Election Management in Washington State
In 2018 the Washington Secretary of State created a bid for a statewide election management system, which was awarded to Team BPro. Team BPro worked alongside the SOS to build the customized system to the specifics that were requested in the bid documents.
Who is Team BPro?
It’s actually a collaboration consisting of BPro Inc., Runbeck, and TotalVote. BPro Inc was owned by Brandon Campea, and his wife Abbey Campea. The company was at one point called Brandon Pro Inc. They are headquartered in Fort Pierre, SD. TotalVote is the election management system that BPro created and has sold, set up, and offers continued support for several states, including Washington. Runbeck is a topic for another day, keep an eye out for a post about Agilis and ballot sorting/signature verification equipment.
VoteWA was the product of the election modernization project. It was in planning stages in 2017, and the project was bid on in 2018. It was up and running in time for the 2020 election. Several county election officials expressed concern for the premature roll-out of the system, which proved to be substantiated concerns. When the system first went live, several counties had their data ready to go. Turned out the system couldn’t handle the traffic and ended up crashing. Before a fix was available, they considered having the counties run at different times, even overnight to process data. Team BPro provided ongoing support for the system. This was included in the requirements set forth in the contract, which we obtained through a public records request along with the development of the system. When a county is experiencing any issues, they contact support, who is able to view and access the system remotely and help resolve any glitches or other problems. System outages are frequent.
In February of 2021, BPro was acquired by a private equity firm, known as KnowInk, out of St. Louis. KnowInk was founded in 2011 by former St. Louis election official, Scott Leiendecker. Scott had connections to the GOP while he worked at the St. Louis elections office. KnowInk’s equipment was used in one third of the nation’s counties in 2020. They had 980 jurisdictions using their Poll Pad system across the country, and the acquisition of BPro added another 450. Brandon is expected to remain with KnowInk and stay in the SD location. There are still 10 states and 6 local election jurisdictions with current contracts for various services which are provided by BPro across the country.
The acquisition was made immediately after a significant investment from a private equity firm called Hermann Cos., who invested over 10 million dollars for the purchase of Brandon’s BPro Inc. As a result of the acquisition, KnowInk is now able to include voter registration services, election management, and other widely used election components and services.
Since then, BPro has withdrawn its business registration with the Washington SOS and other states as well. KnowInk is now registered on the corporation section of the Secretary of State’s website. We suspect that it is still BPro staff who is running support and maintenance for VoteWA.
BPro’s website advertises products and services ranging from address verification services, voter registration, election management, election night reporting, online voter registration, voter self-service portal, campaign finance management/tracking, electronic ballot delivery, e-poll books, petition management, and website design.
We found some interesting things within the records relating to VoteWA and Team BPro. One of them was the requirement by the SOS to have the capability to offer online voting services, “in case legislation is written in the future allowing such a method.” That must never be permitted, nor the idea even entertained in the slightest way. From our persective, if that happens, it’s too late to change anything at that point.
Discover other interesting facts and highlighted features of the system in the files provided below, which we obtained over the past year from the state.