ALLEN, TX: Diebold has rebranded its controversial Diebold Election Systems as Premier Election Solutions (PES), after failing to initially sell the subsidiary.
PES, which manufacturers voting and election-related products and services, will operate as a wholly owned, but separate brand of Diebold, a provider of self-service (i.e. ATMs) and security systems and services.
PES’ messaging will focus on new technologies, like touch-screen terminals, and how they improve upon the old-fashioned paper methods that have been used in elections for decades. Particular attention will also be paid to products and services, like optical scan terminals, that allow voters with disabilities to cast their ballots unaided. Outreach will be conducted with customers through such tactics as direct mail.
Last week, the company contacted existing customers via e-mail and telephone to discuss the changes. According to Christopher Riggall, communications manager for PES, the response has been positive.
In addition, Edelman will continue to assist PES with rebranding work and to counter criticism.
There have been questions about the ability to use voter technology to commit fraud and affect election outcomes. State and federal government bodies are now reviewing election technologies, and some Premier purchases scheduled for 2007 have been delayed until next year.
“What other industries would consider crisis communications is, for us, standard and typical,” said Riggall. “We have to be prepared for ongoing scrutiny.”
Revenue expectations for the year have been lowered by $120 million from $185 to $215 million. A new independent board is being created to run the company’s operations and David Byrd will remain company president.
“This market space can be sort of a battleground where party interests try to prevail,” said Riggall. “These are elected officials who are responsible to voters and taxpayers. You have to understand, with government decision-making and the public dollar that ultimately pays for this, the pressures and scrutiny… and the transparency of the environment.”