Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Monopoly Looms on Electronic Voting

While we've been concentrating on the healthcare debate, the economy and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, another story important to American democracy has gotten inadequate attention: a single company is poised to monopolize the counting of over 75 percent of the nation's votes.

Earlier this month, Election Systems & Software (ES&S), which counted roughly 50 percent of the ballots in the last four major U.S. elections, purchased Diebold's electronic voting unit, Premier Election Solutions, which controls roughly a third of the voting machine market.

The merger of these two companies has set off alarm bells, and not just in the voting activist community.

Hart InterCivic, a competitor in the voting machine market, has filed a lawsuit seeking a federal court injunction to block the merger as an antitrust violation and a threat to "the integrity of the voting process in the United States."

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, wrote Attorney General Eric Holder requesting that the Antitrust Division review the deal for possible violations. Schumer's letter referenced a Congressional Research Service report from 2003 which indicated that having a diversity of systems and vendors might decrease the likelihood of widespread election fraud.

(Please read the rest of my article at Consortium News)


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