Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin defended the selection of a vendor to replace Louisiana’s years-old voting machines, saying Friday that the evaluation process was done “with a view to ensuring fairness to all participants.” Ardoin filed his formal response to a protest of the lucrative contract award that a losing bidder lodged with the state’s procurement office. The Republican secretary of state said his office “at all times acted in the best interests of the state to secure the best, most cost-effective voting technology for the citizens.” Dominion Voting Systems was the winning vendor. But contract negotiations with Dominion to replace 10,000 early voting and Election Day machines are stalled while the protest filed by Election Systems and Software is under review.
Raising a long list of complaints, Election Systems and Software said the process used to choose Dominion was bungled by Ardoin, his office and the team that evaluated the bids. The vendor wants a redo of the selection work.
Ardoin took over as secretary of state in May when his former boss resigned and is running for election to the position. The bid process started before Ardoin was in charge and continued after he moved into the top job.