ES&S Discloses Full List of Manufacturers

By Kim Zetter EmailAugust 27, 2007 | 1:50:51 PM


Election Systems & Software, rebuked by a federal agency earlier this month for not disclosing that its voting machines are assembled in a factory in the Philippines, has responded to the Election Assistance Commission with a full list of its manufacturing facilities -- including subcontractors. In addition to the Manila factory, Teletech (pictured at right), the list now includes more than a dozen manufacturers, including one each in Taiwan and China.

The federal Election Assistance Commission (EAC), which oversees the federal testing and qualification of voting systems in the U.S., rebuked ES&S after an episode of Dan Rather Reports revealed that ES&S touchscreen machines were being assembled in a Manila sweatshop factory. The report also revealed that 30% to 40% of touchscreens sent to the factory for assembly in ES&S machines had cosmetic and electronic problems and that a Florida county returned more than 1,000 ES&S touchscreens in 2003 for calibration problems. The latter caused the machines to think users were touching one part of a screen when they were actually touching a different part -- a problem that can cause a machine to mis-register a voter's selections.

In light of Dan Rather's findings, the EAC sent a letter to ES&S informing the company that it had violated procedures by failing to disclose the existence of the Manila factory when it applied to have its system tested and qualified by the federal agency.

In its response, ES&S in turn rebuked the federal agency for failing to be clear about the extent of the manufacturing information it required from voting machine companies. ES&S also chastised the EAC for discussing the matter publicly in a letter released to the press, rather than contacting ES&S in private to find out why the company had not initially listed the Manila factory. ES&S said the public airing of such matters "could undermine voter confidence in the entire field of elections."

Left unsaid is how the failure of more than 1,000 machines that ES&S sold to a Florida county might also undermine voter confidence.

You can read the ES&S letter here.