Demon coupling will result in company counting 92% of Sunshine State votes, at least 70% nation wide...
By Brad Friedman on 12/17/2009, 4:05pm PT  

From the Herald/Times [emphasis added]....

TALLAHASSEE --- Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum is conducting an anti-trust investigation of a voting-machine company merger that would create a near-monopoly over the levers of democracy in Florida and much of the United States.

McCollum's office has issued at least six subpoenas covering every major voting-machine company as part of a civil investigation of Election Systems & Software's $5 million acquisition of Diebold Inc.'s elections division --- a merger that would give a private company too much power over the machines used to cast votes, voting-rights groups say.

``Our office engaged in this issue because anti-competitive behavior can seriously harm consumers,'' McCollum said in a written statement. ``Competitive behavior encourages the best products be available to consumers, including technology, particularly in a market as sensitive as the voting systems market.''

Under the state's 1980 anti-trust law, McCollum could persuade a court to levy fines against ES&S or prevent the company from operating in Florida. By next year, the company is expected to be the exclusive provider of voting machines and services in 65 of the 67 counties in Florida, the nation's most important swing state.

That means, under the acquisition announced Sept. 2, ES&S will provide election services to 92 percent of Florida's 11.2 million voters.

More broadly, ES&S's purchase of the competitor company gives it control of the voting machines in nearly 70 percent of the nation's precincts, according to a federal lawsuit in Delaware filed by a rival company, Hart Intercivic. The U.S. Department of Justice is conducting its own inquiry.

ES&S, of course, told the Herald/Times that their acquisition of Diebold "will result in better products and services for all customers and voters alike." And, if you believe that, we've got an unhackable voting machine to sell you....

[Hat-tip BRAD BLOG emailer JM]