Friday, March 24, 2006

IL: No More $ To Sequoia Till Equipment Problem Solved

By Warren Stewart, VoteTrustUSA
March 24, 2006

Election Offical Says The Last Few Days Have Been “Extremely Embarrassing”
Sequoia, As Usual, Blames The Election Workers

Responding to widespread failures in Tuesday’s primary elections Cook County and Chicago election officials have announced they will withhold payments to Sequoia Voting Systems until the vendor has fixed the system, which “did not perform adequately.” The county has already paid Sequoia $7.8 million of their $23.8 million contract with Sequoia.

"Nothing worked," Deborah Stein, board member of the Chicago Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois told the Tribune. "They must have worked for 15 to 20 minutes to get it together. They acknowledged that they had not run a test on it before today. So they're pulling it out of the box."

Scott Burnham, a spokesman for Cook County Clerk David Orr, said "We will not make additional payments until we are satisfied with the system."

The Chicago Tribune also reported:

"There will be contract ramifications from their performance," said Langdon Neal, chairman of the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, noting that about $15 million of the city's portion of the Sequoia contract remains unpaid. As the counting continues, the lack of final totals has left several area communities uncertain about referendum outcomes for libraries and other projects. With 96 percent in, a tight race also remains for the Republican nomination in the 15th District for the Cook County Board between Carl Hansen and Timothy Schneider.

After seeing scanners jam on 21-inch ballots, Neal promised "extensive testing" before those machines are redeployed. He said efforts would be made to simplify the machine that is supposed to combine results from the two voting systems and transmit them downtown.

Neal, who called the last few days "extremely embarrassing," said the most severe problems were primarily limited to about 15 percent of precincts. He said at least some memory cards containing vote totals were defective or damaged, perhaps because they were inserted into a compiling machine while it was on, even though that is something Sequoia warned against doing. Paper trails are available for both voting systems, if the data storage devices are compromised.

See the rest of the Chicago Tribune article here.

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