A recent settlement with the San Francisco city attorney might give a boost to a supplier of electronic voting machines in litigation against California’s secretary of state.
On Jan. 22, Election Systems & Software and City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s office announced a $3.5 million deal to resolve claims that the company sold the city hundreds of voting machines without getting certification from the secretary of state. (This .pdf provides details.) ES&S was represented in the negotiations by Gibson Dunn & Crutcher’s Daniel Kolkey.
Part of the San Francisco litigation was over a machine called AutoMARK that helps people with disabilities mark their ballots. The AutoMARK machine is also at issue in a separate suit filed by Secretary of State Debra Bowen.
San Francisco Superior Court Judge Peter Busch is expected to rule next week on a motion by ES&S lawyers to throw out part of Bowen’s suit on a demurrer. It’s unclear if the company will use the San Francisco settlement as leverage before the judge, but it is more than willing to do so in the press.
ES&S spokesman Ken Fields said, “We hope our settlement will persuade the secretary of state that there’s really little purpose served by continuing to spend taxpayer money pursuing [this] litigation.”
— Matt Hirsch