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Election Systems and Software (ES&S)
Election Systems & Software (ES&S) makes hardware and software used to manage all stages of elections, including voter registration, ballot creation, voting, and tabulation. The company's products can be found in more than 1,700 voting jurisdictions in 47 US states and Canada. ES&S was established in 1979. The company is owned by its officers and employees. since early in 2005, ES&S has been marketing the AutoMark ballot-marking device, originally developed by Vogue Election Products and Services.

EAC Certifies ES&S Unity Voting System PDF  | Print |  Email
Election Systems and Software (ES&S)
By EAC Media Release   
July 21, 2009
The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) today certified the Unity optical scan voting system by Election Systems & Software to the 2002 Voting System Standards. It is the second voting system to achieve federal certification under the EAC Voting System Testing and Certification Program.

An EAC certification means that a voting system has met the requirements of the federal guidelines by passing a series of comprehensive tests conducted by a federally accredited test laboratory. Manufacturers of certified systems must also meet technical and ethical standards that ensure the integrity of the process and the system as it goes from the test lab to production and into the marketplace.

Laboratory test plans, test reports and related information about the Unity are posted at, along with an outline describing each step of the certification process.
Bizarre Undervote on iVotronic in France PDF  | Print |  Email
Election Systems and Software (ES&S)
By Andrew Appel, Princeton University   
April 30, 2008
This article was posted at Ed Felten's Freedom to Tinker Blog and is reposted here with permission.

In France, most municipalities use paper ballots in elections, but a few places have begun using DRE (direct-recording electornic) machines. Pierre Muller, a French computer scientist, has recently sent me a report of a malfunction by an ES&S iVotronic machine in a recent municipal election.

In this spring’s elections (and he believes this also happened last year), there have been some unexplained “undervotes” on iVotronic machines. Below is a printout from an iVotronic machine. There’s a line “UnderVotes For Above Contest: 1″. Since the voter is required by the user-interface to choose between a candidate and the choice “vote blanc” [none of the above], undervotes should not be possible.

This event is similar in some ways to the Sequoia AVC Advantage bug observed in New Jersey on February 5, 2008. In both cases it appears that the machine is producing results that should not be possible, and in both cases local election officials are unable to explain how these results could legitimately be obtained.

Click here for image of the full printout, annotated with my English translation.

California Review of the ES&S AutoMARK and M100 PDF  | Print |  Email
Election Systems and Software (ES&S)
By Dan Wallach, Rice University   
March 26, 2008
This article was posted on Ed Felten's Freedom to Tinker Blog and is reposted here with permission of the author.

California’s Secretary of State has been busy. It appears that ES&S (manufacturers of the Ink-a-Vote voting system, used in Los Angeles, as well as the iVotronic systems that made news in Sarasota, Florida in 2006) submitted its latest and greatest “Unity" system for California certification. ES&S systems were also considered by Ohio’s study last year, which found a variety of security problems.

California already analyzed the Ink-a-Vote. This time, ES&S submitted their AutoMARK ballot marking device, which has generated some prior fame for being more accessible than other electronic voting solutions, as well has having generated some prior infamy for having gone through various hardware changes without being resubmitted for certification. ES&S also submitted its M100 precinct-based tabulation systems, which would work in conjunction with the AutoMARK devices. (Most voters would vote with pen on a bubble sheet. The AutoMARK presents a fancy computer interface but really does nothing more than mark the bubble sheet on behalf of the voter.) ES&S apparently did not submit its iVotronic systems.

The results? Certification denied.

ES&S Acquires Assets of AutoMARK Technical Systems, LLC. PDF  | Print |  Email
Election Systems and Software (ES&S)
By Election Systems & Software Media Release   
January 28, 2008
Acquisition Means ES&S will Manufacture and Market Widely Praised Voter Assist Terminal

Today, Election Systems & Software (ES&S) announced that it has acquired substantially all of the assets of
AutoMARK Technical Systems (ATS), LLC. As a result, ES&S will both manufacture and market the innovative AutoMARK Voter Assist Terminal -- a ballot marking device that has provided many voters with disabilities the
opportunity to mark paper ballots privately and independently for the first time. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

"This acquisition means that ES&S is now in the strongest position to fully support, under a single company structure, the only real ballot marking device that meets the needs of voters with disabilities," said Aldo
Tesi, President and Chief Executive Officer of ES&S. "ATS is a great company with a solid pool of talented employees. The combination of our individual strengths will assure continued innovation, quality service, and proven product offerings for our customers."

With this acquisition, ES&S will continue to service hundreds of ES&S customers that already utilize more than 33,000 AutoMARK ballot marking devices, enhance the product as part of the company's suite of end-to-end,
fully integrated voting solutions, and assume control of future product development. Since its introduction in 2005, the AutoMARK has been extremely well received by election officials and voters.

"This is a perfect fit for ATS," said Gene Cummings, President and Founder of ATS. "We are proud of what we have done to bring this innovative product to market. With its reach and innovation expertise, ES&S is best positioned to take the AutoMARK forward."

The transaction is effective immediately.
California's Testing Cracks ES&S E-Voting System Wide Open PDF  | Print |  Email
Election Systems and Software (ES&S)
By Ryan Paul, ars technica   
December 05, 2007

Earlier this year, California Secretary of State Debra Bowen established strict new standards for electronic voting machines, requiring independent code audits, Red Team security testing, and support for paper records. The Red Team testing process primarily involves subjecting the machines to review by security experts who attempt to hack the software and bypass the physical security mechanisms. Recent Red Team tests of ES&S voting machines have uncovered serious security flaws.


Previous Red Team tests commissioned by the state of California revealed significant vulnerabilities in devices sold by Diebold and Sequoia. At the time, ES&S declined to participate in the testing, citing lack of preparedness. The tests on the ES&S machines were finally conducted in October, and the results, which were recently published (PDF), show that products from ES&S are as insecure as the rest.


The first round of tests focused on the physical security of the Polling Ballot Counter (PBC), which the Red Team researchers were able to circumvent with little effort. "In the physical security testing, the wire- and tamper-proof paper seals were easily removed without damage to the seals using simple household chemicals and tools and could be replaced without detection," the report says. "Once the seals are bypassed, simple tools or easy modifications to simple tools could be used to access the computer and its components. The key lock for the Transfer Device was unlocked using a common office item without the special 'key' and the seal removed."


Read the Entire Article at ars technica 

Latest Voting System Analysis from California PDF  | Print |  Email
Election Systems and Software (ES&S)
By Dan Wallach, Rice University   
December 04, 2007

This article was posted at Ed Felten's Freedom to Tinker Blog and is reposted here with permission.


This summer, the California Secretary of State commissioned a first-ever “Top to Bottom Review” of all the electronic voting systems used in the state. In August, the results of the first round of review were published, finding significant security vulnerabilities and a variety of other problems with the three vendors reviewed at the time. (See the Freedom to Tinker coverage for additional details.) The ES&S InkaVote Plus system, used in Los Angeles County, wasn’t included in this particular review. (The InkaVote is apparently unrelated to the ES&S iVotronic systems used elsewhere in the U.S.) The reports on InkaVote are now public.

(Disclosure: I was a co-author of the Hart InterCivic source code report, released by the California Secretary of State in August. I was uninvolved in the current round of investigation and have no inside information about this work.)


First, it’s worth a moment to describe what InkaVote is actually all about.  It’s essentially a precinct-based optical-scan paper ballot system, with a template-like device, comparable to the Votomatic punch-card systems.  As such, even if the tabulation computers are completely compromised, the paper ballots remain behind with the potential for being retabulated, whether mechanically or by hand.

California: San Francisco City Attorney Charges ES&S With Breach Of Contract PDF  | Print |  Email
Election Systems and Software (ES&S)
By San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera Press Release   
November 07, 2007
Blaming Embattled Voting Systems Vendor for 'Undue Hardship and Unnecessary Costs' in Election, Notice of Default Could Result in Litigation Within Two Weeks

Joined by Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin and Department of Elections Director John Arntz at a City Hall press conference today, City Attorney Dennis Herrera (pictured at right) issued a notice of default to the City's voting systems vendor, charging Omaha, Neb.-based Election Systems & Software, Inc. with material breach of contract, and initiating a process that could result in civil
litigation within two weeks. Herrera's six-page notice to ES&S President and CEO Aldo Tesi details numerous misrepresentations and breaches of contract by the vendor that have caused San Francisco "undue hardship and unnecessary costs in administering the November 6,
2007 election."

"We are putting ES&S on notice that we expect the company to meet its obligations and to pay all costs associated with its past failures to do so-or I am prepared to aggressively litigate the City's rights under its contract," Herrera. "The notice of default we are sending today details a history of misrepresentations and breaches that have imposed unprecedented difficulties on this City in conducting its election."

ES&S Discloses Full List of Manufacturers PDF  | Print |  Email
Election Systems and Software (ES&S)
By Kim Zetter   
August 27, 2007

This article was posted at the Wired Threat Level Blog and is reposted here with permission of the author.


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 sytem tested and qualified by the federal agency.

ES&S to be Rebuked, Fined and Possibly Banned in California? PDF  | Print |  Email
Election Systems and Software (ES&S)
By Kim Zetter   
August 21, 2007

This article appeared on the Wired: Threat Level Blog and is reposted here with permission of the author.


California announced today that it plans to hold an administrative hearing on September 20th to discuss the fate of Election Systems & Software for violating state election codes. ES&S, the top voting machine company in the country, is being accused of selling at least five California counties with a version of its AutoMark ballot marking system that hadn't yet been tested or certified for use in the state or the country.


ES&S apparently sold at least 1,000 uncertified machines to San Francisco, Marin, Colusa, Solano and Merced counties.


Per CA law, ES&S could be fined $10,000 per uncertified voting system unit (or $9.72 million) and be required to give a complete refund to counties of all money spent on the machines -- the latter would amount to about $5 million.


Additionally, ES&S could be barred from doing any business in the state for between 1 and 3 years, which would impact more than just the five counties mentioned -- potentially affecting more than 14 counties that use ES&S machines, including Los Angeles County.


The issue raises questions about how many other uncertified AutoMarks the company may have sold to other states.


ES&S did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.

Did ES&S Sell Uncertified Voting Equipment To California Counties? PDF  | Print |  Email
Election Systems and Software (ES&S)
By California Secretary of State   
August 21, 2007

Secretary of State Bowen Sets Hearing to Investigate Company

Secretary of State Debra Bowen today announced she has set a public hearing for September 20, 2007, to examine whether Election Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S) sold uncertified voting machines to as many as five California counties.

"ES&S sold nearly 1,000 voting machines in California without telling the counties that bought them that they had never been certified for use in this state," said Secretary Bowen, the state?s chief elections officer.  "Given that each machine costs about $5,000, it appears ES&S has taken $5 million out of the pockets of several California counties that were simply trying to follow the law and equip their polling places
with certified voting machines."


The ES&S AutoMARK Version 1.0, also known as Phase One or Model A100, is an electronic ballot-marking device that the Secretary of State certified for use in California in August 2005. According to information provided by the counties to the Secretary of State, 14 counties (Amador, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, Marin, Merced, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Siskiyou, Solano, Stanislaus and Tuolumne) use the AutoMARK to comply with the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) requirement to provide at least one machine in each polling place so voters with disabilities can cast ballots independently.

However, according to information obtained by Secretary Bowen, ES&S sold AutoMARK Version 1.1, also known as Phase Two or Model A200, to five of those counties (San Francisco, Colusa, Marin, Merced and Solano) in 2006.  ES&S had never submitted Phase Two, a version that is substantially different from the state-certified AutoMARK Phase One, to the California Secretary of State for certification.  Furthermore, ES&S
delivered hundreds of AutoMARK Phase Two machines to California counties months before the model?s August 2006 federal certification.

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ES&S Resources
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Vendor Pages
Voting Equipment Vendors
Advanced Voting Solutions
Danaher Corporation (Guardian Voing Systems)
Election Systems and Software (ES&S)
Hart Intercivic
Liberty/NEDAP Powervote
VoteHere (Dategrity)
Voter Database Vendors
VoTing Technologies International
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