Contracts with Unaccountable Private Vendors Like ES&S in NM and Elsewhere, Continue Taking Costly Toll on American Democracy...
By Brad Friedman on 2/8/2008, 8:06pm PT  

On Wednesday, we covered some of the massive problems emerging from New Mexico's Democratic Party Caucus on Super Tuesday. The razor-thin margin between Obama and Clinton remains in question at this hour after ballot boxes were discovered to have been kept overnight, uncounted, at the home of a party official; voters faced long lines at the polls; and some 17,000 voters (11% versus 4% in the last caucus) were forced to vote on provisional ballots.

NPR had reported on Thursday that the state's Democratic party, which ran the election, as opposed to the state itself, had decided to do a full recount of all ballots. Tonight, though, John Gideon informs us the report was incorrect, and only "all qualified provisional ballots" are set to be counted by officials.

We had updated our previous story several times while covering the mess, before finally noting:

The most notable take-away from this story may end up not being the poorly run caucus process of the Democratic Party (as opposed to the state, which would run the general election in November), or even the "sleepover" ballot boxes. The most notable issue here may be the questions about what the hell happened to the registration rolls in New Mexico, as now maintained by the thugs and failures at voting machine company ES&S, since the last election.

Remember, NM is where former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias was fired because he refused to prosecute the bogus "voter fraud" charges made by the Republican Party there.

Tonight, Steve Rosenfeld at Alternet jumps in with a New Mexico update, in which he tries to make sense of it all. He ends up confirming our fears in his opening graf...

The mystery of what went wrong in New Mexico’s Super Tuesday Democratic Caucus deepened on Friday. Party officials on background said they absolutely were given a bad voter list from the Secretary of State – whose spokesman, in turn, defended the database prepared by ES&S, one of the nation’s large private election vendors.

Rosenfeld then aptly notes "the ongoing story is a cautionary tale for what not to do in November’s presidential election," before pointing out the bigger question than who won or lost the Democratic Caucus, is more likely: "'Was the state using a bad voter list provided by a private vendor – instead of using data compiled by public officials?'"

See his excellent details on the entire embarrassing brouhaha, but this graf, in particularly, should be noted in light of the mess which it seems the SoS and their trust in the unaccountable thugs and failures at ES&S has wrought...

Five other states also have hired ES&S to compile statewide voter lists: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas and Nebraska...Meanwhile, other states have had problems with vendors hired to compile their voter lists. The statewide lists are a requirement under the Help America Vote Act. In Colorado, Wisconsin and Wyoming, Accenture either missed deadlines, paid fines or was fired, according to

The joys of privatizing public functions. It never ends.