Louisiana to Keep Dominion Voting Machines After Republicans Criticize Replacement Search

Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin has once again shelved an attempt to procure new voting machines after receiving intense criticism from election technology companies, the head of the Louisiana state Senate oversight committee, and other Republicans.

The state had been seeking a company to replace 10,000 Dominion voting machines across Louisiana used in early voting and on Election Day. According to Ardoin, the timing of the search was regrettable, given the baseless allegations of widespread voter fraud by former President Donald Trump, but that Louisiana’s “voting equipment has been around for almost 30 years now, and I just don’t know how much longer they can last without us having major issues,” he told the Associated Press. “The timing may not be perfect, but it certainly gives the Louisiana people the assurance that I’m looking at it from the perspective of a secure, safe and transparent process and election system.”

Dominion Voting Systems has been a major target in conservative Republican criticism of the 2020 election, with many repeating the baseless claim that the machines were easily manipulated. Pro-Trump Republicans even went as far as to blame Dominion machines for Trump’s loss in key swing states. Recently, Dominion filed suit against several high-profile figures, including Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, for spreading the unsubstantiated claims that Dominion machines aren’t secure.

Louisiana Republicans – including the state Senate election oversight committee chairperson Sen. Sharon Hewitt – have criticized the search, much to Ardoin’s display. Last week Ardoin sent a scathing letter to Hewitt accusing her of irresponsibly disparaging is efforts.

“You participated in a politically motivated ruse and launched an unfounded assault on an agency that has the highest requirements for precision during early and election day voting in Louisiana,” Ardoin said. Hewitt had accused Ardoin of rushing the search, blocking legislative oversight, and attempting to avoid public scrutiny. “Please know that your continued quest to place yourself into this discussion has now resulted in Louisiana’s prolonged use of its current inventory of Dominion voting machines for election day and early voting,” Ardoin wrote.

In addition, several elections technology firms, including Texas-based Hart InterCivic and Nebraska-based voting system vendor Election Systems & Services criticized the way the search was being handled, saying Ardoin was attempting to manipulate the bid process – a criticism similar to the ones he received the last time the state attempted to replace the machines in 2018. Both companies felt that Ardoin’s office was attempting to manipulate the bids, limiting the state to choosing a “system virtually identical to the current system.” According to the complaints, the Secretary of State’s office is setting search parameters that favor Dominion Voting Systems for the nearly $100 million contract.

After receiving intense criticism on all fronts, Ardoin finally decided to end the search – a decision applauded by Hewitt.

“I can understand if the Secretary is embarrassed, but I’ve been crystal clear from the beginning. This process must be transparent and thorough. I don’t need an ivy-league study to tell me that the Secretary’s two failed attempts were neither,” Hewitt said.


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