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Johnson County Placing Pressure on Software Company

By Joy Dumandan
Photos by Jerry Peck

The Johnson County Election Board is placing pressure on Election Systems & Software (ES&S). That's the company responsible for certifying software for its voting machines.

With three months before the November election it's still not done.

"We are sitting right back in the seat we were sitting in in March, right before the primary," said Jill Jackson, Johnson County clerk. "We can't sit here and rely on a company to keep making us promises that so far they have not been able to keep."

With three months before the November election software for the Ivotronic Touchscreen Voting Machines in Johnson County is still not certified.

Jackson presented the election board with a "Plan B" if the certification by ES&S is not done by August 20.

"We are taking a pro-active approach here and we are saying, 'here's what we're doing to assure us and our voters in this county a successful election.’"

Among the recommendations, ES&S provide the components needed to use the optical scan voting machines and provide proper training.

"Our first goal is to satisfy all the voters in Johnson County," said Jean Harmon of the Johnson County Election Board

"I have $2.4 million worth of equipment sitting in a basement that my voters in this county loved," said Jackson.

Another frustration – ES&S said they would get the software certified by October 1, but for the board that's cutting it too close.

"Do I think it's going to happen? I don't know, you're guess is as good as mine,” answered Jackson. “But I can't take that chance. I cannot play that game."

The board voted unanimously to put the pressure on ES&S.

"I'm tired of fussing with them and I'm just so pleased that the board agreed to give them an ultimatum," said Harmon.

ES&S has said they will have an answer for the election board by Friday.

In a side note, Bryan Nichol the only Democrat on the election board resigned, effective immediately. He moved out of Johnson County, making him ineligible to serve.

Bob Hill, the Democratic Party chair, said he's working on trying to find someone to fill the seat. But in the meantime, he'll step in to make sure the democrats are represented.

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