investment analyst who monitors Diebold for Wedbush Morgan Securities Inc.