The DuPage County Board is preparing to put election equipment to a vote again in the coming weeks after rejecting a bid from a vendor over what some officials describe as a questionable procurement process.
A decision made last month to deny awarding the contract to Hart InterCivic has prompted the county to take another look at its vendor selection process.
What’s at Issue?
Chairman Dan Cronin said the county is committed to addressing the issue that arose, but he did not specify what went wrong.
A vote on election equipment failed along party lines with the county board’s Democrats expressing confidence in Hart InterCivic and what the vendor offers and Republicans taking issue with it.
Potential county board action to consider another bid comes as officials face continuing backlash from DuPage County residents at a recent meeting for failing to commit to the purchase and implementation of new election equipment.
DuPage County’s current voting system is antiquated and is in need of replacement, according to county board documents. New equipment is advised to ensure that elections are successfully administered.
During public comment, several opponents to the county board’s decision stressed how important it is to ensure the election is conducted with integrity.
Cronin acknowledged that the 2022 election is fast approaching and said time is of the essence. “We’re getting into the 2022 election cycle, and we want to make sure the clerk has enough time to train election judges,” Cronin said. “I’m pretty confident she will have enough time.”
The vendor selection process took three months last time around, officials said.
Officials do not anticipate it will take long for the county to complete the vendor selection process. “It’s moving along very expeditiously,” Cronin said.
The county was expected to issue another request for proposal (RFP) last week encouraging vendors to place a bid, officials said. Officials anticipate giving consideration to another contract at the county board’s next meeting.
Cronin said the procurement process should have been done right the first time around.
“We all want to get good quality election equipment, and we’re prepared to make an investment and spend a fair amount of money,” Cronin said. “There’s no debate about that. … The procurement process itself is important to me and it’s important to the institution of county government. If there’s a question about how something was awarded, how credentials were presented, or how recordkeeping and scoring was done, then let’s start over. Let’s do it the right way.”
Naperville News 17’s Megann Horstead reports.
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