Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Who listens to committees anyway?

Secretary of State Nancy Worley has picked Diebold to set up Alabama's voter registration system, even though a bipartisan advisory committee required by federal law said it preferred two other bidders.

Worley, a Democrat, said she chose Diebold, whose bid was the lowest by more than $1.5 million, due to "quality and product and cost." Meanwhile, the committee, whose job was "to pick the system most adaptable to Alabama," unanimously endorsed another vendor and didn't talk about Diebold after the first cut.

Worley's decision caught many committee members, including state Rep. Sue Schmitz, D-Toney, off guard. Schmitz's reaction: "When I got the letter, I said, 'Wow, that's way out in left field.'"

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