Texas Pulls Voting Reg System From IBM After Multimillion System Can't Recover Lost Data

from the that's-not-good dept

EFF points us to yet another massively expensive computer system that can't do some rather basic things. Apparently the state of Texas has pulled its election systems from an $863 million computer system project it had with IBM, after failures and glitches in the system took down the voter system and lost data, which was unrecoverable. State officials realized that if this had happened during an actual election, the state wouldn't have been able to verify new voters, in violation of federal law. So, it dumped IBM and set up its own system that (gasp) actually has multiple backups of the data. I guess things like redundant backups aren't included in the $863 million package.
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Filed Under: backup, computer systems, texas
Companies: ibm


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  • icon
    aguywhoneedstenbucks (profile), 5 Nov 2009 @ 5:59pm

    They should sue IBM and give that money back to the people who paid for it. However I'd hate to suggest that since there is no income tax here and I don't want them looking too closely at implementing one.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mark P, 5 Nov 2009 @ 7:41pm

    Figures...

    This is just the latest example of private outsourcing by the State of Texas turning into a debacle, but will this change Gov. Perry's conviction that the private sector can always do a better job than the government? Heck no. What chance does actual evidence have in the face of conservative orthodoxy?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ben in TX (profile), 5 Nov 2009 @ 7:57pm

      Re: Figures...

      Governor Perry hasn't shown much ability to apply logic to his positions, so there's not really any reason to expect him to now. I think the voters are going to turn on him and vote in Hutchinson.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      TomS, 5 Nov 2009 @ 9:24pm

      Re: Figures...

      Here, here. Well put. We see the same thing in the federal government, outsourcing to the private sector usually results in more taxpayer dollars wasted. Projects done by contractors cost 3-5x more than if they were done by our own employees. Sometimes you need consultants, yes, but they shouldn't run projects.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Derek Reed (profile), 6 Nov 2009 @ 12:08pm

      Re: Figures...

      I'd argue this is a failure of government to actually use the private sector. There are multiple companies "out there" who could do this job, and bid it under 863 million, and provide adequate backups and redundancy.

      Whatever means were used to select IBM and whatever requirements were not given (or given and not met) are clearly at least part of the problem here.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ben in TX (profile), 5 Nov 2009 @ 8:00pm

    I wonder...

    I wonder if Texas would have booted IBM if they hadn't been on track to break federal law.

    I'm thrilled to see TX protect voter rights, but I don't trust the state to protect voter's rights on principle alone.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    wnyght (profile), 5 Nov 2009 @ 8:47pm

    "I guess things like redundant backups aren't included in the $863 million package."

    that option is not included from the factory, the dealer has to install it...duh!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Spanky, 6 Nov 2009 @ 3:59am

    re

    Yeah, but considering the state of things in Texas, I'm surprised this wasn't viewed as a proof of concept.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2009 @ 4:32am

    I can just imagine the story when one of those "multiple backups" goes missing and turns up being used as a telephone sales list or something.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    staff3, 6 Nov 2009 @ 8:57am

    So why would we want to trust IBM to "reform" our patent system? They are slugs.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rob, 6 Nov 2009 @ 12:44pm

    Backups don't guarantee recover is posible

    Having backups, even redundant backups, don't guarantee that recover is possible. I've seen it many times where it turns out the backup media is bad or wasn't done correctly.

    When was the last time you tested your backup system? The answer for most people is never.

    And what if the government does a worse job at this than the private sector. I can hardly wait.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bobo, 6 Nov 2009 @ 3:55pm

    What did you expect

    As we all know, IBM was taken over by India, Inc. a long ago. The "best and the brightest" from India keeping America competitive.

    These people are SO incompetent, they can't even get govt work right. No wonder the U.S. economy is going into the toilet with India, Inc. running everything.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2009 @ 8:32pm

    Backups don't guarantee recover is posible

    Try the DROBO approach they succeeded is a fantastic piece of equipment and is so simple.

    HDDs + Virtual Filesystems + resources management + security probes.

    The only thing missing is the endless redundancy from the Linux core that have thousands of backups all over the world so unless the end of humanity or the world comes there will be linux kernels somewhere LoL

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lurker 2000, 7 Nov 2009 @ 3:09pm

    IBM, once killed jews

    Wow. IBM couldn't make backups. Then Texas booted IBM.

    From a qualitative analysis standpoint, I wonder how is this going to affect "big iron" sales.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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