Philly city controller approves payment for new voting machines but criticizes purchase process

Philadelphia City Hall.
Photo credit Holli Stephens/KYW Newsradio
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia's city controller has concluded a five-month investigation of the $29 million contract for new voting machines. She said the process was flawed but the company had done nothing that warranted a continued hold on paying for them.

City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart says she found no wrongdoing by voting machine company ES&S once it acknowledged an omission on its bid and agreed to pay a fine. But she did find fault with the way the city executed the best value procurement process that she initiated when she was the city's chief administrative officer.

"This process was opaque, predisposed toward one vendor and raised conflict of interest concerns," she said. 

Rhynhart recommended several steps she said would strengthen the process.

City Commissioner Lisa Deeley thanked the controller for her time but disagreed with her evaluation.

"I do not feel as though the process was tilted toward any vendor, and I believe we made the best decision for the voters of Philadelphia based on a lifetime of experience with Philadelphia elections," Deeley said. 

The machines were purchased under orders from the governor for new election systems statewide and were certified by both state and federal authorities.