Thursday, March 23, 2006

Oregon - ES&S Voting Machines delayed (ES&S wants to avoid liability!)

I am sure that ES&S wants to avoid liability if their machines fail to deliver the integrity of the election. (Gee, I wonder why???) I hope Oregon does not waive ES&S's liability for failures.

Access - Supply issues may prevent Oregon from offering machines to disabled people in May, as required by law

By Matthew Preusch, Monday, March 20, 2006

People with disabilities in Oregon probably won't get to use specially designed voting machines in the May primary as planned, putting the state in violation of sweeping federal reform law.

A contract dispute with the supplier has delayed delivery of the voting machines, required under the 2002 Help America Vote Act.

"We spent a year trying to put this together," said Gene Newton, a state election official coordinating changes spurred by the new law. "To hit this snag at the end was really unexpected."

At least 21 other states also missed the Jan. 1 deadline to offer the machines, according to, a nonpartisan election database. The law requires states to have a machine in every polling place by this year to allow disabled people to vote independently and privately.

The state thought it had a deal to spend nearly $1 million on 100 terminals, but supplier Election Systems and Software of Omaha, Neb., asked to change liability, license and other provisions in its contract at the last minute, said Anne Martens, a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Bill Bradbury's office.

The state has refused to make changes because it would then have to start the bidding process over, Martens said. Last month, Bradbury's office sent a letter to the company saying the state considered it in breach of contract.

State and company officials plan to meet later this month to continue negotiations, said Amanda Brown, a spokeswoman for Election Systems and Software. The company could still supply machines in the future, and "we are hopeful we can do so soon," she said.

But in a recent letter to the U.S. Department of Justice, state Elections Division Director John Lindback said the state doesn't believe it can reach an agreement with Election Systems and Software and that it intends to sue the company to recoup extra costs incurred trying to comply with the voting act.

Matthew Preusch: 541-382-2006;

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