Remarks to Butler County Commissioners 1-13-06

By Dr. Itzi Metzli, D-PAC and 10-County Citizens' Coalition for Voter Verified Paper Records

If Butler County Selects ES&S for its Electronic Voting System, then County Taxpayers can Expect to pay Almost $1.4 million More than What HAVA is Giving Us.

Since ES&S has not given us exact cost figures on what its touch-screen voting system will cost Butler County, we need to turn to Westmoreland County's fairly-organized process in its decision to purchase 750 voting booths for a price of $2,851,776. In comparison, we tend to look foolishly, very unprofessional, and worst of all, fiscally irresponsible in our procurement process because Butler County taxpayers will wind up footing the bill for almost $1.4 million more than what HAVA is giving us ($876,759), to switch over to all touch-screen machines which I predict will probably cost Butler County a grand total of more than $2.2 million (or $2,268,305.14 to be more precise). Out of that amount, Butler County citizens will pay 61% (while HAVA will only cover 39%) of the total costs of more than $2.2 million.

Let me state some reasons why this is the case:
#1: Actual Cost Factor: Westmoreland County issued RFI (or "Requests for Information") to electronic machine vendors who wanted to submit RFI responses (which we will call the bids). Out of five companies, Westmoreland County decided to go with ES&S; which was their decision. The important consideration here is that ES&S had to provide Westmoreland County written details as to the vendor's qualifications, project description, and most importantly "cost of proposed services."

A specific break down of Westmoreland's total costs of $2,851.776 to buy 750 machines includes one-time costs (such as hardware equipment) as well as reoccurring costs (such as equipment and system software maintenance which in Westmoreland's case comes out to$107,270 annual reoccurring costs as well as support services to be provided at $1,300 PER DAY). So what cost information does Butler County have? First ES&S's total package was going to cost $1.3 million, now it's $1.6 million, and probably when all is said and done, I predict that it will cost more than $2.2 million. (535 Butler Co. machines divided by 750 Westmoreland Co. machines = 71% that our machines will cost of Westmoreland's total package cost of $2,851,776-which equally roughly $2, 024, 760 so far) But wait-there are more expenses.

#2 Accu-Poll's Comparable Bid Offer: Accu-Poll page #1 reflects this vendor's bid price for Butler County: $1,663,736. At 4.65% over 36 month leasing term, monthly payments will be $49,602.64. To get the total amount of interest over 36 months: Take the monthly lease payment of $49,602.64 x 36 months = $1,785,695.04 minus the original amount of $1,663,736 and that equals to an interest amount of $121,959.04.

#3: Pending PA State Legislation: When HB 2000 and SB 977 passes the PA General Assembly, we as a county must be prepared to be able to print out paper records as we vote with the touch-screen machines. ES&S cost for its VV-PAT (or "Real Time Log Audit") will cost $475 per machine so you multiply it by 535 machines and that equals $254,125. So ES&S total package costs will be so far at $2, 039,820.04 + $76,161.70 annual reoccurring costs ($107,270 x 71% = $76,161.70 per yr x 3 years = $228,485.10 total reoccurring costs for ES&S. So the grand finale total costs for buying the ES&S touch-screen system over a three year term will be $2,268,305.14

#4: HAVA Funds: Since Butler County requested $876,759 to purchase hardware equipment from the HAVA state plan/fund, then that leaves Butler County residents with a bill for $1,391,546.14, or 61% of total costs for allowing the County to go with an all-touch screen voting system. Whereas Westmoreland County will be receiving $3 million of HAVA funds which will cover 100% of their costs , HAVA only wind up paying 39% of our total costs here in Butler County, esp. if we go with ES&E.

So the County Commissioners of Butler County are going to have to raise taxes in order to pay for changing our voting system to an all touch-screen polling place.