The up to $95 million price tag estimated by the company chosen for Louisiana’s lucrative voting machine replacement contract may have caused a bit of sticker shock, but the projection remains tens of millions of dollars cheaper than plans pitched by the two losing bidders. Financial proposals by vendors who weren’t chosen ranged from $115 million to nearly $160 million for the work, according to bid evaluation documents obtained by The Associated Press. Still, the cost projections submitted by the low-bidder that won the award, Dominion Voting Systems, remains at least $50 million or more higher than the money set aside for the work. Final terms — and a final price tag — for the contract remain to be negotiated.
“My goal would be to try to get the price down,” Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, the state’s top elections official, said Monday.
Louisiana last purchased voting equipment in 2005. The secretary of state’s office wants to replace outdated voting machines with smaller devices, improved technology and a paper record of votes, which has been talked about nationally as offering extra security.
Three companies competed for the voting machine work: Dominion, Hart InterCivic and Election Systems and Software. Each offered multiple options, including proposals for the state to buy or lease the machines that will replace about 10,000 early voting and Election Day machines.