Republican Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin said new voting machines will not be in place for the 2019 fall election cycle when the governor, attorney general, four other statewide elected positions and all 144 members of the Louisiana Legislature will be picked. The machines were supposed to be up and running before next year’s big campaign season, until the purchasing process stalled over concerns that the secretary of state’s office didn’t handle bidding properly. Ardoin has said his office made a mistake during the procurement process, but also blames Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration for the months-long delay and problems. The holdup means there isn’t enough time to purchase the machines and train local election officials to use them before the October 2019 elections, according to the secretary of state’s office.
The secretary of state’s office has faith in the older machines, even if it would have preferred to use new machines next fall. “We haven’t had problems with the machines,” Ardoin spokesman Tyler Brey said. “We have no issues with vulnerability. They work just fine.”
The new machines would have had certain advantages. They are smaller and provide a paper trail of each vote cast, which some think makes it easier to audit elections. But the Louisiana government’s procurement office over the summer found flaws in the bidding process for new machines conducted by Ardoin’s agency, and voided a $95 million contract awarded to Dominion Voting Systems in August for 10,000 new devices.