Voting company makes ‘coercive’ demand of Texas counties: Pay up or lose service before election 

Just before the November elections, the owner of a voting corporation admitted on Friday to making a "coercive" demand of 32 counties in Texas: Pay a fee for the software that controls their voting registration system, or lose it.  

San Diego-based VOTEC's John Medcalf explained that his company had problems meeting payroll due to historical payment delays from many agencies in various states, including certain counties in Texas. As a result, he had to ask the counties to pay a 35% premium.  

He painted the accusations as a desperate plea for financial assistance in the days leading up to November, in an effort to keep important staff from leaving. "It is authoritarian, and I deeply regret that," Medcalf expressed. "We've managed to get by for 44 out of 45 years without that."  

The biggest counties in Texas are rushing to approve payments or find another solution to keep the software from being lost due to the surcharges.  

According to Medcalf, VOTEC will uphold the conditions of the counties' contracts until they expire, which for the majority of them is just before November, but extends beyond Texas' May primary runoffs.  

Medcalf stated, "It's either pay now and dislike it or pay with election difficulty." He went on to say that he didn't anticipate any termination of contracts.  

In the current contracts, Medcalf stated that the bills account for 35% of two main line items. On Thursday, the Texas Secretary of State's office announced that it was meeting with counties to discuss their options.

Because the system is so important, Harris, the largest county in Texas, has already committed to paying the fee of almost $120,000.  

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