Thursday, August 24, 2006

Voting kiosk company to pay for election problems

According to this article at, touch screen voting kiosk maker Election Systems & Software will be paying the state of Indiana $245,000 to compensate for problems experienced during the May primaries, and will further provide extra hands-on and technical support this fall. In exchange, the state won't pursue formal charges against the company, and it looks like they're willing to continue using the devices in future elections (at least provided that ES&S can get their act together). From the article:
Election officials in the 27 counties that use ES&S vote counters and/or touch-screen voting machines -- including Marion and Johnson counties in Central Indiana -- criticized the company for a lack of support and technical expertise before and during the May election.

Some machines in Johnson and other counties were not set up properly, causing difficulties when it came time to open up the polls and count the ballots, election officials said.

Other jurisdictions said they were forced to miss deadlines because the company was late in delivering the final layout of ballots.
While it would be surprising to see the company correct all of its problems in one fell swoop, at least some portion was due to poor training and incorrect setup, which can be largely remedied with the proposed additional staff, as well as educational aids like instruction videos and better manuals. And while I'm still not convinced that there is a suitable reliable and tamper-proof system out there and ready to be used for e-voting, many states in the union certainly appear to believe otherwise, and have continued to aggressively pursue solutions from multiple vendors.

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