Archives

National: Schumer Applauds Justice Department for Requiring ES&S to Sell Off Voting Machine Unit Purchased from Diebold

Senator, As Senate Rules Chairman, Had Led Fight To Urge Antitrust Investigation Into Merger

Study By Senate Panel Found That Merger Would Have Given ES&S Three Times Market Share Of Next Closest Competitor

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, chairman of the Senate committee that oversees election issues, today applauded the Department of Justice’s decision to require Election Systems & Software to sell off the voting systems unit it purchased from Diebold last November. The consent decree in this case lasts for ten years, ensuring that competition is protected in the voting system industry. Schumer raised serious questions about the merger of ES&S Inc. and Premier Election Systems when it was first revealed in September 2009, because it created one company that would control at least 70 percent of the U.S. market for voting systems. The merger had been completed without any advance notice or consultation with the Justice Department.

“This decision will restore competition to an industry that is critical to our democracy. If left unchallenged, this merger would have created a virtual monopoly that could have done serious harm to the idea of free and fair elections,” Schumer said. “This action will prevent one company from garnering three times the market of its next closest competitor. Localities need choices in their voting machines, just like voters need choices on the ballot.” Read More

National: Feds Move to Break Voting-Machine Monopoly | Wired

Citing anti-competitive concerns, the Justice Department sued Election Systems & Software in order to force the company to divest itself of the voting machine assets it obtained from Premier Election Solutions last year. The department’s antitrust division, along with nine state attorneys general, filed the civil antitrust lawsuit (.pdf) in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., charging that the acquisition threatened competition. The department proposed a settlement that, if accepted, would dissolve the merger and force ES&S to sell its Premier business to a buyer approved by the Justice Department. “The proposed settlement (.pdf) will restore competition, provide a greater range of choices and create incentives to provide secure, accurate and reliable voting-equipment systems now and in the future,” said Molly S. Boast, deputy assistant attorney general for the antitrust division in a statement. The nine states that joined the suit are Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Tennessee and Washington. Read More