Louisiana cancels $95 million contract for new voting machines
Published: October 12, 2018
Louisiana may have to start over on replacing its entire inventory of voting machines after the state's top procurement official on Wednesday rejected a contract to purchase or lease as many as 20,000 new devices.
On August 9, the office of Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin announced that it had selected Dominion Voting Systems to replace the state’s voting machines. However, it was later determined that the award would be rescinded, according to the state’s chief procurement officer, Paula Tregre. The $95 million contract was held up after one of the losing bidders, Elections Systems & Software (ES&S) objected to the process, as they claimed the request for proposals contained hardware standards geared toward Dominion’s equipment.
Regardless, canceling the Dominion contract entirely could greatly delay Louisiana’s work to replace its outmoded voting machines. Louisiana’s voting machines were last purchased in 2005, and there is concern over election security in the state, as it currently uses direct-recording electronic machines (DREs) that do not produce paper records of ballots. Being one of five states that use DREs has brought criticism from groups pushing for voting systems that use paper records and can be audited. This leaves the situation up in the air, but it appears that the state may ultimately have to redo the bid process.