Hogan Disposes Electronic Voting Equipment
The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan T.D. has today (28.6.2012) announced that a contract has been awarded for the disposal of the electronic voting equipment. A contract, worth €70,267, was today signed with KMK Metals Recycling Ltd., who are based in Tullamore County Offaly.
Minister Hogan said; ‘I am glad to bring this sorry episode to a conclusion on behalf of the taxpayer. From the outset, this project was ill-conceived and poorly delivered by my political predecessors and as a result it has cost the taxpayer €55 million. While this is a scandalous waste of public money, I am happy to say that we will not incur any further costs in the disposal of the machines. KMK Metals Recycling Ltd will pay €70,267 for all of the equipment. Removal of the equipment from the present storage locations and transportation to the recovery facility by the contractor will commence in the coming week and will be completed by September. The storage costs of the machines were €140,000 per year for the past 3-years, and from next year we will not incur those costs any longer.’
KMK Metals Recycling Ltd was the preferred bidder amongst the seven tenders submitted in response to a Request for Tenders published on 19 January 2012. Proposals were sought for either the purchase of the evoting equipment or for its recovery as waste, consistent with environmental and other obligations. No proposals were received for the purchase of the machines for reuse as an electronic voting system. . The Request for Tenders provided for the contract to be awarded on the basis of the most economically advantageous outcome and KMK Metals Recycling Ltd. quoted the most cost beneficial price for the recovery of all of the equipment. Taking account of the residual value of components contained within the electronic voting system and the potential to reuse some of the supporting items of equipment, the contract provides for a payment of €70,267 to be made to the State.
The Minister added: ’I want to finally draw a line under the electronic voting project and to see that the equipment is disposed of properly. The recovery process will be carried out in line with national legislation and EU regulations on the treatment of waste electrical and electronic equipment. The electronic voting machines will now be dismantled. Whatever elements of the equipment can be reused will be reused. The cost of storing the machines has been a subject of particular interest and implementation of the disposal contract will now enable a line to be drawn under these arrangements in the coming weeks.’, the Minister added.
When the decision not to proceed with the electronic voting project was taken in April 2009, an Interdepartmental Task Force was established to bring the project to an orderly conclusion. It comprised nominees from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, Office of Public Works and Department of Defence. It was chaired by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government.
On taking up office in March 2011, Minister Hogan asked the Task Force to review work it had done for the previous Government. The Task Force recommended that a Request for Tenders invite proposals for both the sale and /or recovery of the equipment. This was done in January 2012.
The Task Force considered the seven tenders received and the Minister accepted the recommendation of the Task Force. From its first meeting in July 2009, the Task Force met on eight occasions. All of its members are public servants and none received any additional payments arising from their work.
Inventory of items of equipment
While the most significant element of the electronic voting equipment is the actual machines themselves, there are a number of other pieces of hardware including electronic and non-electronic items:
7,500 Voting Machines
154 Programme Reading Units (devices for uploading candidate details to the machines for each election and for downloading the votes cast)
12,842 Ballot Modules for the storage of votes cast
292 Cases for carrying the Ballot Modules / Programme Reading Units
1,232 Transport / Storage Trolleys
2,142 Hand Trolleys for moving the machines
4,787 Metal Tilt Tables on which the machines were placed in polling stations
918 Tray Attachments for Tables.
Over 60% of the electronic voting machines are stored at Gormanston Army Camp where there are no ongoing rental costs in respect of the use of this property.
The remaining machines are stored at 13 local premises around the country for which costs do arise. Arrangements are being made for the removal of the equipment from all locations over the coming weeks. The leases which are mainly of short duration will be terminated and there will be no storage costs in 2013.
Storage arrangements for the Evoting equipment
- · In 2010 and 2011 the local storage costs of the electronic voting equipment was €140,000 approximately per annum.
- · Of the 13 local premises used to store the equipment, 4 are likely to be retained by the Returning Officers for the storage of traditional manual voting equipment (ballot boxes, etc) and any costs arising would be met by the Returning Officers as part of their normal duties under the electoral system.
- · 9 of the 13 local premises will no longer be required. The leases are mainly of a short-term nature and will not involve negotiation of termination arrangements or the payment of a penalty to end the leases.
- · At just one of these locations a cost may arise to end the lease and this will be subject to final negotiations with the landlord concerned.