Election Systems & Software
ES&S is a subsidiary of McCarthy Group, LLC, which is jointly held by the holding firm and the Omaha World-Herald Company, the publisher of Nebraska's largest newspaper. As of 2007 it was the largest manufacturer of voting machines in the United States, claiming customers in 1,700 localities. As of 2007 it had approximately 350 employees; 2005 revenues were $117 million. In December 2011, the Election Assistance Commission issued a formal notice of investigation into the DS200 Precinct Count Optical Scanner because of three operational anomalies.
Election Systems & Software was founded in 1979 as American Information Systems Inc. (AIS), it merged with Business Records Corp. the following year and changed its name to ES&S. It was one of the top four providers of voting equipment used in the November 2004 election; the other three were Diebold Election Systems (now Premier Election Solutions), Sequoia Voting Systems and Hart InterCivic.
After the November 2006 elections, Indiana launched an inquiry into poor service by the company, settling when ESS agreed to pay $750,000. West Virginia filed a formal complaint against the company with federal officials. Arkansas put together a panel to investigate. The company denied any major trouble with its machines, attributing problems to errors made by poll workers.
Withdrawal of InkaVote
On 3 August 2007, California Secretary of state Debra Bowen withdrew approval of the ES&S InkaVote Plus optical scan voting system after a "top-to-bottom review" of the voting machines certified for use in California in March 2007.
Reported problems during the 2008 election
Early voters in the 2008 Presidential election reported instances of malfunctioning machines. People complained that they voted for one candidate, only to have their selection switch to another. The clerk of Oakland County, Michigan reported inconsistent results with some machines during testing in October.
2010 antitrust investigation
ES&S acquired Premier Election Solutions (formerly known as Diebold Election Systems) on September 3, 2009. Following the acquisition, the Department of Justice and 14 individual states launched investigations into the transaction on antitrust grounds. In March 2010, the Department of Justice filed a civil antitrust lawsuit against ES&S, requiring it to divest voting equipment systems assets it purchased in September 2009 from Premier Election Solutions in order to restore competition. The company later sold the assets to Dominion Voting Systems.
Reported problems during the 2010 election
On April 14, 2010, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that “About 10 percent of Cuyahoga County’s voting machines … [had] failed a pre-election test.” After 20 months of investigating the DS200 Precinct Count Optical Scanner in the EAC-certified Unity 220.127.116.11 voting system, on December 22, 2011 the Election Assistance Commission recommended decertification of the ES&S voting machine if it cannot be fixed. From the findings:
- “The DS200 accepts a voted ballot but does not record the ballot on its internal counter. In addition the marks of the second ballot are not recorded.”
- “When a 17” ballot was inserted at an angle, the DS200 did not consistently count the mark properly. The mark registered either as a different selection than intended or did not register at all.”
- The system randomly freezes and does not record the freeze in its log files. There are other events not logged, such as touch screen calibration.
On June 8, 2010, during the Democratic primary race for Senate in South Carolina, voters and campaign workers reported that the ES&S touchscreen machines "flipped" votes from Vic Rawl to Alvin Greene throughout the day.
Criticism and controversies
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See also↑Jump back a section
- Anita Kumar, "Top vote-machine maker also tops complaint list: Vendor discounts woes, blames poll workers", St. Petersburg Times, May 27, 2005
- "EAC Issues Formal Investigation Report on DS200 Precinct Count Optical Scanner". Election Assistance Commission. 2011-12-22. Retrieved 2012-01-03.
- Lundin, Leigh (2008-08-17). "Dangerous Ideas". Voting Fiasco, Part 279.236(a). Criminal Brief. Retrieved 2010-10-07.
- "Rescission and Withdrawal of Approval of the Election Systems and Software InkaVote Plus Precinct Ballot Counting System, Version 2.1, as Approved on April 21, 2006". California Secretary of State. 2007-08-03. Archived from the original on 2007-10-31. Retrieved 2007-08-15.
- "Early Voting Sees Reports of Voter Intimidation, Machine Malfunctions". Democracy Now!. 2008-10-22. Retrieved 2008-10-23.
- "Letter from Ruth Johnson to Election Assistance Commission". Wired.com. Retrieved 2008-11-04.
- "ES&S buys competitor". Omaha.com. Retrieved 2009-03-09.
- Ben Klayman (2009-12-19). "U.S. opens probe of Diebold unit sale -report". Thomson Reuters. Retrieved 2010-01-20.
- United States Department of Justice (March 8, 2010). "Justice Department Requires Key Divestiture in Election Systems & Software/Premier Election Solutions Merger". Retrieved 2012-11-09.
- "Dominion Voting Systems, Inc. Acquires Premier Election Solutions Assets From ES&S". Business Wire. May 20, 2010. Retrieved 2012-11-09.
- "10 percent of Cuyahoga County's voting machines fail pre-election tests". Cleveland Plain Dealer. 2010-04-14. Retrieved 2012-01-03.
- "Election System Alert: ES&S Machines". The Moderate Voice. 2012-01-03. Retrieved 2012-01-03.
- "How to Rig an Election". Harper's Magazine. November 2012. Retrieved November 6, 2012.
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