Secretary of State Charlie Daniels, who is running for re-election, has known since before the May 23rd elections that there were problems with ES&S. It's apparent that he's not been doing anything to correct the problems.
With just one month to go before the Nov. 7 general election, wrinkles in the state's relationship with the company supplying most of Arkansas' voting equipment still are being ironed out, the first gathering in recent memory of county election officials showed on Friday.
With less than a month to go, one would figure that the problems would be corrected by now. After all, Daniels has had 5 months to get it fixed.
While sipping coffee and juice in a packed conference room, local officials voiced their complaints about Election Systems & Software's customer service and technical support. They also questioned the secretary of state's office staff about changes in election law and procedure since a federal voting law went into effect this year.
Charlie Daniels is a very incompetent bureaucrat. He may try to blame ES&S all he wants, but he decided use them. Even when his own selection committee voted against using ES&S.
Arkansas County Election Commissioner Janie Long also complained about unfriendly customer service representatives at Election Systems & Software. She said in an interview during a break in the meeting that the company had botched the preparation of her county's ballots, and that a company worker wouldn't return her phone calls.
Long also said that the independent contractors Election Systems & Software had hired to support her county were unfamiliar with Arkansas election law.
It doesn't sound like the Nov 7th elections are going to be running smoothly. I attended a poll worker training meeting and a GOP leader said that they were expecting problems. He said that since this is going to be a very close race they were anticipating challenges to the votes. Is Arkansas going to have an election marked by litigation and allegations of incompetent administration or outright tampering? Will Arkansas have it's own Florida-style election melt-down?