Several Secretary of State Candidates got combative yesterday
after they were asked about controversy surrounding the bidding process for the
state’s new voting machines.
Two of the three bidders for the contract say the
process, won by Dominion Voting Systems, was rigged. Candidate, and Baton Rouge
Representative Rick Edmonds, says an AP report raised serious questions about
the integrity of the bid.
“Two companies did not have the same advantage that one
company did, so it became completely unbalanced. We cannot tolerate any more
scandals in government, and particularly in the Secretary of State’s office.”
An AP report says The Office of State Procurement has
removed Interim Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin from the bid evaluation process
for the new voting machines
Opponents of Ardoin for the seat seized on the ballooning
price of the voting machine contract as well. Candidate and Kenner
Representative Julie Stokes says she’s incredibly concerned about the
surprising, new price tag for the machines.
“(The contract is) 95 million dollars when what was talked
about in budget (committee) was 50 to 60. I think it’s high time we have a new
pair of eyes, and remove the scandal from office.”
The state received tens of millions in federal funds to
assist in the purchase of new voting machines, and the securing of the state’s
But Ardoin says those concerns are unfounded, and pointed to
a 2005 bid that resulted in a lawsuit from one of the losing bidders as
evidence that the two companies filing complaints are just trying to play
politics with the bid.
“The other two companies aren’t happy about it because they
lost the bid. They were 40 million dollars or more ahead of the cost of this
one. We haven’t even negotiated it.”
Ardoin anticipates the state will negotiate the current 95
million dollar deal to a lower price.