Despite a national uproar over election security, Louisiana voters will be casting their ballots next month in a statewide election on the same type of paperless voting machines the state has used since 2005. No changes are expected for the 2020 presidential election either. Allegations of improper bid handling derailed plans to replace to Louisiana’s voting machines, so the secretary of state’s office had to redo its vendor search process. The agency still is drafting the solicitation for bid proposals, so new voting machines aren’t coming soon. Still, Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin said voters should feel confident in the machines they will use to cast their ballots in the Oct. 12 and Nov. 16 elections for Louisiana governor, six other statewide positions and state legislative seats.Full Article: Analysis: New Louisiana election, same old voting machines - Washington Times.
Articles about voting issues in Louisiana.
Louisiana: Secretary of State on voting machines felon registration I voted stickers | Sara Macneil/Shreveport Times
Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin is up for re-election for a four-year term in October and recently visited Bossier City to tour the Cyber Innovation Center and talk to a Republican women’s group. At the state level, the Secretary of State oversees elections, keeps records and authenticates businesses. Ardoin, a Republican from Baton Rouge, took over as interim Secretary of State in May of last year. Ardoin beat Democrat Gwen Collins-Greenup in December in an election with a 17% voter turnout. The Times spoke with Ardoin for an update on current projects and what he’s accomplished since he’s been office. Ardoin talked about reducing the cost and number of elections and bringing in new technology to enhance voter turnout. Issues of controversy raised during Ardoin’s time in office include contract bids for voting machines, registration of felons and “I voted” stickers.Full Article: Kyle Ardoin on voting machines felon registration I voted stickers.
Louisiana never had sizable sums set aside to buy the thousands of new voting machines it needs. But the state has even less now, after the small amount socked away for the expense was shifted elsewhere in an election-year legislative scramble to boost spending on education, public safety and health care. Lawmakers previously had put $2 million in state financing into a voting technology fund, as a down payment on a machine replacement expected to cost tens of millions of dollars. Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin had hoped millions more would be added this year. Instead, lawmakers reshuffled the money to help pay for Ardoin’s office operations as they built the $30 billion state operating budget that starts July 1. That will leave lawmakers in the new term beginning in 2020 to find dollars to pay for machines. “I did warn them. I said, ‘The bill is coming. The bill is coming.’ It was a hugely missed opportunity,” said Ardoin, Louisiana’s chief elections officer. A contract for the new voting machines hasn’t been settled, and the secretary of state’s office hasn’t begun seeking vendors for the work, after a previous solicitation effort was derailed by allegations of improper bid handling.Full Article: Lawmakers drain Louisiana voting machine replacement fund | Myrtle Beach Sun News.
Louisiana: States Explore Opportunities at National Summit on Cybersecurity | Dan Lohrmann/Government Technology
The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices held their third National Summit on State Cybersecurity from May 14-15, 2019 at the Shreveport Convention Center. The unique event convened state homeland security advisors, chief information officers, chief information security officers, governors’ policy advisors, National Guard leaders, and others from all 55 states and territories to explore cybersecurity challenges and promising practices. Over the course of two days, participants engaged in a series of interactive sessions and breakouts to discuss countering the newest threats, disruption response planning, workforce development, and much more. … The sessions were packed with best practices, case studies, opportunities for improving cybersecurity in different areas and much more.Full Article: States Explore Opportunities at National Summit on Cybersecurity.
Louisiana’s secretary of state told lawmakers Tuesday that he hopes to restart efforts to replace thousands of voting machines this summer, after the last effort was derailed by allegations of improper bid handling. Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, who oversees state elections, said the voting machine replacement work won’t be complete for the fall election, so his office will spend $2 million renting temporary machines. Ardoin told the House Appropriations Committee his office will rent early-voting machines for the October and November elections, when all of Louisiana’s statewide and legislative positions are on the ballot. The office will use spare parts to make sure the decade-old Election Day voting machines are running properly. “Because the last (bid process) didn’t work out so well, we’re working very hard to maneuver to make sure that we are settled for the fall election,” Ardoin said. A multimillion-dollar contract award to replace Louisiana’s voting machines was scrapped in October after the state’s chief procurement officer said the secretary of state’s office didn’t follow legal requirements in choosing the winning vendor, Dominion Voting Systems.Full Article: Louisiana renting early-voting machines for fall election - SFGate.
Louisiana: Officials say Louisiana will be ready for felon voting rights change | The Times-Picayune
State officials said Louisiana will be ready for a law change that will allow thousands of people convicted of felonies to vote as of March 1, although little information has been available about how the registration process will work. Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, who oversees elections, and Corrections Secretary Jimmy LeBlanc are responsible for making sure those impacted have their voting rights restored. They hadn’t met face-to-face to talk about the issue until last Friday (Feb. 8), but each said they are mostly on the same page about how to implement the new law, which the Louisiana Legislature approved last year. “We are going to implement it and we are going to be ready,” Ardoin said in an interview Tuesday.Full Article: Louisiana will be ready for felon voting rights change, officials say | nola.com.
In Louisiana, criminal offenders released from prison often linger in the purgatory of parole for years, or even decades, stripped of key civil rights. Because the Bayou State only restores voting rights to felons who complete probation or parole, some who get caught up in the system die before regaining the franchise. Those are the people whom state Rep. Patricia Smith wanted to help last year. Smith introduced a bill to restore voting rights to felons who’ve been on parole without problems for five years after their release from prison, as well as those who are on probation for five years. After three rounds of revisions, the bill passed the House in a squeaker of a vote, sailed through the Senate, and was signed into law as Act 636 by Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) last May. But in December, stories started appearing in the local press suggesting that the law may apply to many more people than the 2,000-3,000 it was expected to affect. The actual number, according to advocacy groups and state prison officials, may be more like 36,000.Full Article: What The Heck Is Going On With Felon Voting Rights In Louisiana? – Talking Points Memo.
When Gov. John Bel Edwards and the Louisiana Legislature approved a new law last spring restoring voting rights to former felons still under supervision, it was expected to give around 2,200 people the right to vote starting next March. Now, advocates and elected officials are saying the number could be as many as 36,000. Officials were aware the new law would restore voting rights to people living in the community on parole with no problems for five years after they have been released from prison. It was also acknowledged that it would benefit people who are on probation for five years. Those groups combined are fairly small, only a couple thousand people, according to the Louisiana Department of Corrections. But legislators, advocates and prison officials are now saying the law might also apply to the vast majority of people on probation — including those under supervision for fewer than five years — who have had their voting rights suspended. Natalie LaBorde, deputy commissioner with the Department of Corrections, confirmed the revised estimates.Full Article: New Louisiana law could allow tens of thousands on probation to vote | nola.com.
The company whose multimillion-dollar contract award to replace Louisiana’s voting machines was scrapped said Wednesday it won’t sue over the cancellation. But the avoidance of litigation won’t immediately restart the state’s stalled work to update its decade-old voting system. Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration voided the contract deal with Dominion Voting Systems in October, with the state’s chief procurement officer saying the secretary of state’s office mishandled the bid process, not following legal requirements. Dominion disagreed. But company spokeswoman Kay Stimson said the Colorado-based vendor won’t dispute the matter in court.Full Article: Company won’t sue Louisiana over voided voting machine deal | Myrtle Beach Sun News.
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.Full Article: Louisiana won’t have new voting machines for 2019 governor’s race | nola.com.
The office of Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin may have start from scratch on its goal to obtain nearly 20,000 voting machines for the state. Last week, Jay Dardenne, the commissioner of the state Department of Administration, confirmed an Oct. 10 ruling by the chief procurement officer, Paula Tregere, dealing an all-but-fatal blow to the $95 million contract Ardoin had awarded in August. Ardoin announced Aug. 9 that his office had chosen Dominion Voting Systems, one of the largest manufactures of voting equipment, to supply the state with new machines in time for the 2020 presidential election. But Tregere canceled the contract after one of the losing bidders, Election Systems & Software — the largest U.S. manufacturer of voting equipment — objected to the contracting process, arguing the original request for proposals contained specifications that only Dominion’s equipment could meet. The Advocate reported last week that Dominion, whose appeal Dardenne rejected, is still deciding whether to sue the state over losing its contract. The company has until Dec. 12 to file a suit, otherwise the entire bidding process might have to start over, Ardoin’s press secretary, Tyler Brey, told StateScoop.Full Article: In search for new voting machines, Louisiana may need to start over.
With a major election year approaching, Louisiana’s work to replace voting machines it bought 13 years ago has remained stalled for months, amid bid-rigging allegations, a voided contract award, and claims of political meddling.
Decision upheld to scrap Louisiana voting machine contract
The Louisiana secretary of state’s office will have to redo its work to replace the state’s decade-old voting machines.
Interim Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, whose office oversees state elections, has no immediate timeline for restarting the replacement effort as he waits to see if the cancelled contract award will prompt litigation.
That means there’s no schedule for when Louisiana will buy or lease new voting machines, as the state enters a big election cycle, with the governorship, six other statewide elected positions and all 144 state legislative seats on the ballot in October 2019.
Louisiana’s chief procurement officer found flaws with the bid process and scrapped the selection of Dominion Voting Systems to replace the voting machines, saying the secretary of state’s office didn’t follow legal requirements. A Dominion appeal was denied Wednesday.
Ardoin said in a statement he wants to get new voting machines “as soon as possible to continue to keep Louisiana at the forefront of election integrity and security.”
But Ardoin spokesman Tyler Brey said the office won’t determine how to move forward until it learns if Dominion will sue. Under state law, Dominion has two weeks from its appeal rejection to decide if it will file a lawsuit seeking to hold onto the lucrative contract award.
“Until they decide to do that or not do that, the process is not officially done,” Brey said Thursday. “The office is not going to put forward the plans for next steps until this system has run its course.”Louisiana voting machine work stalls, with no date to resume | Elections | theadvocate.com.
The Louisiana secretary of state’s office will have to redo its work to replace the state’s decade-old voting machines, after Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration refused Wednesday to reinstate a voided multimillion-dollar contract award. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne reviewed the decision to scrap the deal with Dominion Voting Systems, and Dardenne said he found that cancelling the contract award was “in the best interest of the state.” “As important as it is for the state to procure high-quality, efficient and reliable voting machine technology, it is equally important that the public have confidence that the voting machines their tax dollars pay for are procured fairly, transparently and in accordance with law,” Dardenne wrote in a letter outlining his decision. If Dominion wants to continue to try to hang onto the lucrative contract award to replace 10,000 Election Day and early voting machines, it will have to go to court. Otherwise, the company will have to bid again in a new process that starts from scratch.Full Article: Decision upheld to scrap Louisiana voting machine contract | News & Observer.
Louisiana: State Supreme Court chief justice says new law on felons voting doesn’t go far enough | The Advocate
A Louisiana law that takes effect in March and will allow felons who have been out of prison for five years to register to vote — despite remaining on probation or parole — doesn’t go far enough to address state laws that “unconstitutionally disenfranchise” its citizens, Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Johnson says. Johnson’s written comments came in a dissent Monday as the state high court denied an appeal filed by a group of felons who challenged a 1976 Louisiana law that barred felons on probation or parole from voting. While that case was on appeal, Gov. John Bel Edwards signed into law on May 31 a measure allowing felons who’ve been out of prison for five years, but remain on probation or parole, to register to vote.Full Article: Louisiana Supreme Court chief justice says new law on felons voting doesn't go far enough | Courts | theadvocate.com.
Louisiana is voiding a multimillion-dollar contract award to replace thousands of voting machines after a key official in Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration found flaws in the vendor selection. Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin’s office will have to redo the bid process for the lucrative work if the decision by Louisiana’s chief procurement officer Paula Tregre stands. “I hereby determine that it is in the best interest of the state to rescind the award made to Dominion Voting Systems,” Tregre said in a 17-page decision released Wednesday night. The decision comes at an unfortunate time for Ardoin, a Republican in office since May who is running in a November special election to remain in the job. Running on his experience, Ardoin has defended the bid evaluators’ pick of Dominion and suggested criticism was “baloney” while opponents have panned his handling of the voting machine replacement.Full Article: Louisiana’s lucrative voting machine contract award canceled | Miami Herald.
When Louisiana shopped for new voting machines, the state told vendors it wanted to double the number of machines it uses for elections, a decision that helped drive up the cost of the contract proposals to a higher-than-expected price tag. The secretary of state’s office solicited bids to buy or lease nearly 20,000 voting machines — to replace the 10,000 early voting and Election Day machines it currently has. The agency described wanting to replace voting machines bought in 2005 with smaller devices, improved technology, bolstered security and a paper record of votes. But it didn’t publicize the effort also could double the inventory of machines.Full Article: Louisiana proposal to double voting machines drove up costs | Myrtle Beach Sun News.
The company chosen to replace Louisiana’s years-old voting machines on Wednesday dismissed suggestions the bid process was mismanaged, saying a losing bidder for the lucrative work offered no “factual or legal grounds sufficient” to disrupt the contract plans. Dominion Voting Systems filed its official response to a protest of the contract award that Election Systems and Software lodged with the state procurement office. Dominion said its competitor simply wants another chance at winning the contract, without offering substantive reasons for throwing out the contract award. “Dominion disputes all allegations of impropriety, undue haste, carelessness or lack of diligence by the state in reviewing the proposals, unfairness, or any other disadvantage claimed by ES&S in its protest,” Trippe Hawthorne, an attorney representing Dominion, wrote in the vendor’s response letter.Full Article: Louisiana's voting machine contract winner defends selection - Fairfield Citizen.
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.Full Article: Louisiana elections chief pushes back on voting machine contract protest | Elections | theadvocate.com.
Another losing bidder for Louisiana’s voting machine replacement work is calling for a new selection process and the cancellation of the current contract award. Hart InterCivic sent a letter to the Office of State Procurement supporting the protest filed by a second vendor spurned for the voting machine contract. Hart said the evaluation was “flawed and lacked the fundamental transparency that Louisiana voters deserve.” Contract negotiations with the winning bidder, Dominion Voting Systems, are stalled while the protest is under review. The secretary of state’s office described Dominion as the low bidder for the voting machine replacement, with the company estimating the work would cost between $89 million and $95 million. Bid evaluation and financial documents released by the Office of State Procurement also showed Dominion with the least-expensive proposals for either leasing or buying voting machines.Full Article: Second vendor wants Louisiana voting machine contract redo | Myrtle Beach Sun News.
Louisiana: State puts acquisition of new voting machines on hold after losing bidder protests | StateScoop
Louisiana’s negotiations to replace about 10,000 voting machines that are more than a decade old hit a snag this week when one of the firms that lost protested how the contract was awarded. The Associated Press reports that the state’s procurement office told Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin to hold off finalizing a deal for new ballot equipment after Election Systems & Software, the largest manufacturer of voting equipment in the United States, filed an objection after losing the bidding process. Ardoin had announced Aug. 9 that his office had selected Dominion Voting Systems to replace Louisiana’s current crop of voting machines, which were purchased in 2005. According to the AP, ES&S complained that as part of the bid process, Ardoin’s office published standards that only Dominion’s hardware could meet. Those standards were revoked, and the secretary of state’s office has said they weren’t used in the evaluation process. Dominion has until Sept. 7 to respond to ES&S’s protest, but until the dispute is resolved, Louisiana cannot move forward on replacing its outdated voting equipment, which could cost the state as much as $95 million.Full Article: Louisiana puts acquisition of new voting machines on hold after losing bidder protests.