Louisiana’s pick to replace thousands of decade-old voting machines is the company that was the subject of bid-rigging complaints involving the secretary of state’s office. The state’s procurement office sent letters Thursday announcing Colorado-based Dominion Voting Systems is the winning bidder based on “price and other evaluation factors.” Negotiations are set to begin for a contract now estimated to be worth up to $95 million. Louisiana slowed work to replace the machines and overhauled the team evaluating vendor proposals, after competitor Election Systems and Software raised allegations the secretary of state’s office manipulated the selection process to award the deal to Dominion.
After the complaint was filed, evaluation standards were revised. The procurement office overseeing the contractor selection scrapped the original evaluation committee and removed Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin from it, according to documents reviewed by The Associated Press.
Competition among companies to replace and service voting machines is fierce. The contracts are lucrative, only a handful of vendors do the work and states hang onto their machines for decades.
Louisiana last purchased voting equipment in 2005. The secretary of state’s office wants to replace existing bulky machines with smaller, touch-screen-style equipment, improved technology and a paper trail. Nearly 10,000 machines are slated to be replaced by 2020.