April 23, 2019

Consolidation in E-Voting Market: ES&S Buys Premier

Yesterday Diebold sold its e-voting division, known as Premier Election Systems, to ES&S, one of Premier’s competitors. The price was low: about $5 million.

ES&S is reportedly the largest e-voting company, and Premier was the second-largest, so the deal represents a substantial consolidation in the market. The odds of one major e-voting company breaking from the pack and embracing up-to-date security engineering are now even slimmer than before. Premier had seemed like the company most likely to change its ways.

The sale represents the end of an embarrassing era for Diebold. The company must have had high hopes when it first bought a small e-voting company, but the new Diebold e-voting division never approached the parent companies standards for security and product quality. Over time the small e-voting division became an embarrassment, and the parent company distanced itself by renaming the division from Diebold to Premier and publicizing the division’s independence. Now Diebold is finally rid of its e-voting division and can return to doing what it does relatively well.

Comments

  1. Diebold must have been so eager to dispose of Premier. At just $5M, it’s like some sort of a good riddance situation so to speak. Let’s just wait and see if ES&S can rehabilitate their recent acquisition into tip-top shape.

  2. So what are the anti-trust implications?

    I feel more than a little ironic asking that, because on the one hand full sharing of design and implementation information among voting-machine companies and the public would be a wonderful thing for security. But on the other, a concentration of the current secrecy-obsessed vendor pool might well be the only thing worse than the status quo.

    At that price, i’d pretty much expect ES&S to just shut premier down, maybe with a small rump operation to service machines already in the field. Much easier than integrating two competitors or maintaining them under the same corporate umbrella.