Following Wednesday’s Govern-ment meeting, the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan, announced plans for the disposal of the State’s 7,500 electronic voting equipment.
A request for tenders is to be published before the end of January seeking proposals for either the purchase of the equipment or for its disposal through a process of recovery as waste, consistent with environmental and other obligations.
“I want to finally draw a line under the electronic voting project and also see that the equipment is disposed of properly. €54.756 million has been wasted on the project to date and every effort must be made now to sell the equipment and get as much of these costs back as is possible in the circumstances,” Minister Hogan said.
“The market is to be tested to see if there are any interested parties that may want to buy the machines. While being optimistic, we also need to be realistic. It is possible that no reasonable or acceptable offer for sale will be received. That is why the request for tenders will also allow proposals for the recovery of the equipment. If this is the outcome of the tendering process, the electronic voting machines would then be dismantled.
The recovery process would be carried out in line with national legislation and European regulations on the treatment of waste electrical and electronic equipment,” Minister Hogan added.
Under European Union procurement rules, a minimum of 52 days must be provided for the receipt of proposals. Tenders will be assessed by the task force and recommendations made to the minister. Contracts will then be put in place with the successful tenderer or tenderers.
While the most significant element of the electronic voting equipment is the actual machines themselves, there are a number of other pieces of hardware. These include electronic and non-electronic items. The following quantities of items are being offered for sale or recovery:
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 and 918 tray attachments for tables.
When the decision not to proceed with the electronic voting project was taken in April 2009, an inter-departmental task force was established to bring the project to a conclusion.
It comprises nominees from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, Office of Public Works and Department of Defence. It is chaired by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government.