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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Connecticut says no to new voting machines

Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz does the right thing and scraps the purchase of the new electronic voting machines. The entire process of aquiring the machines has been screwed up since day one and I'm happy that voters will be using the old machines in the 2006 election (we last thing we need is a problem with the new machines in November and a political party to cry foul).

Anyway, am I the only one who was fine with the old machines?

From the AP
Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz pulled the plug Wednesday, at least temporarily, on plans to buy high-tech voting machines for the 2006 elections.

She said the finalist in the bid process, Simsbury-based Danaher Controls, misled the state and had not yet sought proper certification to meet state and federal requirements. Bysiewicz's office made the discovery during final negotiations with the company.

Other voting machine companies, she said, also failed to meet the state's needs. Eight firms responded to the state's request for proposals.

"Unfortunately we were unable to find qualified vendors," she said, adding that no company could provide a certified electronic machine that displays a voter's entire ballot and provides a paper receipt that he or she can verify.

A call was left seeking comment with Danaher Controls.

That means Connecticut voters will use the old, mechanical lever machines for statewide elections in November. In the meantime, the state plans to contact all voting machine companies across the country and ask them to apply or reapply to provide new machines.

Bysiewicz said Connecticut will work with federal authorities and the state of New York, which has some of the same requirements, to seek the right devices.

The president of the state's registrar of voters association and two professors who questioned the state's bidding process said they were pleased that Bysiewicz decided to stop everything.

"I haven't met one single registrar that I've talked to in the last six months who's been happy about this process. It's been flawed since Day One," said Richard J. Abbate, who had asked Bysiewicz to open the process to other bidders.

TrueVoteConnecticut, founded by two professors from Yale University and Trinity College, has also been calling on Bysiewicz for months to start the process over again.

"I commend the secretary for doing the right thing and throwing the process open rather than acquiring an inferior machine for the state, which all the indications up until now were that that was going happen," said Michael Fischer, a computer science professor at Yale.