This past week I was at the kick-off meeting of the LA County Voting System Assessment Project’s (VSAP) Technical Advisory Committee. The VSAP is Registrar/ClerkDean Logan’s intense and groundbreaking effort to design, develop, procure and implement a publicly owned voting system. I am honored to be asked to serve on such an important body.
LA County is the largest election jurisdiction in the US, with 5 million registered voters, 10 languages, 5,000 precincts and a very large physical area. The county currently uses the InkaVote Plus voting system (with Audio Ballot Booth for accessibility), which is essentially an overhaul of former punchcard equipment to use inked styluses for marking and to provide in-precint checks for the voter in case they make mistakes.
Here is the InkaVote Plus system and the Microcomputer Tally System (MTS) that is used to rapidly count (>1,200 ballots per minute!) ballots after they’re returned to the Registrar’s Norwalk, CA headquarters:
- Henry Balta (Senior Assoc. CIO, LA County)
- Mike Byrne (Professor of Psychology and Computer Science, Rice)
- Josh Franklin (IT Specialist, NIST)
- Diane Goldin (Policy Coordinator, AATAP)
- Joseph Lorenzo Hall (Senior Staff Technologist, CDT)
- Brian Hancock (Director, Testing and Certification, EAC)
- Jared Marcotte (Technology Manager, Pew)
- Noel Runyan (Principal, Personal Data Systems)
- Rich Sánchez (CIO, LA County)
- Pam Smith (President, VVF)
- Charles Stewart III, (Professor of Political Science, MIT)
- David Wagner (Professor of Computer Science, UC Berkeley)
The mission of the TAC is to provide technical advice to LA County through a design and development process to meet a variety of goals and principles that LA County has determined its voting system must meet.
While we’ll have an official web page and other materials soon for public perusal, I was able to take a number of photos and videos during a tour of the tabulation and storage facilities that we had during the end of the day. Find them at this Flickr photo set.
I’ll leave you with the following video, that shows just how fast their card reader tabulation system, the MTS, can count ballots — a blazing 600 ballot cards in 28 seconds! This is just one example of a metric that will be difficult to match in a new system!