Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Election panel OKs Illegal software

By Mary Beth Schneider
March 11, 2004

The Indiana Election Commission voted late Wednesday to let four counties use illegal voting software after hearing desperate appeals by county clerks who feared primary election disasters if they didn't get help.

The unanimous decision by the four commission members, though, belied the anger they felt at Election Systems & Software, the voting equipment vendor whose mistakes had created the potential mess for the state and Johnson, Vanderburgh, Wayne and Henry counties.

"I find this whole thing incredibly distasteful," said Brian Burdick, chairman of the commission. "We're all lined up to be sued all because you derelicts couldn't get your act together."

He was particularly concerned about Johnson County, where a potentially close primary election contest is brewing between two Republicans -- state Sen. Larry Borst and Johnson County Council President Brent Waltz.

"God forbid we have a problem" in the tallying of that race, Burdick said.

To make sure the Nebraska firm -- known as ES&S -- would be liable for any costs, the commission voted to require the company to post a $10 million bond. If it is unable to provide the counties with legally certified voting equipment by Oct. 1, it must install any other company's voting equipment that satisfies the four counties in time for the November election.

The problem came because ES&S had sold the counties new touch-screen voting software that has not been certified for use in Indiana. Three of the counties -- Johnson, Wayne and Henry -- used the illegal voting system in the November 2003 election.

To meet Indiana law, ES&S retrofitted the machines in those counties, and Vanderburgh, with older software certified for use in Indiana. They could not guarantee it would work smoothly.

ES&S senior vice president Ken Carbullido compared the old version to an Edsel automobile that hasn't been driven for a while. And, he and others in the company said, voters could be confused


Chuck Hagel's company btw...


Post a Comment

<< Home