Rokita Announces Settlement of Election Machine Enforcement Hearing

Contact: AJ Freeney-Ruiz

Election Vendor to Contribute Funds to State Program to Update Election Laws and Assist and Train Counties in the Use and Maintenance of Election Equipment

Indianapolis, IN - Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita today announced the settlement of an enforcement proceeding concerning voting equipment vendor Election Systems & Software (ES&S). ES&S agreed to contribute $245,000 to help the State fund the Voting System Technical Oversight Program (VSTOP). That program will provide counties and the State with much needed technical support in the use of election equipment and the establishment of voting system standards. In addition to the VSTOP contribution, ES&S has agreed to provide, at no charge, each of the counties it services in Indiana with ballot layout assistance and voter and poll worker outreach through 2007.

"Hoosiers deserve voting systems that comply with the high standards mandated by Indiana law," said Rokita. "This settlement will give counties additional support and provide the Secretary of State's office with the resources it needs to better protect voters, election administrators, and vendors. Working together, we can help ensure that Indiana has some of the best run elections in the country." Rokita added that "ES&S has been very professional in its handling of the enforcement proceeding and I am confident that future elections will be better."

Under a recently enacted law, the Secretary of State's office is authorized to impose civil penalties for each finding that a voting machine vendor knowingly, negligently or recklessly sold, leased or allowed equipment to be used in violation of Indiana law. Over the last few months, as the state's Chief Election officer, Rokita personally conducted a public investigative hearing of the Nebraska-based firm to determine whether complaints reported in the popular press would be substantiated. The agreement settles the matter in full without any formal judgments on the merits of the proceeding. However, ES&S had denied that its equipment violated Indiana law.

"We commend the Secretary for his leadership and we are glad to have this matter behind us," stated John Groh, Senior Vice President of ES&S. "ES&S prides itself on providing first rate election systems and service to county clerks across the country. Compliance with the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) has been challenging for election officials and vendors. While aspects of our past performance have not met our own high standards and expectations, we believe that the stress of complying with HAVA has amplified inherent issues associated with implementation of new voting technology. We appreciate that the Secretary is only striving for the best possible elections."