Rokita to hold hearings on county voting machine issues

Contact: AJ Freeney-Ruiz

Indianapolis, IN - Today Secretary of State Todd Rokita announced his intention to bring an enforcement action against the Nebraska based voting system firm, Election Systems and Software. Secretary Rokita will personally conduct a public hearing to determine whether election law violations have occurred, and whether the company should be fined. County sequencing errors and paper ballot problems, noted by Rokita's office this week, have combined to quickly escalate already disturbingly poor service at the county level into what could be a significant violation of state election law. "I have ordered our legal staff to immediately set hearing dates and subpoena company officials," Rokita said.

As the state's Chief Election officer, Rokita will also conduct a separate enforcement hearing concerning the sales activities of another election systems vendor, MicroVote General, Corp., an Indiana company that, like ES&S, has contracted to supply voting machines to several Indiana counties. In monitoring various counties' purchase of MicroVote's equipment, the Secretary of State's office has learned that MicroVote may have sold, or attempted to sell, Indiana county voting machines whose Indiana certifications have lapsed.

"To protect the voices of Hoosier voters, I intend to hold hearings on these matters to determine whether Indiana law has been violated, and if so, to hold the appropriate parties accountable," Rokita said. "Hoosier taxpayers, voters and county officials deserve voting systems that comply with the high standards mandated by Indiana law."

Under Indiana law, every Indiana county contracts with a vendor of its choosing for voting system products and related services. However, before any voting system may be purchased by a county, the system must first be certified for use in the state by the Indiana Election Commission, a body independent of the Secretary of State's office. In cases where a voting system vendor's performance issues go beyond poor county service and begin to affect the ability of counties to accurately count ballots, the Secretary of State's office could issue civil penalties of up to $300,000 for each violation. 1

1 Indiana Code 3-11-17-3 Civil penalty assessed by secretary of state; maximum penalty
Sec. 3. If the secretary of state determines that a vendor is subject to a civil penalty under section 2 of this chapter, the secretary of state may assess a civil penalty. The civil penalty assessed under this section may not exceed three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000), plus any investigative costs incurred and documented by the secretary of state.
As added by P.L.221-2005, SEC.96.