S.F. sues voting-machine vendor

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera today sued the city’s voting machine vendor for alleged misrepresentation and problems that are causing a several-week delay in final election results from this month’s voting.

The lawsuit is the second filed in two days against Elections Systems and Software Inc. of Omaha, Neb.

Monday, California Secretary of State Debra Bowen sued the company seeking nearly $15 million in fines and reimbursement for selling San Francisco and four other counties nearly 1,000 uncertified machines used for disabled voters.

Both lawsuits were filed in San Francisco Superior Court.

The city’s lawsuit has claims based on the AutoMark machines for disabled voters but also includes additional claims related to problems with the city’s entire voting system.

Those problems led Bowen to require that San Francisco officials tabulate Nov. 6 ballots centrally and check a greater number of ballots by hand, thus resulting in delays in the final results.

The city’s lawsuit includes claims of fraud, breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation and violations of the state’s election code.

It seeks financial compensation and penalties, which Herrera said could run into millions of dollars if the lawsuit is successful.

Herrera said, “San Francisco’s experience with ES&S raises extremely troubling questions, not simply about the integrity of this company’s technology, but about the integrity of this company itself.”

An ES&S spokesman had no immediate comment.

Bowen’s lawsuit concerns AutoMark machines sold to Marin, Solano, Merced and Colusa counties, as well as San Francisco.

— Bay City News

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