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State of California and City of San Francisco sue voting systems vendor

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera has filed suit against Election Systems & Software, Inc., the City’s voting systems vendor, according to a November 20, 2007 press release.

The suit alleges that the company violated California’s Elections Code, False Claims Act and Unfair Competition Law and engaged in fraud, breach of contract and negligent misrepresentation.

Herrera claims that ES&S’ misrepresentations and voting system problems caused the California Secretary of State to impose restrictions on the City’s use of the company’s voting machines in November elections. The restrictions forced election officials to tabulate ballots centrally, to remake thousands of ballots by hand, and to borrow equipment from another county.

A copy of the complaint is available at the City Attorney’s website.

The New York Times reported that the California secretary of state, Debra Bowen, has also filed a lawsuit against ES&S for selling uncertified machines to five northern California counties, including San Francisco.

The state suit seeks $9.72 million from the company for the sale of 972 machines with internal hardware changes that were not reported or submitted for re-certification. It also asks for an additional $5 million for each county, Colusa, Marin, Merced, San Francisco and Solano.

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