Voting machine vendor agrees to settle City lawsuit
San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera announced Tuesday an
agreement to settle a City lawsuit against voting machine vendor
Election Systems and Software.
Photo by Luke
By Ari Barak
January 23, 2008
The city of San Francisco and the vendor for the city's former
computer voting systems have reached a multi-million dollar settlement,
the San Francisco City Attorney's office announced yesterday.
City Attorney Dennis Herrera announced the $3.5 million settlement
with Omaha, Neb. based Election Systems and Software, after the
city sued ES&S on Nov. 20 for costs it incurred in meeting
new state certification requirements for the company's AutoMARK
ballot marking devices.
Problems with the ES&S machines resulted in prolonged hand
counts of votes in the Nov. 6 election. Elections officials were
not able to certify the results until Dec. 7.
San Francisco paid $3.79 million for more than 500 of the voting
machines in 2006, according to the city attorney's office.
Under the agreement, ES&S will now pay $3.5 million in return
for the devices, and the lawsuit will be dismissed, the city attorney's
As part of the agreement, ES&S does not admit any liability,
according to the city attorney's office. Further, the city has
agreed to reimburse ES&S for any outstanding invoices for
voting supplies and services.
"I am gratified that we were able to quickly come to an
agreement that will allow us to enter the next election cycle
with equipment that meets state standards," said Herrera.
ES&S Senior Vice President John Groh called the agreement
"a creative approach that benefits both parties."
"We will continue to do all that we can to support the election-related
needs of jurisdictions in California and other states," Groh
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors still needs to approve
On Dec. 11, by a 9-2 vote, the Board of Supervisors authorized
a new, four-year, $12.65 million contract with Sequoia Voting
Systems, Inc., though some supervisors expressed concern about
the new system's long-term viability.