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The End of the Line for AVS in Pennsylvania? PDF  | Print |  Email
Advanced Voting Solutions (AVS)
By Warren Stewart, Verified Voting Foundation   
November 28, 2007
The Election Assistance Commission (EAC) today announced that it was terminating the application of voting system manufacturer Advanced Voting Solutions (AVS) for certification its WinWare 2.0.4 election management system. As a result it appears unlikely that AVS can meet the requirements of the Pennsylvania Secretary of the Commonwealth for state certification, which has left three counties in the state without equipment for the 2008 elections. State election officials have made it clear that the AVS system would not be allowed for use in elections in the state without successfully completing federal certification testing and it appears unlikely that AVS will initiate a new testing process at this point.

AVS was formerly Shoup Voting Solutions (SVS), resurrected from the Shoup family business that had left the voting machine manufacturing business in 1992, after a century of family involvement in the voting machine industry. In 2001, SVS was already marketing the direct recording electronic (DRE) voting machine that eventually became the AVS WinVote. The software was developed by a Canadian company EnfoCom International. WIN stands for “Wireless Information Network”, emphasizing the system’s use of wireless technology to facilitate the transmission of ballot definitions as well as vote totals. In 2002, SVS became Advanced Voting Systems.
Electronic Data Systems Purchases Majority Interest in Saber PDF  | Print |  Email
By Warren Stewart, Verified Voting Foundation   
November 14, 2007
Electronic Data Systems, has announced the purchase of a majority interest in Saber Consulting. According to an EDS press release, EDS has agreed to purchase an approximate 93 percent equity interest in Saber Holdings, Inc., a leading provider of software and services to U.S. state governments, from various sellers, including majority shareholder Accel-KKR, for approximately $420 million in cash. Saber’s Chief Executive Officer Nitin Khanna and President and Chief Operating Officer Karan Khanna will retain an approximate 7 percent interest in Saber and continue to lead the company following the closing.

Based in Portland, OR, Saber was founded in 1997 and provides software and services for state and local government entities is 35 states, and has more than doubled its revenue each year since 2004. Saber’s Voter Registration & Election Management software, Electus, was designed specifically for compliance with the Help America Vote Act Section 303 requirements for statewide registration databases. According to Saber has developed voter registration databases for Colorado, Iowa, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Oregon, Wyoming and has a contract pending in New York.

EDS was established in 1962 by former presidential candidate Ross Perot. Headquartered in Plano, Texas, General Motors acquired the company in 1984 and it then became an independent company again in 1996. In 2006, it employed 117,000 people located in 58 countries and reported revenues of US$19.8 billion. EDS is ranked as one of the largest services companies on the Fortune 500 list.
Smartmatic Announces Sale of Sequoia Voting Systems PDF  | Print |  Email
Sequoia Voting Systems
By Rep. Carolyn Maloney Press Release   
November 08, 2007

Rep. Maloney Shined Congressional Spotlight on Questionable Deal, Helped Enact Tough Reforms to Strengthen Oversight of Foreign Investment

Smartmatic, the voting machine firm with ties to the Venezuelan government, today announced that it is divesting ownership of the voting machine company Sequoia Voting Systems. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) shined the congressional spotlight on the Sequoia purchase last year by Smartmatic because it posed serious national security concerns about the integrity of our elections. Last year, Smartmatic decided to sell Sequoia rather than complete an investigation by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the government entity charged with ensuring the safety of foreign investment in the U.S. (To read the official Sequoia sale announcement click here.)

“I am relieved by the news of this sale – it was a long time coming,” said Maloney. “The integrity of our voting machines and elections is vital to national security. Given all of the past uncertainty and anxiety surrounding electronic voting, it’s nice that voters will have this added reassurance."

Sequoia Voting systems announces New Corporate Ownership PDF  | Print |  Email
Sequoia Voting Systems
By Sequoia Press Release   
November 08, 2007

Sale Creates 100% American-Owned and Independent Company

Leading voting technology provider Sequoia Voting Systems is pleased to announce the sale of the company to a group of private U.S. investors led by Sequoia's current executive management team.

"Sequoia is an innovative company with a century-long history; hard-working and talented employees; proven products; a solid balance sheet; essentially no debt, a corporate structure that provides flexibility; an extensive customer base and a very bright future,"
said Jack Blaine, Sequoia President & CEO. "I am very excited and hopeful about the tremendous possibilities and numerous opportunities that lay ahead for Sequoia given the company's new structure and the completion of this sale process."

The investment group, led by Sequoia President & CEO Jack Blaine and company Chief Financial Officer Peter McManemy, purchased Sequoia from former parent company Smartmatic Corporation for an undisclosed sum. As with most transactions involving two private entities, the specific terms of the sale are not being disclosed. However, this transaction does include investment by the management team, a small loan and an
earn-out. This scenario provides an excellent financial structure for Sequoia to leverage and completely eliminates Smartmatic's ownership, control and operational rights of any kind in Sequoia.

California: San Francisco City Attorney Charges ES&S With Breach Of Contract PDF  | Print |  Email
Election Systems and Software (ES&S)
By San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera Press Release   
November 07, 2007
Blaming Embattled Voting Systems Vendor for 'Undue Hardship and Unnecessary Costs' in Election, Notice of Default Could Result in Litigation Within Two Weeks

Joined by Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin and Department of Elections Director John Arntz at a City Hall press conference today, City Attorney Dennis Herrera (pictured at right) issued a notice of default to the City's voting systems vendor, charging Omaha, Neb.-based Election Systems & Software, Inc. with material breach of contract, and initiating a process that could result in civil
litigation within two weeks. Herrera's six-page notice to ES&S President and CEO Aldo Tesi details numerous misrepresentations and breaches of contract by the vendor that have caused San Francisco "undue hardship and unnecessary costs in administering the November 6,
2007 election."

"We are putting ES&S on notice that we expect the company to meet its obligations and to pay all costs associated with its past failures to do so-or I am prepared to aggressively litigate the City's rights under its contract," Herrera. "The notice of default we are sending today details a history of misrepresentations and breaches that have imposed unprecedented difficulties on this City in conducting its election."

EAC Notice of Sequoia Non-compliance PDF  | Print |  Email
Sequoia Voting Systems
By Election Assistance Commission   
September 11, 2007

The following letter was sent to Sequoia Voting Systems by the Election Assistance Commission on September 11, 2007.


Dear Mr. Smith:

It has come to the EAC’s attention that Sequoia Voting Systems has contracted with more that one Voting System Test Laboratory (VSTL) for the testing of its Sequoia Voting System-WinEDS version 4.0.34. This practice is inconsistent with the disclosure made on your Application for Voting System Testing and violates the requirements and procedures of the EAC Testing and Certification Program.

As you know, EAC’s Certification Program requires manufacturers to identify the EAC
VSTL it has selected to perform testing. The selection of a VSTL is performed at the start of the certification process and must be noticed to the EAC on the Application for Voting System Testing (Form EAC 002C). Specifically, the Manufacturer’s application must provide for the “[s]election and identification of the VSTL that will perform voting system testing and other prescribed laboratory action consistent with the requirements of this Manual.” (Certification Program Manual, Section, Selection of Accredited Laboratory). Additionally, the Manual states that “[o]nce selected, a Manufacturer may NOT replace the selected VSTL without the express written consent of the Program Director. Such permission will be granted solely at the discretion of the Program Director and only upon demonstration of good cause.” (Certification Program Manual, Section, Selection of Accredited Laboratory (emphasis in original)).

ES&S Discloses Full List of Manufacturers PDF  | Print |  Email
Election Systems and Software (ES&S)
By Kim Zetter   
August 27, 2007

This article was posted at the Wired Threat Level Blog and is reposted here with permission of the author.


Election Systems & Software, rebuked by a federal agency earlier this month for not disclosing that its voting machines are assembled in a factory in the Philippines, has responded to the Election Assistance Commission with a full list of its manufacturing facilities -- including subcontractors. In addition to the Manila factory, Teletech (pictured at right), the list now includes more than a dozen manufacturers, including one each in Taiwan and China.


The federal Election Assistance Commission (EAC), which oversees the federal testing and qualification of voting systems in the U.S., rebuked ES&S after an episode of Dan Rather Reports revealed that ES&S touchscreen machines were being assembled in a Manila sweatshop factory. The report also revealed that 30% to 40% of touchscreens sent to the factory for assembly in ES&S machines had cosmetic and electronic problems and that a Florida county returned more than 1,000 ES&S touchscreens in 2003 for calibration problems. The latter caused the machines to think users were touching one part of a screen when they were actually touching a different part -- a problem that can cause a machine to mis-register a voter's selections.


In light of Dan Rather's findings, the EAC sent a letter to ES&S informing the company that it had violated procedures by failing to disclose the existence of the Manila factory when it applied to have its sytem tested and qualified by the federal agency.

ES&S to be Rebuked, Fined and Possibly Banned in California? PDF  | Print |  Email
Election Systems and Software (ES&S)
By Kim Zetter   
August 21, 2007

This article appeared on the Wired: Threat Level Blog and is reposted here with permission of the author.


California announced today that it plans to hold an administrative hearing on September 20th to discuss the fate of Election Systems & Software for violating state election codes. ES&S, the top voting machine company in the country, is being accused of selling at least five California counties with a version of its AutoMark ballot marking system that hadn't yet been tested or certified for use in the state or the country.


ES&S apparently sold at least 1,000 uncertified machines to San Francisco, Marin, Colusa, Solano and Merced counties.


Per CA law, ES&S could be fined $10,000 per uncertified voting system unit (or $9.72 million) and be required to give a complete refund to counties of all money spent on the machines -- the latter would amount to about $5 million.


Additionally, ES&S could be barred from doing any business in the state for between 1 and 3 years, which would impact more than just the five counties mentioned -- potentially affecting more than 14 counties that use ES&S machines, including Los Angeles County.


The issue raises questions about how many other uncertified AutoMarks the company may have sold to other states.


ES&S did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.

Did ES&S Sell Uncertified Voting Equipment To California Counties? PDF  | Print |  Email
Election Systems and Software (ES&S)
By California Secretary of State   
August 21, 2007

Secretary of State Bowen Sets Hearing to Investigate Company

Secretary of State Debra Bowen today announced she has set a public hearing for September 20, 2007, to examine whether Election Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S) sold uncertified voting machines to as many as five California counties.

"ES&S sold nearly 1,000 voting machines in California without telling the counties that bought them that they had never been certified for use in this state," said Secretary Bowen, the state?s chief elections officer.  "Given that each machine costs about $5,000, it appears ES&S has taken $5 million out of the pockets of several California counties that were simply trying to follow the law and equip their polling places
with certified voting machines."


The ES&S AutoMARK Version 1.0, also known as Phase One or Model A100, is an electronic ballot-marking device that the Secretary of State certified for use in California in August 2005. According to information provided by the counties to the Secretary of State, 14 counties (Amador, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, Marin, Merced, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Siskiyou, Solano, Stanislaus and Tuolumne) use the AutoMARK to comply with the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) requirement to provide at least one machine in each polling place so voters with disabilities can cast ballots independently.

However, according to information obtained by Secretary Bowen, ES&S sold AutoMARK Version 1.1, also known as Phase Two or Model A200, to five of those counties (San Francisco, Colusa, Marin, Merced and Solano) in 2006.  ES&S had never submitted Phase Two, a version that is substantially different from the state-certified AutoMARK Phase One, to the California Secretary of State for certification.  Furthermore, ES&S
delivered hundreds of AutoMARK Phase Two machines to California counties months before the model?s August 2006 federal certification.

Manatron Agrees to Buy Records Management Solutions Business from Hart InterCivic, Inc. PDF  | Print |  Email
Hart Intercivic
By Manatron Press Release   
August 21, 2007
- This acquisition, when completed, is expected to:
- Add more than 50 clients in 13 states
- Expand Manatron's reach to 40 states, adding Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Texas
- Increase Manatron's recurring software maintenance and hosting revenues by approximately $4.0 million on an annualized basis
- Improve Manatron's backlog for licenses and services by $4.8 million
- Round out Manatron's GRM(R) product suite with a .NET-based records management system and robust feature-set

Manatron, Inc., the nation's leading provider of integrated property tax solutions for state and local governments, announced that it has entered into an asset purchase agreement with Hart InterCivic, Inc., an Austin, Texas-based provider of Election solutions, Records Management solutions, Geo-content solutions and Print solutions for state and local governments. Manatron has agreed to acquire substantially all of the assets of Hart's Records Management Solutions Business and assume certain contractual liabilities for approximately $4.8 million in cash. The closing is expected to occur on August 31, 2007.

The Records Management Business includes more than 50 municipalities in 13 states, including King County, Washington (Seattle); Mecklenburg County, North Carolina (Charlotte); and Wayne County, Michigan (Detroit). Hart provides document management and workflow automation through its suite of records management applications tailored for the County Recorder's office. Hart's A2 software product, built on the Microsoft .NET Framework, serves as the County Recorder's "enterprise" system, handling all main functions contained in a typical document recording workflow. Cindy Phillips, General Manager of the Records Management Business and approximately 35 other Hart employees are expected to join Manatron in connection with this acquisition and will continue to work out of Hart's headquarters until Manatron establishes an office in Austin.

Gregg Burt, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hart InterCivic, welcomed this acquisition, stating, "We are happy to see this line of business go to the hands of a trusted name in the property records market, and we are confident that Manatron has the best interests of our clients and employees in mind. We look forward to continued business opportunities to partner with Manatron, particularly in the geo-content space."
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