The DuPage County Board rejected a contract at a recent meeting that would have allowed the county to purchase voting equipment from the Texas-based vendor, Hart InterCivic. The decision comes on the heels of county board discussion calling the purchasing process into question.
About the Vendor Selection Process
Deputy Clerk Adam Johnson said Hart InterCivic presented the most responsive proposal but not the lowest bid.
According to county board documents, the voting equipment contract would amount to roughly $10.6 million.
County Board Opposition
Several board members questioned the vendor selection process and whether the county is doing what’s in the best interest of the taxpayers.
Hart InterCivic is not currently under contract with any election authorities in Illinois. Board member Peter DiCianni took issue with that. “Do we want to be the guinea pig and spend nearly double?” DiCianni asked.
County Board Support
Some board members expressed confidence in Hart InterCivic and its voting equipment. “I do think it is the most responsible choice,” Board member Julie Renehan said. “It might not be the cheapest.”
“These units are made in America which, I think, will go a long way to ensuring voter confidence in them,” Board member Dawn DeSart said.
The vendor selection process took three months, officials said. The county is bound statutorily to choose a voting equipment vendor before the election.
DuPage County’s existing voting system is antiquated and in need of a replacement, according to county board documents. A new voting system is justifiable to ensuring that county elections are administered successfully.
Board member Greg Hart acknowledged the amount of time people dedicated to researching vendors, but said he cannot support the contract. “I think price has to be a factor in every bid that we look at,” Hart said.
Ultimately, the board rejected the voting equipment contract in an 11-7 vote. The county’s decision didn’t rest well with some members of the public.
Becky Simon of League of Women Voters of Naperville was among several people weighing in on this topic during public comment. She said she believes the board needs to “stop kicking the can down the road” and do its job.
“Democracy in DuPage cannot wait any longer,” Simon said. “The required timeline for equipment to be procured and implemented is too long and too complex to accommodate any more delays.”
Some board members echoed those sentiments, saying that authorizing the voting equipment contract with Hart InterCivic is a vote for election integrity.
“I’m really disappointed in the decision about Hart InterCivic today,” Board member Mary FitzGerald Ozog said. “I’d also like to point out that while I hate to use the word, I’m going to use the word ‘witch hunt.’ I believe that’s what happened about this situation. It didn’t happen last year.”
Naperville News 17’s Megann Horstead reports.
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