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ES&S reneges on Leon County deal 2 days before HAVA deadline 
After pursuing Leon County for a full year, sending a contract, and 
as the final test conducting a Leon County election on its equipment, 
two ES&S executives shook hands on a $1.8 million deal with Leon 
County Election Supervisor Ion Sancho. Right before the HAVA deadine 
though, Election Systems & Software (ES&S) CEO Aldo Tesi abruptly 
aborted the Leon County contract. 
Leon County's Ion Sancho shook up the voting industry in December 
when he authorized a security test which proved the Diebold system 
can be hacked. In short order, Volusia County (FL) dumped Diebold, 
hastily signing an agreement to purchase ES&S; St. Louis County (MO) 
dropped its Diebold contract, the state of California refused to 
certify Diebold (sending its machines back to federal testing labs) and the 
state of Pennsylvania decertified the Diebold optical scan system. 
California and Pennsylvania acted on the advice of their own 
independent voting system examiners, who confirmed problems with 
the code exploited by Finnish computer expert Harri Hursti to hack the 
system in Leon County. 
Privatization of the voting industry puts election officials in a tough 
spot. Florida has authorized only three vendors to sell voting equipment 
(ES&S, Sequoia and Diebold). However, because the vendors are private 
corporations, they can choose to sell to whomever they want, refusing 
customers at will. 
Sequoia Voting Systems decided not to sell to customers in Ohio, saying 
the number of sales available was not enough to make a profit. Hart 
Intercivic chose not to sell to customers in North Carolina, forcing elections 
officials there to buy only from ES&S. 
ES&S decided to sell its machines to Volusia County, a new customer 
about the same size as Leon County, while denying its machines to Leon 
County. Nothing prevents a vendor from refusing to sell to counties 
deemed too small to turn a profit, or to jurisdictions they simply don't like. 
The federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) denies funds to counties that 
don't purchase voting machines, states dictate which vendors are 
approved, and vendors dictate to whom they will sell. 
"It looks like I've got two bad actors to deal with [ES&S and Diebold], 
and neither one of them is acting responsibly in my opinion. What do I do 
to serve the best interests of the citizens of Leon County?" says Sancho. "HAVA 
has forced us to purchase systems that in my opinion are not appropriate 
for citizens to be voting on, but as Dickens says, 'The law is an ass.'" 
Sancho's problems with Diebold accelerated after he allowed security 
tests, revealing a problem with the GEMS central tabulator and the optical 
scan memory card design. Dr. Herbert Thompson demonstrated on Feb. 14 and 
May 2 last year that he was able to gain control of the "mother ship" – 
the central tabulator that counts votes from all the precinct machines. 
Finnish ES&S had solicited Mr. Sancho in December 2004, but Sancho did not 
offer an affirmative response. However, with HAVA deadlines looming, Diebold 
was hitching their wagon solely to touch-screen voting, and in Florida, 
touch-screens do not provide a paper trail. Sancho favored the AutoMark, a 
disability-approved technology distributed by ES&S which does produce a paper 
In June 2005, shortly after the May security tests by Thompson and 
Hursti, Sancho approached ES&S to inquire about purchasing the AutoMark. 
"I called ES&S and said, 'Can I get deep discounts over the price if I 
go with AutoMark?' They crowed about it [the opportunity to do business]. They 
said 'Absolutely, both on our M100s [optical scan machines] and on the 
Sancho began thinking even more seriously about dumping Diebold when, 
on July 13 at 11:09 a.m. he received a letter warning him that Diebold 
would not support his system if he purchased Automark for the disabled. In the 
state of Illinois, Diebold apparently has not made the same threat, and on Jan. 
9 this year Illinois certified the AutoMark for use with Diebold optical 
Matters got worse. Leon County was paying $6,000 a year for an active 
contract with Diebold to provide software upgrades. The state of Florida had 
certified a central tabulator upgrade, GEMS 1.18.19, in March 2005. 
In August, Sancho was notifed that the city of Tallahassee was going to 
conduct a referendum. 
"I contacted Diebold and asked, 'Why haven't we receved 18.19?" Sancho 
says. "I was placed on hold and then shifted to Michael Lindroos [the 
attorney for the Diebold, Inc. board of directors]. 
"I asked Mr. Lindroos, I said 'We have a contract with you for the 
software, there seems to be some stalling for the receipt of this software.' He 
directly told me we would not receive the new software unless we signed a new contract. 
"Now, I have a signed check here, Diebold cashed the check. They’re in 
breach of their contract." 
ES&S and Leon County proceeded ahead for the transition from Diebold to 
As the last step for the sale, Sancho told ES&S, "We’re going to 
require one test. We'll use your equipment on November 17, and if it performs 
satisfactorily we'll proceed. It performed well, and we received the contract. I spoke with 
Al Benek (VP Operations) and Dick Fox (VP Accounting). ES&S invited our staff to 
join the ES&S users group. We were treated as if we were already a member of the 
ES&S community." 
"Everything seemed copacetic. I told them we had their estimate and 
would they cut off $50,000 off their estimate. Mr Fox said not a problem, Mr. 
Benek said not a problem. We shook hands on the deal. They sent the contract back to 
ES&S for the adjustment, and I waited to get it so I could cut the check. 
Near the end of December, Sancho received a call from the Florida 
representative for ES&S, telling him there was a problem. 
"He said, 'You need to talk to the president,'" Sancho says. "I said 
certainly, I volunteered to fly to Nebraska to directly talk to him face to face." 
They ended up setting up a conference call. And on Dec. 29, just two 
days before the HAVA deadline, Sancho got the final decision by way of a 
message left on his voicemail. 
Gary Crump, from ES&S, said in the recorded message that ES&S had made 
a decision not to sell to Leon County, claiming that the resources of 
ES&S were stretched to the limit and therefore they had decided only to sell to 
existing customers, and customers they had been pursuing and involved with for a 
long time. 
Whatever. That doesn't explain why they just sold a system to Volusia 
County, when it dumped Diebold on Dec. 17, nor why ES&S sold their system to a 
number of other jurisdictions in the U.S. 
"They praised Leon County as recognized as an industry leader but said 
'We just can't provide you the equipment,'" said Sancho. "Coming as it did 
at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day, we are now subject to losing almost 
$600,000 of HAVA monies, and ES&S chose not to fulfill approximately 
1.8 million in sales." 
This includes a decision to decline to sell the AutoMark, which may 
violate ES&S's agreement with the makers of AutoMark. 
What's next? Sancho admits he's been on the front lines, and that it's 
no fun to take bullets from the voting industry while he stands his ground on 
behalf of the voters of Leon County. He's playing his cards close to the vest. 
"We have made preliminary contacts with legal representatives of 
Diebold pursuant to a number of issues," he says. 
Ion Sancho is to be credited not only with taking a stand on behalf of 
his voters. He has forced the voting machine vendors to show their true colors, and 
honest elections officials throughout the country are struggling with 
untenable options. 
America, if ever there was a time to stand shoulder to shoulder, and 
show support of an American hero, this is the time. 
The time has come for a congressional investigation with subpeona power 
and testimony under penalty of perjury. This can be state or federal. 
Whoever gets Diebold and ES&S and key figures in the certification process under 
oath first will join Sancho in the history books. 
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(1) All American Paper Chase 
(2) Waste Archeology Watchdogs 
(3) Candid America Project 
Black Box Voting is fighting for your right, as a citizen, to oversee 
Your elections. We are working on issues of voting machine security and 
accuracy,timely production of key elections public records, and providing 
training and consultation for citizens who want to get involved.
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It is important for American citizens to re-learn how to act independently of 
Any organization. This is the best way for true citizen oversight to become 
A national habit.
Do not expect any group, coalition, master plan or agenda to oversee 
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Be nothing more daunting to any corrupt public official than an autonomous
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