Bulgaria election body picks supplier for 1600 voting machines

Bulgaria’s Central Election Commission (CEC) said late on October 14 that it picked private company Ciela Norma to deliver 1600 Smartmatic voting machines ahead of the November 14 presidential and early parliamentary elections.

The CEC said that Ciela Norma offered a lower price compared to state-owned Informatsionno Obsluzhvane in the direct negotiations procedure opened by the election body last week.

Ciela Norma’s bid was 8.49 million leva, or about 4.34 million euro, to supply the machines, each of them with five cards used in the voting process and two flash storage devices, as well as a full election software suite. The contract also includes 2000 additional flash storage devices.

Bulgaria previously acquired 9600 voting machines for the April 4 parliamentary elections from Ciela Norma and an additional 1637 from Informatsionno Obsluzhvane ahead of the July 11 parliamentary election, after election legislation was amended to make machine voting mandatory in precincts with more than 300 voters.

The decision to buy yet more voting machines was due to the fact that voters will be asked to elect both the president and a new National Assembly on November 14.

This would require using two separate ballots, which will increase the voting time and, as a result, necessitate the deployment of a second voting machine in more precincts than in the previous two elections held earlier this year, CEC said.

(Smartmatic voting machine used in Bulgarian elections. Photo: Interior Ministry)

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