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LA VSAP (Smartmatic) contract info

Citizens Oversight (2020-03-07) Ray Lutz

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More Info: Election Integrity

Contracts -- For those who want to get into the weeds ...

LA County Contract w/IDEO for design and consultation on new voting system (approved Oct. 21, 2014)

SB 450 (signed into law Sept. 29, 2016, author Ben Allen)

Smartmatic $282-million contract (approved by county supervisors June 12, 2018)

(attached memo by Dean Logan, reviewed by WILLIAM KEHOE Chief Information Officer)

“ … effective June 12, 2018, through March 31, 2027 with three, 2-year optional extensions through March 31, 2033, for a maximum dollar amount of $282,097,321, including extensions. 2. Delegate authority to the RR/CC, or designee, to execute future amendments to extend the contract for three (3) 2-year option terms provided approval from County Counsel and Chief Executive Office (CEO) is obtained.

Addendum/CIO Analysis of Contract (cites numerous concerns, including readiness, systems interface, patent infringement, logistical risks in the supply chain, etc.)

Digital Foundry $12-million Contract (vote tallying)

Below is an email I sent to all five county supervisors last July, 2019: Ridley-Thomas & Barger were unresponsive; other supervisors assigned staff to respond to me, though ultimately the supervisors deferred to Logan who declined to send out all vote by mail ballots to be dropped off at voter centers. The RR staff did work with me to locate voter centers on almost all public college campuses in LA County, so I do not think there was an intentional disenfranchisement of students with all of these provisionals.


1) Please formally direct the RR to issue paper vote by mail ballots to ALL of LA County’s 5.1 million registered voters, so that voters can drop off their ballots at the voter centers or send the ballots through the mail without relying on new touchscreen machines that can still be used for special needs voters or those requesting the touchscreens.

· SB-450, the legislation for voter centers, requires all of the piloting counties, EXCEPT LOS ANGELES, to send vote by mail ballots to everyone. We should not be, however, rolling out for the first time 31,100 ballot marker devices (BMD's) or touchscreen voting machines vulnerable to security breaches and malfunctions in a monumental 2020 primary and general election. Orange County, with over a million voters, will be sending out vote by mail ballots to everyone, as will Fresno and Sacramento County.

· Not only will this be the first time, under the current plan, that LA County is piloting these "Smartmatic" BMD's but it will also be the first time LA County is contracting with Digital Foundry to INTEGRATE the tallying of vote by mail ballots with the tallying of the ballots cast on the BMD's.


· The Smartmatic contract is for $282-million dollars from 2018 to 2027, with extensions by the RR until 2033. The County, however, only has (according to the RR's report to the supervisors on June 12, 2018--also included with the contract link) $49 million (pending certification), another $43 million from the CA State Budget, $8 million from an assembly bill, and 11.5 million from the federal government, which totals: $111.5 million. Where will the other $171 million come from? (this isn't even figuring in the cost of Digital Foundry's tally and E-poll book contract for $12-million, or the money to pay two law firms to cover the legal costs of this contract).

· The RR's report says "RR/CC is working on revising the election billing methodology to include a fee to recover system implementation costs" but it's not clear what that means, though at the voter center informational meeting a representative from the RR mentioned the office is interested in selling the software they develop with Smartmatic to others.


· After LA County approved the contract with Smartmatic, another voting systems company Election Systems filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Smartmatic (this possibility was alluded to in the CIO's report before the contract's approval, "RR/CC and County Counsel are mitigating this risk by engaging a law firm that specializes in patent law.")

Though the plaintiff’s argument seems weak, I would not want to see LA County also become the target of a patent infringement lawsuit or plan to sell software another company claimed was theirs.


Smartmatic is a privately held company with offices that span the globe. The company, founded by three Venezuelans, provided electronic voting machines for Chavez’s Venezuelan elections, and was the subject of analysis (leaked by Wikileaks) by the US Embassy in Caracas, which called Smartmatic “a riddle of a company.”

· Smartmatic reportedly ran into problems in the Philippines in 2016 with reports alleging Smartmatic had “funneled votes through unofficial servers.” Several Smartmatic employees were criminally indicted, with one of the employees reportedly fleeing the country. In Belgium in 2012 the government complained of technical problems with voters being able to vote twice.


According to the CIO report (6/4/18--at the end of the contract link), there are:

· "risks involving compatibility" with software (tally system, E-poll book) developed outside of this contract;

· (b) chain of custody challenges (hardware manufactured in Taiwan, software developed in Culver City, hardware assembly and software load in South Carolina and acceptance testing in LA County (with multiple links in the chain presenting integration challenges, as well as vulnerabilities for hacking or viruses,);

· (c) financial stability of Smartmatic is not a certainty because of the company's "limited footprint and revenue(valued on-line at $250 million annually, not even the amount of the county's contract); (d)

· certification challenges: "Because of the very aggressive time-line there are risks in the area of timely system certification and full implementation" and "before using in any official election, the VSP solution must be certified by the Secretary of State."


From Election Integrity Advocate Jennifer Cohn:


In some instances, the scanner only reads and counts the barcode or QR code, not the voter’s choices on the ballot, making it impossible to verify the vote in an audit.


Despite assertions that the DRE’s are not connected to the Internet, they may be connected to WIFI when the ballot choices in various languages are initially uploaded to a server. Cyber security experts argue the machines can be gamed to flip votes or fill in under votes.


Computers break down and can be expensive to service or replace.

2) Please pursue with the RR the possibility of printing paper ballots at these voter centers for those who did not receive a vote by mail ballot or are registering for the first time or want to change their registration or ballot preference (NPP's to DP).

3) Please pass a Board resolution directing the RR to, whenever possible, locate a voter center or precinct polling operation on a public college campus. Such a resolution can empower a Registrar when reaching out to college administrators who may not fully grasp the benefits to their students. I do understand from my communications with Aaron Nevarez at the RR that placement of voter centers on public college campuses will be a priority.

In summary, please introduce a motion requiring the RR send out paper vote by mail 2020 primary and general election ballots (which are now easily readable thanks to our RR) that can be hand marked to all registered voters in LA County and make paper vote by mail ballots that can be hand marked available, upon request, at the voter centers. Orange County will make paper ballots available at their voter centers.

Thank you, Supervisor Barger, for your time and consideration of this important matter. My best to you and your staff.

Smartmatic Contract

(page 45) 8.26 LIQUIDATED DAMAGES; OTHER REMEDIES 8.26.1 If, in the reasonable good faith judgment of the Registrar-Recorder, or his/her designee, the Contractor is deemed to be non-compliant with the terms and obligations assumed hereby, the Registrar-Recorder, or his/her designee, at his/her option, in addition to, or in lieu of, other remedies provided herein, may deliver written notice to the Contractor specifying with particularity the nature of such default, and if such default is not cured within thirty (30) days after delivery of such notice, or if such default is of a nature that cannot be cured within such thirty (30) day period and the Contractor has not commenced the cure of such default and thereafter diligently prosecutes such cure to completion, then the County may withhold an entire monthly payment or deduct pro rata from any Contractor’s invoice for work not performed provided that such withholding under this Section 8.26.1 shall not exceed, in aggregate, an amount that is five percent (5%) of the total Contract Sum. Any amounts so withheld shall be paid to the Contractor pursuant to the first monthly invoice following the cure of such default.


8.43.1 The County may, by written notice to the Contractor, terminate the whole or any part of this Contract if in the judgment of the County’s Project Director:

• Contractor has materially breached this Contract;

• Contractor fails to timely provide and/or satisfactorily perform any

task, deliverable, service, or other work required under this

Contract; or

• Contractor fails to demonstrate a high probability of timely

fulfillment of performance requirements under this Contract, or of

any obligations of this Contract and, in either case, fails to

demonstrate convincing progress toward a cure within ten (10) days

(or such longer period as the County may authorize in writing) after

receipt of written notice from the County specifying such failure.

8.43.2 In the event that the County terminates this Contract in whole or in part as provided in Section 8.43.1, the County may procure, upon such terms and in such manner as the County may deem appropriate, goods and services similar to those so terminated. The Contractor shall be liable to the County for any and all excess costs incurred by the County, as determined by the County, for such similar goods and services. The Contractor shall continue the performance of this Contract to the extent not terminated under the

provisions of this subparagraph.

On Fri, Mar 6, 2020 at 7:21 PM Marcy Winograd <> wrote:

Thanks for the report on the provisionals, Linda. A couple of questions — Lauren and I witnessed the distribution of provisionals to many of the UCLA students waiting 2-3 hours in line to vote. Was this the situation at other public colleges? I’m wondering how many of those provisionals were youth voters. Also I’m a little unclear (in reference to the post below) why someone who was once registered outside the county but re-registered in the county should have a provisional ballot sitting in a tray. Did they have to do more checking of the person’s identity or what? Also, Linda, any idea if the RR’s office is charting/noting the number of provisionals not counted as valid and why? Thanks again for going down there! Marcy

Another reason a ballot may be set aside is if the voter was once on the roles, but was not anymore. They said that they had moved out of the county, but now had an address in the county. there were quite a lot of those, too. I wondered if that was actually true. Perhaps they were inactive and purged?

Sent from my iPhone

'> On Mar 6, 2020, at 6:05 PM, laurensteiner57 <> wrote:
'> Another reason a ballot may be set aside is if the voter was once on the roles, but was not anymore. They said that they had moved out of the county, but now had an address in the county. there were quite a lot of those, too. I wondered if that was actually true. Perhaps they were inactive and purged?


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Title LA VSAP (Smartmatic) contract info
Publisher Citizens Oversight
Author Ray Lutz
Pub Date 2020-03-07
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Topic revision: r2 - 20 Jun 2020, RaymondLutz
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