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E-VOTE TRAIN WRECK 2006: Another Week, Another Wild – and Unfortunate – Ride…

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On May 2, the Charleston Daily Mail, reported that Kanawha County Commissioner Kent Carper had filed a formal complaint with the Secretary of State's office after ES&S failed to appear at public testing for the machines that morning.

"The vendor was not present; they promised us 'special attention' and said they would be at every critical phase of this testing," Carper said.

The Daily Mail also reports:

"Carper contends the election company is not compliant with its initial contract, which called for the machines to be ready by the final date of public testing as well as Jan. 1, 2006, as stated in the Help America Vote Act of 2002."

Meanwhile The HuntingtonNews.Net reports, under the headline, "COMMENTARY: No, ES&S is Not a Division of FEMA: It Just Seems Like It in Wake of Foul-ups", that the state is reporting that 25 to 30 of the state's 55 counties will be completely ready for next Tuesday's primary. This fact is only due to the long-hours put in by local elections officials.

What of the other 25 to 30 counties in the state? WTRF-TV reports that many counties are going to go with paper ballots and either hand-count them or use optical-scan machines for the vote tally in light of the problems.

Meanwhile Secretary of State Betty Ireland has said this about ES&S:

"I am absolutely appalled by ES&S ' delays and the hardships ES&S has placed upon this state and our county officials "
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ES&S has countered by making excuses and blamed the very law that has brought them millions, if not billions of dollars in contracts!

ES&S spokesperson Jill Friedman-Wilson said the company regrets the delays, but called much of the problems associated with readying the machines a struggle to comply with the new federal law.

"What we're experiencing is challenges related to the implementation of the Help America Vote Act," Friedman-Wilson said. "We're working as closely as we can with our county partners as quickly as we can."

Friedman-Wilson, who said the company is contracted to provide voting equipment in counties in all but three states, said the company also had to rely on the cooperation of the counties in programming the ballots.

"ES&S doesn't have responsibility for the substance of the ballots," Friedman-Wilson said. "There's quite a bit of back and forth. It's an intricate process with many steps."
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In other words, Friedman-Wilson is admitting that ES&S oversold their ability to provide their machines and their services. Who suffers for this greed? Only the voters, of course.

As reported by The BRAD BLOG and The Pine Bluff Commercial Jefferson County has decided that because of several ES&S "failures" the county will have to change their plans from using the ES&S iVotronic DREs to using their old voting system for early voting, the May 23 primary and run-off elections in June. The Commercial relates:

"With early voting beginning (Monday) May 8, ES&S hasn 't provided us with many essential and critical tools necessary for us to conduct the election to the standards set by law and to our own high standards, " [Commission Chairman Trey] Ashcraft said.

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John is the Executive Director of VotersUnite.Org

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