They could be configured to disable USB ports. And before there were configuration changes for that, I heard of people just putting superglue in the ports on kiosks… USB ports aren’t an unknown security risk - the question remains whether the control environment is adequate.
Reading your link, it’s far less clear cut (ha) than you make out. What you describe is certainly possible, and maybe even plausible, but I don’t think I’d describe a worker giving his or her personal feeling that it was deliberate as “confirmed from reliable sources.” The source says:
No evidence is offered for this, however, and when someone goes out of their way to disclaim something as their personal opinion, describing it as fact is a bit of a reach.
Am I being whooshed? My point was that the free market wants to be able to build and program these machines, and if the government tried to make one reliable one, the CEO’s would cry like babies.
My first introduction to the American system of vote counting was the 2000 election - I didn’t get for the longest time why there was so much controversy. “Why don’t they just re-count the ballots?” I thought, in my naive Canadian way. I also thought, “People mark a ballot, other people count them - how hard can this be?” I have since learned that it can be much, much harder than it needs to be.
Regardless of their ultimate motive in sending out known defective paper ballots the very fact that they did indeed do so, which in turn caused some of the trouble and furor that led to Gore losing the election indicates to me that this is NOT an ethical enough company to be left in charge of our election process.
The issue of defective paper ballots is not in question–the only question is the ultimate motivation for sending them out in the first place. It’s also not in question that Sierra had approached the Florida counties which received the crap paper ballots to try to sell them on electronic voting machines. Occam’s Razor indicates that selling spendy electronic voting machines instead of cheap paper ballots is probably our least hypothesis here.
Like I say, that’s all eminently possible. It just hasn’t been confirmed by reliable sources, as you originally said. It’s essentially speculation.
I’m not sure imputing a sales conspiracy is exactly what William of Ockham meant his razor to be used for, either. There doesn’t even need to have been a motive for sending out crap ballots, so assuming that there was one seems rather contrary to the spirit of Ockham’s rule of thumb.