Secretary of State Mark Martin’s office has extended the deadline for companies to submit proposals to sell the state new voting machines and has also changed a part of the specifications. The state Board of Election Commissoners Wednesday approved some voting machines sold by Election Systems and Software and by Unisyn voting Solutions, with a deadline of Monday for other companies hoping to qualify to sell machines for 75 counties. It could be a $30 million deal. Vendors had complained that the specifications favored ES&S, which supplied the machines the state currently uses. This became more of an issue because Doug Matayo, a former Republican legislator who’d been Mark Martin’s chief of staff, runs a consulting firm recently hired by ES and S, though he’s said not to be working on this specific deal.
I learned from an inquiry to office spokesman Jason Cline that the deadline for the RFP had been extended from 4 p.m. Monday to 4 p.m. Tuesday, May 12. The notice of that change also included a change in the specifications pertaining to voting machines batteries. Originally, devices in which the battery had to be removed for charging didn’t qualify. Now that’s not a disqualification. I’m told by an election commissioner this specification worked in ES&S’ favor. Previously, the requirement said a battery had to recharge automatically after power was restored without having to be removed from the voting machine.