Friday, January 22, 2010

House Judiciary committee advances bill on voting systems procurement

The House Judiciary Committee today approved a bill to expedite the procurement of voting equipment systems for state elections.


House Bill 1901 is designed to provide the State with increased flexibility in the procurement of voting systems equipment. The bill, introduced by Representatives Calvin K. Y. Say and Jon Riki Karamatsu, proposes changes to the existing procurement process by amending Section 2, Chapter 16 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes. The bill intends to balance the interests of an open and competitive procurement process with the state’s need to obtain voting equipment in a cost effective and timely manner.

“The purpose of this bill is to address existing administrative problems that impact our ability to hold elections” said Chair Karamatsu. “We need to strike a balance between ensuring the transparency of the procurement process and the availability of legal remedies for unsuccessful vendors. We have an obligation to the voters to comply with the election timelines and to ensure that the process is timely and cost effective”.

Protests and administrative appeals by unsuccessful vendors often delay the procurement of voting systems equipment. The current process, which election officials, including county clerks and the state’s chief of elections have described as “ill suited to the State’s procurement of voting equipment systems”, would be amended to allow election officials to exempt voting systems procurement decisions from administrative appeal. To maintain the transparency and integrity essential to the procurement process, the bill calls for a selection committee comprised of government and community stakeholders to review and evaluate competing bids from vendors, and for contracts to be awarded for those bids which are the most cost effective and advantageous to the state. Unsuccessful vendors will also still be free to pursue remedies through the courts.

No comments: