National: Schumer Applauds Justice Department for Requiring ES&S to Sell Off Voting Machine Unit Purchased from Diebold

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, chairman of the Senate committee that oversees election issues, today applauded the Department of Justice’s decision to require Election Systems & Software to sell off the voting systems unit it purchased from Diebold last November. The consent decree in this case lasts for ten years, ensuring that competition is protected in the voting system industry. Schumer raised serious questions about the merger of ES&S Inc. and Premier Election Systems when it was first revealed in September 2009, because it created one company that would control at least 70 percent of the U.S. market for voting systems. The merger had been completed without any advance notice or consultation with the Justice Department.

“This decision will restore competition to an industry that is critical to our democracy. If left unchallenged, this merger would have created a virtual monopoly that could have done serious harm to the idea of free and fair elections,” Schumer said. “This action will prevent one company from garnering three times the market of its next closest competitor. Localities need choices in their voting machines, just like voters need choices on the ballot.”