[E-voting] Electronic Voting Systems - extra costs, USA

Catherine Ansbro cansbro at eircom.net
Thu Dec 14 16:55:01 GMT 2006

The following was just posted at BBV.  If you scroll down, you will see 
an interesting list of extra costs that had not been planned for by 
local governments.  Many of these costs might also occur in Ireland.



Those of you who are participating in the private Freedom of Information 
forums will see that we are receiving and posting documents containing 
invoices and billings. These may seem boring to most, but they are 
important. In fact, it is the invoices and billings we're seeing that 
helped to generate this important Freedom of Information request to 
every county in New York, the last big state to implement electronic 

Here's the FOIL request:
(48.7 k)



DATE: DEC. 14, 2006 -- Please deliver promptly to the person(s) 
responsible for fulfilling election-related budget records requests for 
your county.

*Specifications:* This request pertains to budget projections for your 
elections department. Please provide these by e-mail as attachments (ie. 
in electronic form). The time period we are seeking is the year of 2006 
and the year of 2007.

*Background*: We are seeking the documents containing the details that 
underlie your budget projections in connection with the transition to 
computerized voting systems.

With the exception of a portion of the voting system itself, the costs 
listed below are generally not reimbursed by HAVA. Black Box Voting has 
been examining dozens of New York county budgets, and cannot find that 
that there is an understanding of or any planning for the expenses 
listed below.

Black Box Voting is noticing that counties in other states are being 
forced to deal with expenses they had not adequately planned for which 
are sizeable. Frequently these expenses then come out of the county's 
General Fund.

Therefore, on behalf of the taxpayers of your county, Black Box Voting 
is seeking documentation to show that you have indeed anticipated and 
budgeted accurately for these items, and we are seeking documentation on 
what specific funding you plan to use to pay the costs.

Black Box Voting is requesting the following items: Please include the 
spreadsheets or other documents that show your projected costs for the 
following budget items for 2006 and 2007. This request does not pertain 
to cost projections for implementation of the voter registration system, 
only for the voting system itself and its related costs.

*Item 1*: Please provide the document that shows your projected 
reimbursement from HAVA and/or state funds for electronic voting 
equipment purchases.

*Item 2*: Please provide the documentation that shows your projected 
costs for your computerized voting system (either optical scan or DRE). 
This should break out the costs for:

- polling place voting machines
- ADA voting system
- absentee ballot counting machines
- absentee vote authentication systems (like signature comparison 
software and sorting software)
- central tabulation computers and election management system
- networking and installation costs
- card encoder devices
- any electronic pollbook devices
- any other peripherals or handheld devices that will accompany your 

*Item 3*: Please provide the documentation that shows your projected 
costs for recurring supply expenses in connection with your computerized 
voting system. This should include:

- memory cards
- ink cartridges
- flash cards
- test ballot decks
- ballots

*Item 4*: Please provide the documentation that shows your projected 
costs for licensing and annual usage fees including the following:
- firmware usage agreements
- software usage agreements
- additional programs such as vote verification systems ("VoteHere" 
would be an example of an additional verification system)
- data protection systems ("Digital Guardian" would be an example of an 
add-on data protection system)
- voting equipment inventory and security tracking systems (these are 
used to track serial numbers and seals)

Note that many jurisdictions have discovered that they need additional 
systems to support and secure their computerized voting system, and this 
request is requesting documents showing whether you have anticipated and 
budgeted for costs like these

*Item 5*:. Please provide the documentation that shows your projected 
costs for pre-election programming and Election Day/Night support costs, 

- ballot programming
- media burns
- coding services
- audio file preparation charges
- layout charges
- technical support charges
- repair charges
- Logic & Accuracy test technical support
- Election Day on-site support fees.

*Item 6*: Please provide the documentation that shows your projected 
contingency costs for upgrades or fixes needed to bring equipment into 
compliance with ongoing security alerts and/or updated standards.

*Item 7*: Please provide the documentation that show your projected 
costs for replacement equipment when it is damaged, dropped, or misused 
in a way that is not covered by the warranty.

*Item 8*: Please provide the documentation that shows your projected 
costs for insurance on your computerized voting system.

*Item 9*: Please provide the documentation that shows your projected 
costs for legal fees on computerized voting system-related public 
records requests (the vendors often seek to block records requests 
claiming proprietary trade secrets, which necessitates the involvement 
of county counsel). Include also any budgeting for increased litigation 
costs due to candidate lawsuits, voter lawsuits, or public interest 
group lawsuits that will be incurred as a result of use of computerized 
voting systems.

Black Box Voting has obtained many of the invoices from elections 
jurisdictions using computerized voting systems, and we are seeing */all 
of the above costs/* on various county invoices. The costs are 
substantial and often were not anticipated during budget planning.

Therefore, on behalf of the citizens in your county, we are seeking 
documentation showing that your budgeting staff is familiar with the 
specific real costs involved in the use of computerized election 
systems, documentation that shows you have planned for these costs, so 
that there will be no surprises to your taxpayers.

*Item 10:* Please provide the documentation that shows the specific fund 
from which each of the above six items will be paid. Will costs be paid 
from HAVA reimbursements, your Election Department budget, or the county 
General Fund?
Please note that this records request is part of a research project in 
the public interest. The study is being conducted by a nonpartisan, 
nonprofit 501c(3) organization. Therefore, please waive any fees when 
possible, and please minimize fees as is customary for such 
non-commercial, nonprofit, public interest research projects.

Quote any fee estimates and receive approval on the cost estimates 
before fulfilling the request. Quote any fees per each item separately 
rather than for this request as a whole.

Thank you!
Bev Harris
Black Box Voting
330 SW 43rd St Suite K
PMB 547
Renton WA 98057

# # # # #

More information about the E-voting mailing list