Hart Intercivic

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National: Election Equipment Vendors Play a Key, and Underexamined, Role in U.S. Democracy | Take Care

Every vote in the United States — for city council, state representative, or president — is cast using materials and equipment manufactured by third party vendors. There are vendors large and small, but the American election equipment industry is dominated by three vendors: ES&S, Hart, and Dominion. These vendors manufacture the machines that approximately 92% of eligible voters use on election day — and they wield extraordinary power with significant implications for our democracy. Because of this, it’s critical that elected officials and advocates pay attention to the role vendors play in the security and transparency of American election systems. Perhaps most concerning are vendor efforts to keep secret the technology upon which American elections rely while at the same time feteing state and local election officials with expensive trips and meals. Vendors have actively and increasingly pushed back on efforts to study and analyze the equipment that forms the basic foundation of our democratic processes. Read More

Pennsylvania: Paper’s back as government officials, advocates check out new voting machines | The Morning Call

For three hours Tuesday morning, sales representatives with Election Systems and Software made their pitch in the Lehigh County Government Center, fielding questions about security, services and usability of their latest generation of voting machines. The Omaha, Neb., company is an industry leader in the tools of democracy, making about 55 percent of the machines used in U.S. elections, according to Willie Wesley, an ES&S representative. As part of a demonstration, he fed a stack of ballots into the DS850, a machine that can scan and tabulate 350 paper ballots a minute. The paper whizzed through the chute before being sorted into separate stacks. Read More

Louisiana: Second vendor wants Louisiana voting machine contract redo | Associated Press

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. Read More

Delaware: Voting machine bid data is released to public | Delaware First Media

Common Cause Delaware has posted a link to bid data the First State received to replace its current voting machines. Six vendors, Electec Election Services, Dominion Knowlink, Election Systems & Software, Everyone Counts, Hart InterCivic and Tenex Software Solutions submitted bids. Jennifer Hill of Common Cause says some of these companies have had problems in other states. She said a city in Kansas using an ES&S system faced issues during a primary last week. “There were election night reporting delays that they could not explain,” she said. “So, you know those are the things that we hope will be looked at before our you know our state invests $8 or $10 or $13 million in a voting system.” Read More

Michigan: Blind voters may struggle with new voting machines | Associated Press

New voting machines in Michigan may cause problems for residents with a visual disability. Tuesday’s primary election will feature $40 million of new equipment that replaced aging voting machines, The Detroit Free Press reported. For more than a decade, blind voters in the state have used AutoMark Voter Assist Terminals, which have a touch screen and a keypad with Braille. A 2015 survey estimates that about 221,000 Michigan residents have a visual disability. Most Michigan counties will now use Dominion Voting Systems, which don’t have keypads with Braille and feature verbal instructions that can be difficult for a blind person to follow. Some counties selected new equipment from Election Systems & Software or Hart InterCivic. About 100 blind people helped test out the three systems in 2016, said Fred Wurtzel, who is blind and is second vice president of the National Federation of the Blind in Michigan. He said most testers preferred the Election Systems equipment, while many said the Hart InterCivic were the most difficult to use. Read More

National: Voting machine vendors under pressure | Politico

The top Democrat on the Senate Rules Committee wants more answers from voting machine vendors after two of the three largest companies skipped Wednesday’s election security hearing. Hart InterCivic sent a representative, but Election Systems & Software and Dominion did not. “I think we should try again, and I personally plan on sending them a number of written questions, since they wouldn’t come to the hearing,” Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar told Eric. “They have a responsibility, when there’s only three of them, to answer our questions.” Klobuchar is the lead Democratic sponsor of the bipartisan Secure Elections Act (S. 2593), Congress’ most significant attempt yet to protect U.S. election infrastructure from hackers. Klobuchar may get her wish to bring in Dominion and ES&S — a spokeswoman for Rules Chairman Roy Blunt told MC that the panel was planning additional hearings. Read More

National: Nation’s top voting equipment vendors grilled by Senate on election security | Washington Times

The Senate’s leading election security advocates blasted the country’s top voting equipment vendors on Wednesday for potentially failing to shore up ballot boxes despite November’s midterm elections already being underway with primaries. Mark Warner, also the top Democrat in the Senate’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, scolded Texas-based Hart InterCivic for failing to cooperate with a security review in his home state of Virginia after that contest. “I am very concerned that there is a lot of chest thumping about how well we did in 2016,” Mr. Warner said during a Senate Rules and Administration Committee’s hearing on election safety — the second on the subject in less than a month. Peter Lichtenheld, vice president of operations for Hart InterCivic, had earlier told lawmakers of the firm’s “strong working relationships” with federal, state and local election officials. Read More

Michigan: New election equipment and systems more secure in 2018 | Daily Tribune

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said new election equipment and millions of dollars worth of federal election security grants will help to further protect the state’s elections systems this fall. With the statewide primary election being held in August, residents should be aware that for the first time in 12 years, every voter will be using new election equipment designed with added security measures including optical-scan ballot tabulators, accessible features for voters with disabilities as well as upgraded election-management and reporting software. In Oakland County, voters will be using election equipment supplied by Hart Intercivic, a Texas-based company that signed a 10-year contract with the county and 10 other counties around the state in 2017. Read More

Georgia: Barcodes Stir Anxiety As Georgia Eyes New Voting System | WABE

As Republican and Democratic state legislators hustle to pass a law moving Georgia toward paper ballot voting technology, election integrity advocates said they’re concerned a bill that already cleared the state Senate could lead to a new vulnerability in Georgia’s next voting system, if it becomes law. One way a new system might work is through a touchscreen computer similar to those currently used in Georgia. It would print a paper ballot with a visual representation of a voter’s choices so they themselves can check for accuracy. In some systems, counting the votes means scanning an entire image of the ballot that may include a timestamp and precinct information. In other systems, barcodes or QR codes on a ballot would correspond with the voter’s choices, which can make counting easier and faster for election officials, said Peter Lichtenheld, vice president of operations with Hart Intercivic, one of several election technology companies that hired lobbyists at the statehouse this year. Read More

Kentucky: Greene County Election Commission Weighs Paper Ballots | Greeneville Sun

Paper ballots could be in the future for Greene County residents, should the county not have the money to afford new, electronic equipment. It was a matter members of the Greene County Election Commission had to consider when listening to a sales pitch made by HARP Enterprises/HART Intercivic election equipment during their regular monthly meeting Tuesday. HART manufactures election equipment while HARP is the service provider once a sale is completed. The election commission is exploring the possibility of replacing the county’s voting machines. New voting equipment was last purchased in 2006. Commissioners heard from the company MicroVote last month. Read More