New York, NY – In the wake of last year’s Florida presidential vote-counting controversy, three of the nation’s leading technology companies announced Thursday that they are teaming to upgrade the way Americans vote.
Unisys Corp. is joining forces with Dell Computer Corp. (DELL: Research, Estimates) and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT: Research, Estimates) to sell a menu of election systems and hardware, to be called [email protected] Election Solutions.
Blue Bell, Pa.-based Unisys will serve as a systems integrator, bringing together technology that handles every step of the voting process from registration to voting to reporting.
Dell’s contribution to the initiative will supply the computers, on which voters can make their choices using a keyboard or a touchscreen to record their choices. Microsoft will supply the software.
Interestingly enough, Unisys used its first computer, Univac, to accurately predict the 1952 election of Dwight D. Eisenhower as U.S. president before the polls closed.
“With the Unisys [email protected] Election Solutions we will be able to customize our voting solutions to the particular needs of a state or county,” said Kevin Curry, vice president and general manager, Public Sector North America at Unisys. “We can integrate end-to-end solutions that address all requirements, from registration and building voter information repositories, through voter identification and casting the ballot, to tabulating, consolidating and reporting the results. Or we can provide any of the discrete pieces of the process that states or counties want, in the way that will work best for them.”
New public funding earmarked for the upgrade of voting systems is the main impetus behind the initiative. Last month, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., proposed legislation that would put aside $250 million in federal matching funds for each U.S. state to upgrade voting systems.
Only 9 percent of the nation’s voters currently use electronic voting machines; that leaves a large part of the total market seemingly ready for a system upgrade.