By John Gideon on 1/14/2008, 8:00pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

VotersUnite Co-Executive Director Ellen Theisen called Kerry Asbridge, Hancock Co Illinois County Clerk, in regards to a news report from late last week that Mr. Asbridge had requested the DoJ to investigate the deceptive business practices of ES&S.

Asbridge spoke openly about how ES&S has treated his county; words that have been spoken previously by election officials across the country.

Ellen reports this from her conversation with Asbridge:

"The county, for years, sent their ballot information to ES&S on paper. Last year, the vendor told them they wanted it in Excel in a specific format. So, last November, the county sent it to ES&S as requested for this coming election. A week before Christmas, ES&S contacted them, said they had changed the format and **for a fee** would convert the data for them. The county resubmitted it themselves in the new format. Then a couple of weeks ago ... a repeat. New format, and for a fee ES&S would convert it."

How many other counties across the nation have had to face the same business practices from a vendor that has been called “arrogant” and, as one retiring Arkansas election official pointed out last year, they “lack competency to make their equipment work timely and effectively. They ... make a difficult job impossible to do. They can’t spell, meet deadlines, send documents to the right address or code elections correctly. They leave races off the ballot for us to correct, they can’t program their software to work and you have to hand add the results. And they don’t return phone calls. The ES&S people in Arkansas are capable but the people I have dealt with in the home office in Omaha prevent them from being effective. They are also mean-spirited when you try to get them to correct the numerous and recurring errors.”...

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