Antitrust Suit Filed Over Voting Machine Manufacturer Merger
A Patton Boggs partner has filed an antitrust suit over the merger of two large voting machine manufacturers on behalf of a smaller competitor.
The suit, Hart InterCivic Inc. v. Diebold, Incorporated and Election Systems and Software, Inc., was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware on Friday, and an amended complaint was filed Monday. In the complaint, Texas-based Hart alleges that Diebold's sale of its voting machine business to ESS "poses a significant and imminent threat of irreparable harm to the other vendors like Hart....harm to the political subdivisions that constitute the jurisdictions that must purchase voting machines and election systems, and, ultimately, harm to the voters of the United States, in the form of loss of confidence in the integrity and security of the means by which elections are performed."
"If there’s a lack of competition in the voting machines
market we don’t get to benefit from the competition," said Jonathan Rubin, the Patton Boggs partner who filed the suit.
The deal was completed on Sept. 2 and announced by Diebold and ESS on Sept. 3. Hart says the deal would give ESS 68 percent of the voting-machine market. Hart currently has roughly 9 percent. It is asking the court for an injunction.
The company's competitors aren't the only ones with concerns. Acccording to the Associated Press, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) today sent a letter to the Justice Department, raising concerns about the merger and asking for a review.
Diebold spokesman Mike Jacobsen said the company doesn't comment on pending litigation, but "from our perspective, the transaction is done." A spokesman for ESS could not immediately be reached for comment.