La. receives 3 bids for new voting machines

Updated: May. 2, 2018 at 9:33 AM CDT
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Information provided by Louisiana Secretary of State's Office

BATON ROUGE, LA - The Secretary of State's Office today announced three companies submitted bids to provide new voting technology for the state in response to a recently released request for proposals (RFP).  The RFP calls for the replacement of both early voting and election day voting machines. May 1st marked the deadline for submissions by companies wishing to compete in the selection process.  Until the final selection is made, all bids remain confidential under state law.

The companies submitting proposals include Dominion Voting Systems Corp., Election Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S) and Hart InterCivic, Inc.

The Secretary of State envisions replacing approximately 10,000 machines and replacing them with smaller, more secure, touch screen models that provide a voter verified paper receipt to enhance post-election recounts or audits when necessary.  Louisiana, like many other states, purchased its voting equipment back in 2005 when federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) dollars were first sent to states. Last month, Congress released approximately $5.889 million in additional HAVA funding to be used for technology improvements.

To date, the Secretary of State's Office has invested approximately $500,000 self-generated dollars to jump-start voting technology efforts at the local level including secure laptops for vote tabulation and additional cybersecurity measures at registrar of voters offices. An additional allocation of $1.5 million, approved by the Legislature for the current fiscal year, could be coupled with a recommended $3 million which is included in the Appropriations Bill (HB 1) being debated the capitol. The HAVA dollars provided to Louisiana require a $294,400 state match bringing the potential total dollars available for voting equipment to almost $10 million dollars.

While this money will not cover the full cost of replacement, it provides welcomed federal funding without strings attached that will be pooled together with state funds to purchase new equipment. The Secretary of State's Office has indicated it plans to roll out any new equipment purchased in phases over multiple fiscal years.  Phase one would replace all early voting machines 5 parishes at a time, across the state starting in 2018.  Phase two would include election day machines rolled out in the same manner, 5 parishes at a time with full implementation expected by 2020.

The timeline for final selection of a voting machine vendor includes the following activities:

Evaluation Committee Kickoff Meeting - May 3, 2018

Individual Evaluations - May 3-14, 2018

Oral Presentations (if needed) - May 22-24, 2018

Notice of Intent to Award/Contract Negotiations - May 31, 2018

Award Finalized - June 20, 2018