Amid criticism for its allegedly unreliable voting machines, Diebold Inc. said today that it has failed to sell its voting technology business, which manufactures voting booths used in elections across the country. Instead, the company has decided to allow the unit to operate more independently, giving it a separate board of directors that includes independent members and perhaps a new management structure. Diebold also slashed its revenue outlook $120 million for the year for the unit because of delays by several states in purchasing voting equipment and said that will cut the company's earnings by 27 cents per share for the year; the delays come from uncertainties over federal requirements, state reviews of the issue, and earlier 2008 primary dates, according to the company.
In a statement, Diebold claimed that it made the decision to reorganize the voting unit in part because of "the rapidly evolving political uncertainties and controversies surrounding state and jurisdiction purchases of electronic voting systems." However, the company did not rule out the possibility of later selling part or all of its ownership in the realigned unit. "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," said Thomas W. Swidarski, president and chief executive.