State misses target for releasing voting machine bid info
The state of Delaware says it needs more time to comply with an open records request from Common Cause Delaware seeking bid information on new voting machines.
Common Cause Delaware has been waiting months to learn more about the vendors vying to provide the state with new voting machines and it was told Wednesday that wait will continue.
Office of Management and Budget Director Mike Jackson said last month the bid data would be released by now. But an OMB spokesman says they are still reviewing and redacting documents and hope to release the info by the end of the month.
This comes just as U.S House Democrats release a report saying Delaware has one of the five most insecure voting systems in the country (see report below). The other states are Georgia, Louisiana, New Jersey and South Carolina.
Common Cause Delaware asked for the information in February. But the Office of Management and Budget said it wouldn’t release it until the bid was awarded. The open government group got the Attorney General’s office to agree in May that the information should be public.
Jennifer Hill of Common Cause said it wants to check out the vendors competing for the contract. She points to last week’s revelation Maryland’s election software vendor is an LLC funded by a Russian oligarch.
“These are the kinds of things that we are going to want to make sure that we’re not doing in Delaware," she said. "We want to make sure that the equipment is secure, we get the best equipment, the best software and that the companies are above board.”
That LLC, ByteGrid LLC, is registered in Delaware. Delaware’s Department of State said it was formed in 2010 and canceled in 2015 for not paying taxes.
Hill says the lack of transparency adds uncertainty to what’s been done to secure elections this year and in 2020.
“We know that the new equipment won’t be in place, but we don’t even know if the system if they’ll be ready for 2020, so we’re very concerned about the election security,” she said.
The state’s fiscal year 2019 budget appropriated $10 million for the new voting machines. But the Congressional report says needs $17 million to replace its paperless voting machines and should do it before the November election.