We just got a press release from the Jim LaGrone for Secretary of State Campaign. He was too kind. We have gotten numerous reports from election workers and others that they are afraid this election is going to be a fiasco. Still, the Sec. of State seems more concerned about the Capitol Dome project- a project that is rumoured to be far over budget. What is not rumor is that the firm doing the project is a contributor to the Charlie Daniels campaign!
Secretary of State Needs to Put More Focus on Elections and Less on Aesthetics
(Little Rock – April 26, 2006) – Republican Secretary of State candidate Jim Lagrone, said that information published in today’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette saying that new electronic voting machines are missing key gear and may not be ready for the May 23 primary elections doesn’t surprise him.
“All I’ve heard Daniels talk about lately is how important it is to get the dome fixed. It appears he thinks fixing the Capitol dome is more important than fixing the voting machines, and all the accompanying problems, for the upcoming election,” said Lagrone.
The newspaper report says that delays in the shipment of programming equipment to Pulaski and other counties for the voting machines mean election officials have not been able to test the ballots. The article goes on to say that if the machines fail to work correctly, poll workers may have to hand-tally votes on election night. Other snafus, such as ballots for the machines being printed the wrong size and bad program memory packs seem to be causing additional problems in Sebastian and other counties.
“Instead of making voting easier, it looks like the Secretary of State is making it harder to comply with HAVA,” said Lagrone.
“Daniels should not have signed a contract with ESS (Election Systems & Software) if the company could not deliver the machines,” emphasizes Lagrone. “The Secretary of State made this deal with ESS, he should be held accountable for getting these machines here in time to train workers and meet the compliance issues. Instead he traveling the state talking about how proud he is of the renovations he’s completed on the Capitol.
“As serious as this problem is,” says Lagrone, “it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Once these machines are up and running, what most people don’t know is that each and every county in Arkansas will be responsible for the long-term maintenance and upkeep of these machines. This may not seem like a big problem but consider this, with the cost of fuel skyrocketing out of control, where do you think a county is going to choose to spend its money – on fuel to keep county road crews operational, or on fixing and maintaining voting machines?”
Concludes Lagrone, “When you’re the Secretary of State in Arkansas, the ‘buck stops here’ when it comes to elections. This constitutional officer’s main job is to make sure our elections run smoothly, accurately and according to law. It’s clear the person who now holds that office is more interested in the aesthetics of our state house than making sure our elections run smoothly.”