Bill McCollum Investigating Acquisition of Diebold
Florida officials have since September been investigating the consolidation of the nation’s two biggest voting machine manufacturers who now make over 90 percent of the machines used in Florida, a spokesman for Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum said Thursday.
The AG’s office has issued subpoenas to executives from six voting machine companies as part of an investigation begun Sept. 10 into the acquisition of Diebold Election Systems Inc. by Election Systems and Software, which together provide more than 90 percent of the voting machines used in the state, special counsel Russell Kent said Thursday.
Kent’s comments come a day after Florida Voters Foundation, a South Miami-based group, sent a letter to McCollum’s office urging it to investigate the September purchase. Dan McCrea, president and CEO of the group, told the News Service of Florida Thursday he welcomed the AG’s investigation into the purchase as part of a wider probe.
“The acquisition effectively places all ES&S and Diebold counties, or 92% of Florida’s 11 million registered voters, under a single vendor,” McCrea wrote to McCollum in a letter dated Wednesday. “It is unlikely new vendors will enter the Florida market given the onerous financial burden to gain Florida voting system certification for their goods and services.”
In response, Kent said the agency has been involved in an active investigation for months. As part of the probe, the agency has subpoenaed testimony from executives from Diebold, ES&S, Sequoia Voting Systems Inc, Scytl, Dominion Voting Systems Corp. and Hart InterCivic Inc.
In addition, Kent said the agency has interviewed local and state election officials while it monitors Congressional proceedings.
“Our office has conducted a prompt and thorough investigation, recognizing the importance of the voting machine market,” Kent wrote. “This investigation is ongoing.”
ATM maker Diebold announced in September it sold its voting machine division, Premier Election Solutions, to ES&S for $5 million in cash. It had been trying to find a buyer for about three years.
The purchase quickly raised anti-trust concerns. In October, the U.S. Senate Rules and Administration Committee began its own investigation into the purchase.