Commissioners reject voting machine contract after concerns surrounding bid process

Watch: Commissioners reject voting machine contract after concerns surrounding bid process

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It’s no deal for almost $6 million in voting machines and software.

Election officials in Shelby county said some of this equipment would have been vital on election night.

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Shelby County Commissioners rejected the contract with Election Systems and Software, LLC.

The contract included new scanners that would have been used for the November 3 election.

“It’s unfortunate that the commission who most of them have never been poll worker want to tell us what to do because they don’t run elections,” said Linda Phillips, Shelby County Election Administrator. “The people who made this decision have years, and years and years of experience in running elections and we know things that they clearly don’t.”

During the meeting, Phillips and election commissioner Brent Taylor defended the bidding process and said the process was fair.

Taylor said all three vendors submitted bids without accounting for early voting numbers in Shelby County.

He said state law prohibits them from having more than 10,000 votes on a single machine and that’s why Taylor said the election administration had to adjust each bid to account for early voting along with training units.

But some commissioners weren’t buying that answer.

“These your words, you said just now on the record, all the vendors missed this, you should have pulled it and let everybody apply equally,” said Commissioner Eddie Jones.

University of Memphis law professor Steve Mulroy called this decision a win for voters.

He said the scanners weren’t a justifiable reason to get locked into a long-term contract.

“It’s not a reason for us to rush through a $6 million purchase for overpriced hackable glitchy touch screens that the overwhelming consensus of election security experts say are not secure,” said Mulroy.

With only four scanners to count this influx of absentee ballots, Phillips said the results will be delayed on Election night. She doesn’t know if it will be hours or days.