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Contact: Allison Fore
INDIANAPOLIS – Voting System Vendor MicroVote General Corp. is being ordered to pay the state more than $350,000 in civil penalties and investigative costs stemming from 198 violations of Indiana election law.
MicroVote came under investigation in April, 2006 following allegations that the company sold uncertified voting equipment in as many as 47 Indiana counties. Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) J. Lee McNeely – a former president of the Indiana State Bar Association, the Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, and the Indiana Lawyers Commission – was appointed to hear the case and provide findings of fact and conclusions of law.
Indiana law requires voting systems to be certified by the Indiana Election Commission before being sold, leased, or marketed for use in an election. McNeely found that MicroVote violated that requirement by marketing uncertified equipment during a window of time between the company’s decertification on October 1, 2005 and recertification on April 28, 2006. They did so by negotiating more than $400,000 worth of new sales contracts in ten counties, sending numerous estimates for purchase of their equipment and emailing counties with estimates for future purchases.
Prior to recertification, MicroVote also discovered a problem related to split-precinct and straight-ticket voting – both functions required under Indiana law. As early as April 22, 2006, MicroVote knew one of their systems was not operational, but concealed this fact from the Indiana Election Commission until at least late July or early August, 2006. As a result of the non-disclosure, 47 counties held primary elections on May 2, 2006 using voting systems that did not meet Indiana’s legal standard.
McNeely’s final order indicated that the integrity of the electoral process and voters’ faith in that process, require vendor compliance with statutes intended to prevent and punish the illegal sale, marketing, leasing, implementing, installing, or use of voting machines in Indiana. The Secretary of State affirmed the ALJ’s orders regarding civil penalties and investigative costs.
All civil penalties collected from this and similar actions directly fund Indiana’s Voting System Technical Oversight Program (VSTOP), which provides counties expert technical consultation on the use and selection of election equipment. As counties work with new voting systems, they will inevitably face new, technically complex challenges. VSTOP is a resource designed to assist in navigating those challenges.
For a list of voting system vendors by county, please visit: http://www.in.gov/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.in.gov/sos/elections/hava/pdf/CountyVotingSystems.pdf