New Diebold chief defends e-voting machines

NORTH CANTON, Ohio - The new chief executive officer of Diebold Inc. on Monday defended the company's electronic voting machine business, saying he believes its touch-screen machines are secure despite criticism from voting rights advocates, some election officials and investors.

Thomas Swidarski told The Associated Press the future of the e-voting segment of the company, which also makes automatic teller machines and security systems, depends on a thorough review he will conduct as part of his quest to cut $100 million in costs over three years.

"There's pieces and aspects of each of our businesses that I'm going to be looking at with a very critical eye in terms of what the future holds for us," Swidarski said in his first media interview since taking over the troubled company in December.

He said Diebold Election Systems, the company's smallest business segment, now offers machines and computer software he feel confident will satisfy certification demands.

In December Diebold's former chairman and CEO, Walden O'Dell, suddenly resigned, and investors sued Diebold, claiming the company made misleading comments about its electronic voting machine business.

"The thing I look at is what customers say," Swidarski said. "I can't comment on any kind of lawsuit that's pending, but I'm very confident in terms of the capabilities we have actually delivered."

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