Secretary of State Mark Martin has chosen Election Systems & Software (ES&S) as the vendor for any state-purchased integrated voting system equipment going forward. This announcement comes after months of evaluation and analysis and input from state and county officials.
"Sixty percent of votes cast nationwide in the last general election were cast using equipment from ES&S. They are uniquely positioned to fulfill any requirement that we have and do so in a timely manner," said Secretary Martin.
Full statewide implementation, however, will not occur at this time. Four counties (Boone, Columbia, Garland, and Sebastian) have been chosen to participate in a pilot program in which all voting equipment will be replaced and appropriate training conducted in time for the 2016 Primary Election in March. The pilot program will be funded solely by the Secretary of State.
Secretary Martin said, "We have listened to county officials and realize that integrating an entirely new system by next spring would be a challenge. I am grateful to all of the county judges, clerks, election commissions and quorum court members who have been part of this process and offered feedback. My staff and I look forward to continuing to work with them as we begin to implement a new and modern election system for the people of Arkansas."
Specifically, the Secretary of State would like to express appreciation to the four county clerks who served on the voting system advisory board: Sherry Bell, Columbia County Clerk, Sharon Brooks, Sebastian County Clerk; Crystal Graddy, Boone County Clerk; and Sarah Smith, Garland County Clerk.
Act 151 of 2015 appropriated $30 million toward a new statewide voting system. The pilot program will cost approximately $2.5 million. The Secretary of State will continue to seek the remaining funds needed for statewide implementation with a goal to have all counties equipped and trained by the 2016 General Election.