Voting machine contracts 'to last 25 years'

 

LOCAL AUTHORITIES have contracts of up to 25 years for the storage of e-voting machines and face costs of millions for this facility, the Labour Party has claimed.

Parliamentary replies have shown that the e-voting machines have cost €54 million since first purchased, and storage last year cost €204,000 for the 7,491 machines involved.

If the machines are finally to be got rid of, it could cost the State millions in penalty clauses to buy out these contracts, said Labour environment spokesman Ciarán Lynch. Mr Lynch said in the Dáil yesterday that local authorities have contracts of up to 25 years with private contractors for storage of the voting machines and “will be paying money for the next 20 years”.

He asked if the Government planned to amend “procurement legislation in order to get out” of its commitment “for the next 25 years to pay for the storage of these machines”.

Mr Lynch said later the Minister’s decision to refer ongoing expenditure on e-voting to “An Bord Snip”, the taskforce on cutting public spending, was straight from the “Pontius Pilate school of public administration”. He pointed out that “already there have been several studies done on this, and it is clear to everybody, bar Minister Gormley, that the jig is up for these machines. How much evidence does he need before he acts?” The Government faced major penalties in buying out those storage contracts, he said.