- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 16, 2015

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin has selected a vendor to purchase a statewide voting system from that submitted a more expensive proposal than those offered by two competitors.

The Nebraska-based company, Elections Systems & Software, turned in a proposal costing around $29.9 million, which was higher than the ones submitted by Unisyn Voting Solutions at around $24.4 million and Hart InterCivic at an estimated $18.8 million, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (https://bit.ly/1Iiwrgc ) reported.

Martin spokesman Chris Powell on Monday said that Elections Systems & Software was picked because it met every requirement the secretary of state’s office sought and that “we felt that ES&S; would be able to implement a new system in a more timely manner.”

Powell said Martin hasn’t yet signed a contract with the company. Martin will purchase the system and a contract will be signed at that time whenever funding becomes available.

“This was not a bidding process,” Powell said. “This was a request for proposal, and the secretary selected a proposed system.”

Executive director Susan Inman of the Arkansas County Election Commissioners Association said most counties “are fine” with ES&S; because it’s a known entity.

In 2005, Martin’s predecessor had purchased voting equipment through the company for around $15 million and also awarded the company a $4.9 million contract to provide the state’s voter registration system.

Martin’s office also re-signed a contract with the company for the voter registration system a few years ago.

Powell said that the secretary of state’s office doesn’t plan to implement the new system before the 2016 primary.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com

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