EC picks tribe’s new election service company
Lindsay Earls, Cherokee Nation Election Commission vice chairwoman, discusses election companies the commission was considering hiring during its Sept. 11 meeting to run the tribe’s 2013 elections. JAMI CUSTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – At a Sept. 19 special meeting, the Cherokee Nation Election Commission voted to hire Unisyn Voting Solutions as the tribe’s new election company for the upcoming 2013 elections.
EC Vice Chairwoman Lindsay Earls said Unisyn Voting Solutions would “provide all the necessary hardware and accessories for our elections…including voting machines, ballot boxes, and the scanners used for counting.’
“They will also provide absentee ballot mailing services, will assist with the training of our poll workers, will provide a local project manager and will support the staff and commissioners throughout the election process,” Earls said.
As of press time, no contract had been written or signed, but the estimated cost from Unisyn Voting Solutions was $274,000. This amount does not include the cost of a potential run-off election.
“Unisyn Voting Systems impressed us with their attention to addressing the specific needs of the Cherokee voters,” Earls said. “At our first meeting, our consultant requested the Cherokee Election Code and within days developed a timeline of services that is based on the timeline that was prescribed by our laws. They were quick to suggest technology that would fit the needs of the Cherokee electorate, and their bid most closely reflected both the desires of the commission and the steps required of us by our law.”
Earls said several companies were considered for the CN elections before Unisyn Voting Solutions was chosen, including Hart Intercivic/Maxim Consulting, True Ballot, Elections USA, Padgett Communications and LHS Associates/Midwest Printing.
According to Unisyn Voting Solutions’ website, the company is based in Vista, Calif., and has a mission to “help each jurisdiction create greater voter and election worker confidence for years to come.”
Automated Election Services in Rio Rancho, N.M., ran the tribe’s elections for more than 10 years. However, controversy struck the 2011 CN election when the winner of the principal chief’s race couldn’t be decided in the general election. The tribe’s Supreme Court ordered a second vote in the race and the Election Commission brought in the Carter Center to observe the election.