Niagara Gazette — Role in the process
NTS has grown from humble beginnings on Military Road in Niagara Falls. Today, the company has agreements for election-related services in place with boards of election in 50 counties across the state.
The firm’s website offers “election management services,” including voter registration management, absentee ballot management, election night reporting, voting machine management, full document imaging, poll books and signature digitization. For years, it also has shared a building with Compu-Mail, an affiliate that offers direct mail services and business printing, including, in some cases, to politicians and political parties looking to spread their messages through the mail during campaign season.
Records on file with the county show since signing its original deal with Niagara County in the 1980s, NTS had its service agreement extended in 1993 and several more times since. Each time, county lawmakers, acting on the advice of county attorneys, waived the guidelines requiring the solicitation of bids due to the “unique” nature of the services involved.
In Niagara County, Dewald said NTS primarily offers software used by the board of elections to track voter information and to post election-night results to the board’s website.
According to Dewald, NTS sets up software and systems used by the elections board and provides technical assistance as needed. In essence, he said, the firm provides the “hollow vessel” through which county employees gather and maintain voter information and distribute election-night results to the public.
Dewald notes — as do the county’s Republican and Democratic elections commissioners — that NTS does not provide voting machines. Those are purchased through another vendor. He also notes — as do election commissioners — that NTS staffers are not directly responsible for tallying votes on election nights and that with today’s technology all votes registered on voting machines are recorded on disks within the machines themselves.