Work to redesign the process of how residents vote in Los Angeles County, the largest local election jurisdiction in the U.S., is entering a critical but transformational stage after eight years of research and conceptualization. The county’s Voting Systems Assessment Project (VSAP), which began in 2009 at Caltech essentially as a research project, has been in design for the past three years. But in October, officials signed an agreement with technology researcher and adviser Gartner Inc. to do a sourcing strategy and readiness assessment over a five-month period. Gartner finished its preliminary work at the end of 2016 and should begin reaching out to members of the IT community during the next few weeks to get feedback, likely finishing its assessment by the end of February.
On Wednesday, the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government announced VSAP is one of 100 semifinalists in this year’s Innovations in American Government Awards competition. The project will now compete to be named a finalist and for a chance at the $100,000 grand prize, to be awarded this spring.
By early to mid-summer 2017, Los Angeles County hopes to have an RFP ready for vendors. The agency’s goal is to do some form of piloting of the new voting model during the 2018 midterm elections.