Dell Enters Voting Alliance
- By William Welsh
- Jun 04, 2001
Dell Computer Corp. and Hart Intercivic Inc. formed an alliance to manufacture and market voting systems to state and local governments, the companies announced June 4.
By joining forces, the two Austin, Texas-based companies hope to capitalize on the need to modernize and standardize voting technology throughout the United States in the aftermath of last year's presidential election. In that election, the accuracy of equipment was called into question in many jurisdictions throughout the country.
As part of the agreement, Hart Intercivic has given Dell exclusive rights to sell its flagship product, a direct recording electronic system known as eSlate.
Systems such as eSlate allow voters to enter their choices directly into electronic storage using a touch screen, push buttons or similar devices. The voter's choices are then stored in these machines on a memory cartridge, diskette or smart card.
The basic model sells for about $2,500, while two other models designed for voting "judges" and disabled voters sell for about $3,500 apiece, said Hart Intercivic, which provides voting-related products and services to more than 5,000 customers in 14 states.
Although direct recording systems are used in only about 10 percent of the jurisdictions throughout the nation, their use is on the rise, according to the Federal Election Commission. Direct recording and Marksense or optical scan systems are rapidly replacing paper ballots, lever machines and punch cards.
William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.