ES&S is back like a bad penny in Sarasota County. The ES&S purchase of Diebold is causing Sarasota officials major heartburn. The county ditched ES&S as a vendor in the wake of the disastrous 18,000 undervotes in the 13th Congressional District race in 2006. That same year, a referendum to ditch the paperless voting machines was passed. ES&S was thrown out even though they were the lowest bid for new paper ballot systems.
It looks like Sarasota is stuck with ES&S, but are they stuck with Kathy Dent?
3 years after vote furor, machine vendor is back
MERGER: ES&S, once again the provider in Sarasota, now dominates the field
By Doug Sword September 24, 2009 at 1:00 a.m.
Two years after being shown the door for its role in an election that local officials would just as soon forget, voting machine maker ES&S is once again overseeing the system Sarasota County residents will use to cast their votes. ...Opposition locally, though, is less legal and more emotional, stemming from the role of the ES&S iVotronic voting system in the disputed November 2006 election.
Feelings toward the company among locals has not changed much since July 2007 when county commissioners, still smarting from the controversy over the 18,000 undervotes in the 13th Congressional District race in 2006, replaced ES&S with Diebold, which later changed its name to Premier.
Sarasota should have ditched the Elections Supervisor, Kathy Dent, instead of or along with the vendor. All voting systems have bugs, and Dent was warned in plenty of time, and what did she do to protect voters? If that had happened in our state, it is quite possible Dent would have been relieved of her job.The vendor had warned Election Supervisor Kathy Dent ahead of time of issues that might cause problems voting.
ES&S sent a "software bug" memo to Florida SOEs in August of 2006 that there was a problem with a "smoothing filter" that would possibly delay the recording of the voter's selections. This delay would be longer than expected, and the voter might move on before the vote was recorded.
ES&S recommended putting signs in the voting booths to warn voters, and also recommended a "software patch" prior to the November election.
I do not know if all or any Florida machines ever received that patch, or if the patch was distributed, if it was put on every single voting machine. Further, if the patch was applied, was it tested? Did it work uniformly on all machines, including those that were ADA enabled?
See the memo that ES&S sent Kathy Dent, here: http://www.ncvoter.net/downloads/ESS_Aug_2006_iVotronic_FL_memo.pdf
If ballot style was the sole cause of FL 13 undervote, then we in North Carolina should have had far worse problems in our iVotronic counties.
Here is Sarasota FL 13's ballot http://www.ncvoter.net/downloads/sarasota_ballot_style.pdf
Now take a look at what appears to be a more confusing ballot style
for Mecklenburg County NC, the NC 08 ballot:
(notice the nearly hidden placement of the US congressional race?)
Meckelnburg had a 4 % undervote rate for that contest.
Here is a memo from the NC State Board of Elections explaining the differences in NC iVotronics and the FL iVotronics, as well as a ballot comparison: