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ES&S Fails to Show for Election Board Meeting

April 7, 2006

 

By Pam Elliot

24-Hour News 8

 

Primary Election Day is less than a month away, and there are still no assurances that your vote will count.

 

I-Team 8 has reported all week about mistakes that worry Indiana election officials.

 

Earlier this week I-Team 8 reported that the Johnson County clerk had yet to receive ballots, and that other counties were without as well. That's a violation of state law.

 

On Friday morning it was the election board in Marion County that held an emergency meeting because of mistakes made by the same election management company that deals with Johnson County.

Marion County says it did receive ballots but there were errors found. The ballots, which did not contain instructions for certain school board races, were already being used for absentee voting. Those errors have been corrected.

 

Marion County Clerk Doris Anne Sadler says she'd fire the company, Election Systems and Software (ES&S) if she could but the county is in a bind with the May and November elections so close.

 

Sadler expected ES&S to address questions at Friday's meeting, but only a company attorney showed up who could not comment. The lawyer said at the meeting that it was an important issue to ES&S.

 

Sadler responded: "But they scheduled a conference call that the one person who does programming must attend at 8:45 this morning, saying that they could not be here until that was over and it coincided with our nine o'clock meeting. I think that's an unwillingness to be here to answer our questions."

 

"We are here today to get out in front of what we perceive as going to be pending problems with our vendor that we are stuck with under contract. We had hoped they would be here today to discuss this problem with the media talk to them about it and give public assurance that everything that they were going to do to fix it was going to happen. Obviously they are not comfortable doing that," said Frank Otte, Marion County Election Board chairman.

 

ES&S says it was not aware that it was expected to attend Friday's meeting.

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