Monday, February 14, 2005

How do you vote?

The Advocate reports that the Secretary of State's Office is getting a lot of complaints from voting machine vendors who didn't make the cut to compete for a $47 million contract. Secretary of State Fox McKeithen said he can understand why because of the money involved, but he's confident that any appeals won't be successful.

"Three or four of them have called in here and claimed that they did meet the certification requirements or have claimed they can meet the certification requirements," McKeithen said Friday. "I tell them, 'That's fine and wonderful, but you didn't.'"

Only three of eight voting machine vendors made the cut, meeting both state and federal requirements. They are Advanced Voting Solutions, Elections System and Software and Sequoia Voting System. Companies excluded after state reviews are Diebold Elections Systems, Accupoll, Populex, Hart Intercivic and Liberty Elections System.

Louisiana must replace about 5,000 old lever-style voting machines that do not meet federal regulations by the federal elections in 2006. The federal government is providing the money and requests for proposals will go out near the end of March.

McKeithen said the state had 106 specific criteria it was looking for in voting machines. The companies knew at least a month ago about those criteria, he said. "They were well aware of what we wanted and what we were going to insist on."

The Advocate cite McKeithen as saying that the certification process was handled by a special team that included people involved in machine programming and testing as well as representatives of the parish registrars of voters and clerks of court, who handle elections. He added that some companies are claiming that answers to questions raised on machine capabilities were misunderstood by the certification team.

"We went to the trouble of videotaping the sessions, and we have a court reporter transcribing them where we both can look at it," he said. "If we made a mistake, we'll correct it. But even if we find one, there were multiple problems."

And you solved them how?


jbv's Competitive Edge 


Anonymous Jonathan said...

I for one am very skeptical about how government contracts are handed out. I'm sure some of the complaints from the vendors that were left out, are sour grapes. However, I would bet to some degree their complaints are legit. I for one would like to see these processes conducted in a more open fashion. I'd love to see the names and affiliations as well as the transcripts from the meetings of this "special team."

8:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cannot emphasize enough the need to adequately train administrators at precincts about new systems and technology. Many New Orleanians could not vote Nov 2nd because people didn't know how to turn on the machines. I witnessed this firsthand at several precincts.

12:23 PM  

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