Delaware Public Media

Task force approves new voting system for Delaware amid criticism

Sep 11, 2018

A task force charged with finding new voting machines for Delaware made its decision Tuesday.


The task force voted unanimously to award the contract to Election Systems and Software. Its voting machines creates a paper ballot that the machine marks and tabulates for the voter.

But some advocates like Stan Merriman criticized the task force, saying its work lacked transparency and it failed to consult outside experts.

“Instead the task force bill treated this historic event as just another routine purchase of machines, failing to imagine a different future," he said. "Again, machines over methods.”

Jennifer Hill with Common Cause Delaware says other states using ESS's machines have experienced some issues. Some advocates were also upset the new system doesn’t include paper ballots that voters fill out themselves or a vote by mail system.

State Sen. Bryan Townsend (D-Newark) sat on the task force. He says while it held public meetings, it could have tried to encourage more participation.

“In order to do it well in 2020, we’d like by 2019 to be able to test," he said. "There’s full legitimacy to that. But I just do think that there could have been a more wholesome process with this.”

The Joint Capital Improvement committee has to approve appropriating the money for the new voting machines. The committee meets to vote on the deal next Monday. The system could cost up to $13 million.