Louisiana ends search for new voting machines amid criticism


(Max Becherer/The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate via AP)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s secretary of state decided Wednesday to shelve his search for new voting machines after a barrage of complaints about the bid process from interested election technology companies, the head of the state Senate oversight committee and his fellow Republicans.

Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin sent a letter to Paula Tregre, Louisiana’s chief procurement officer, announcing his decision, asking her to remove the bid solicitation from a state website and requesting that she dismiss protests filed by two companies that wanted to seek the work.

It’s the second time the Republican secretary of state has jettisoned his effort to replace 10,000 Election Day and early voting machines, many of which are decades old. Ardoin also ran into problems with a previous effort in 2018.

The search for voting machines already had been on hold while Tregre reviewed complaints from two interested bidders.

The head of the Louisiana Senate’s elections oversight committee, Republican Sen. Sharon Hewitt, called on Ardoin last week to shelve his current search for voting machines. She said Ardoin rushed into the process without enough public discussion and legislative oversight — particularly amid intense national scrutiny about elections.

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