Northrop Grumman votes to pursue elections business

Northrop Grumman Corp. has signed an agreement with iPaper LLC to exclusively license and manufacture the company's electronic voting systems, Northrop Grumman announced Oct. 30.

The pact signals the entrance of the Los Angeles-based systems integrator into the election services market and coincides with this week's signing of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 by President Bush. The act authorizes $4 billion over three years to improve state and local elections systems.

Northrop Grumman Information Technology of Herndon, Va., and Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems of Baltimore are spearheading the effort to develop and market innovative election systems to state and local government, company officials said.

Northrop Grumman chose the voting solution developed by iPaper, a division of Diversified Dynamics Inc. of Richmond, Va., following a comprehensive evaluation of available technologies and systems, company officials said.

Through the agreement, Northrop Grumman will offer a complete voting solution, including early voting capability, precinct systems and optical-scanning absentee systems.

The election management software programs provide ballot creation, vote tallies and election reports. The solution also includes a ballot module that allows disabled voters to vote using audio rather than visual prompts. The system uses smart cards to identify both polling officer and voter, as well as a device that stores ballot information and voter input.

Northrop Grumman is pursuing certifications state by state for this solution following preliminary certification by the Washington-based National Association of State Election Directors. The company also will be developing a national network of regional third-party election systems providers, which will offer and implement these systems.

The company joins several other large systems integrators that are actively pursuing the elections market, including Accenture Ltd., Hamilton, Bermuda; BearingPoint, McLean, Va. (formerly KPMG Consulting); Electronic Data Systems Corp., Plano, Texas; and Unisys Corp. of Blue Bell, Pa.

Northrop Grumman has about 96,800 employees and annual sales of $13.5 billion, according to Hoovers Online of Austin, Texas.

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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