Rhode Island is acquiring 590 new electronic voting machines that will be used for the fall elections. Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea on Thursday unveiled the new equipment, which replaces machines from the 1990s. The Democrat says the vote-scanners will be secure and report results quickly because they use wireless technology. The paper ballot will be different from what Rhode Island voters have used for many years. Voters will now fill in ovals instead of connecting arrows.
Secretary of State Mark Martin will provide an estimated $2.1 million worth of new voting equipment to five counties, his office announced Tuesday. The five counties are Chicot, Cleveland, Jackson, Randolph and Washington. The counties are scheduled to receive the voting equipment and have it operational for the upcoming school elections in September, the Republican secretary of state said. They will join five other counties for which the state this year purchased new election equipment, at a cost of nearly $3 million. The voting equipment will include new voting machines, tabulating machines and software. The counties will use the Express Vote Universal Voting System, which is a touch-screen machine, said Chris Powell, a spokesman for Martin.
The state has awarded Washington County about $1.2 million of election equipment, said Jennifer Price, election commission coordinator. “We are getting the new voting equipment,” Price said. “We’re excited.” The Quorum Court accepted the equipment during its meeting Thursday. The county put aside $420,000 for the equipment. Election commissioners have said they were worried the state wouldn’t provide equipment in time for the general election Nov. 8, which is expected to have a large voter turnout. The county’s equipment is from 2006 and was starting to break down, Price said.
Despite fears of a botched debut of Maryland’s new voting machines, state election officials say they received few reports of glitches and voter confusion in Tuesday’s primary. The election marked Maryland’s long-awaited switch to paper ballots tallied by scanner, nearly a decade after lawmakers decided to ditch electronic machines that leave no paper trail. Late last year, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and his administration raised concerns about election officials’ rushing the new machines into service. They relented when the machine vendor, Election Systems and Software, offered to devote additional staff and resources on a successful rollout.
Cities and towns in Dale County that believed they rented voting machines from the Dale County Commission for past elections were actually renting those machines from a former county employee, Dale County Commission Chairman Mark Blankenship said Tuesday. Blankenship said he will send letters to municipalities in the county addressing changes on how to obtain voting machines for upcoming elections after confusion over how the process was handled before. For the municipal elections this summer, Blankenship said the municipalities will be able to rent the machines from Election Systems & Software (ES & S). The county obtains its machines from ES&S as well. Blankenship said the decision came after discovering that in years past, a former county employee who had access to the county’s voting machines would take vacation from the county job in order to operate a company called Voting Machines Technology, in which municipalities were billed between $200 and $500 for use of the county’s voting machines.
Sebastian County is poised to test new voting equipment for the state by letting county voters use it in the March 1 primaries. The Sebastian County Election Commission and county officials unveiled Tuesday the 250 voting machines, 54 tabulators and 94 digital poll books that will be set up in the county’s 41 polling places March 1 and in three early voting sites. Early voting begins Tuesday and runs through Feb. 29. For the past 10 years, voters in Sebastian County have had the option of voting on now-obsolete electronic machines or by paper ballot, Election Commission Chairman David Damron said. Both will be replaced by equipment the Arkansas secretary of state’s office bought from Omaha, Neb.-based Electronic Systems & Software for testing in Sebastian, Boone, Columbia and Garland counties.
The Maryland State Board of Elections announced Thursday, Feb. 4, a change to how the new voting system equipment will be used during early voting for the 2016 presidential primary election. For this election, most early voters will manually make their selections on paper ballots and feed the marked ballots into a digital scanner. Voters with disabilities may use an accessible ballot marking device at each early voting center to make selections independently. With this change, the voting process during early voting will be identical to the Election Day process. … As initially designed, all voters during early voting would have used an accessible ballot-marking device to make selections. The voter would then feed into a digital scanner the ballot printed from the ballot marking device.
Idaho: Boundary County now has new electronic voting tabulators, will be used in upcoming March Presidential Primary | Newsbf
Elections and voting in Boundary County will take a technological leap forward this year. Two months from today is the Idaho Presidential Primary election, scheduled for March 8. Boundary County voters on that day will find there has been a substantial change in how they cast their ballots. Up until now, ballots in Boundary County were counted by humans, and by hand. Four or five poll workers staffed the vote counting rooms. One worker would read each ballot aloud, one at a time, while a second worker observed closely as a witness to make sure the ballot was read correctly. Two or three other poll workers would tally votes as the ballots were read. After every 25 ballots, they would stop, and the workers tallying the votes would compare and balance their counts to ensure all were recording the same totals. Poll workers in the counting rooms were not allowed to leave the room until all votes were counted.
Maryland voters will now have paper ballots they can review before finally submitting them this election season, and the Hagerstown races will be nonpartisan, the director of the Washington County Election Board said. State officials decided in 2007 to return to paper balloting, once the state had the funding available, so there will be a voter-verifiable paper trail, according to Washington County Election Director Kaye Robucci and the State Board of Elections’ website. If voters participate in early voting, they will use a machine with a touchscreen to select their choices, but that machine will print out a paper ballot that allows voters to review their choices before submitting the ballot officially, Robucci said.
Voters in Maryland will be casting their votes with black pens and paper ballots in the upcoming presidential primary, nearly a decade after lawmakers decided to get rid of touch-screen machines that leave no paper trail. The search for new equipment was mired in delays and setbacks before the state finally approved a $28 million contract last December. And even with the new ballots and scanners in hand, Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration has raised questions in recent weeks about whether the state is headed for disaster in its rush to get them up and running. Rockville and College Park deployed the new machines without trouble in their fall municipal elections, but the April 26 primary election will be the first statewide test of the new system. Voters will be casting ballots in the presidential primary and in heated races to nominate candidates to succeed Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) in the U.S. Senate and to fill two open congressional seats.
The first shipment of new election equipment for Boone County was delivered in the pouring rain Tuesday afternoon and secured in the new election central location, the former Vision Video building. The Secretary of State’s Office earlier this year chose Election Systems and Software of Omaha, Nebraska, as the vendor to replace the state’s voting machines. Boone County was chosen as one of four counties in a pilot program to begin using the new machines by the March 2016 primary election. ES&S’s bid of $29,928,868 was the highest of three companies interested, but Boone County Clerk Crystal Graddy said in June that it was the only company who had the necessary machines in stock in a warehouse and could deliver them quickly, in time for the 2016 primary election.
Sarasota County commissioners, at their Nov. 17 meeting, unanimously approved the purchase of a new voting system without a sealed bid process, after becoming dissatisfied with one of the two certified vendors in Florida. The county will pay $1.65 million for the system, to be purchased from Election Systems & Software (ES&S). That purchase will be paid for initially by a loan from the Pooled Commercial Paper Loan Program of the Florida Local Government Finance Commission Program, and repaid over seven years from the general fund. Because there were only two vendors available, one of which had been deemed operationally unacceptable, the county elected not to use a sealed-bid procurement process.
Two months after Secretary of State Ken Detzner visited Marianna to talk about elections equipment headed to 12 small counties, new voting machines arrived at the offices of Jackson County Supervisor of Elections Sylvia Stephens. “We are very excited to have our new equipment delivered so we can prepare and look forward to a successful election year in 2016,” Stephens said. At the Oct. 13 county commission meeting, the board opted to buy the updated equipment, part of a deal negotiated between the small-county consortium, the state and equipment vendor Elections Systems & Software. For the $1.5 million transaction, the roughly $131,000 cost to Jackson County will be reimbursed by grant dollars passed on from the state. Trading in older models helped facilitate a discount on the new machines.
The Hogan administration has raised concerns that Maryland’s new $28 million voting system may not be ready for the April 26 primary, but the state’s top election official has rejected the idea of delaying the launch and using old machines. In a memo to the State Board of Elections obtained by The Baltimore Sun, elections administrator Linda H. Lamone warned that continuing to use Maryland’s old touch-screen voting system would be “very risky.” Lamone told board members that “it has been suggested” the state use the older system for the primary with an eye to implementing the new one for the November general election. Her memo did not specify who offered the suggestion, but the Hogan administration acknowledged Friday that its Department of Information Technology had raised “grave concerns” about the state’s new paper-based system.
Maryland technology officials are questioning whether the state can successfully implement its new paper-ballot voting system in time for the 2016 election cycle, citing a host of issues that include dozens of unresolved hardware and software problems. David A. Garcia, secretary for Maryland’s Department of Information Technology, last week expressed “strong concerns” to State Board of Elections Administrator Linda H. Lamone about the project’s progress, according to a statement on Friday from the Information Technology department. The state legislature approved a switch from digital to paper-ballot machines more than seven years ago, responding to concerns about reliability, accessibility and security with the electronic system. However, lawmakers did not fund the change until last year.
When Maryland voters head to the polls next year, there will be two different systems in place for both early voting and the general election, including the use of paper ballots. The Baltimore City Board of Elections provided a first look at the new way of voting being rolled out across the state next year. Maryland is going back to a paper ballot for the general election, but early voting in April will involve paper and a computer. City election director Armstead Jones said the new system will help create oversight. “Several years ago people talked about wanting a receipt,” Jones said. “Unfortunately they still won’t have a receipt, but the paper will serve as a backup.”
A new machine that voters will use to cast their ballots in the territory’s next election will not only save the V.I. Board of Elections money on paper costs, but it will also reduce the chance of voting errors, said Willie Wesley Jr. of Omaha-based company Election Systems and Software. “It’s going to actually put the Virgin Islands on the cutting edge of technology,” Wesley said. “If there’s something out there more advanced than this, I want to see it.” Wesley, who has been working with Elections Supervisor Caroline Fawkes to overhaul the territory’s voting technology, gave a demonstration of the new machine at Tutu Park Mall on Thursday evening. The machine is called ExpressVote and is a touchscreen computer system that voters insert a blank ballot into before making selections. The ExpressVote then prints barcodes on the ballot that can be read by an electronic tabulator.
Following weeks of intense negotiations, the Florida Department of State has agreed to release funds obtained under the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) to purchase a new state-of-the art voting tabulation system for a 12-county consortium that includes Franklin County. In an article published in late 2014, Secretary of State Ken Detzner expressed concerns with aging voting equipment being utilized in many Florida counties. His remarks mirrored conclusions found in a non-partisan presidential commission on the voting experience that was released last year. When emerging technology and “mileage” are factored, experts generally estimate the useful shelf life of tabulation hardware and software to be about 10 years. Franklin County is utilizing tabulation equipment that while has proven to be reliable to date, was purchased nearly 15 years ago.
Press Release: Monongalia County First In Nation To Have Every Voter Use ExpressVote And DS200 Technology To Cast Votes | Election Systems & Software
Election Systems & Software (ES&S) hit two milestones on July 2 thanks to a unanimous decision by the Monongalia County Commission. Monongalia will be the first county in West Virginia to purchase our ExpressVote® Universal Voting System as well as DS200® in-precinct vote scanners and tabulators, furthering their reputation as a technological leader in the state. This county will also be the first in the nation to have every voter use an ExpressVote when marking their vote selections. ExpressPoll® Electronic Pollbooks will also be used, although Jackson County, West Virginia precedes them in this purchase area. While our ExpressVote and DS200 in-precinct voting system configuration is the most widely used in vote centers and on Election Day, most customers use the ExpressVote as their ADA compliant voting solution. Monongalia will blaze the trail as the first to implement our visionary voting approach for every eligible voter from start to finish. Voters will check-in on ExpressPoll tablets and receive a paper activation card. Once inserted into the ExpressVote, each voter will use the touch screen interface to mark and confirm their selections, receiving a verifiable paper record upon completion. This record has printed text, identifying a voter’s selections, as well as an optical scan barcode that contains each selection. From there they simply feed their paper record into the DS200, where they receive on-screen confirmation that their vote has been cast.
Virginia: Henrico to spend $1.2 million to replace outdated voting equipment | Richmond Times-Dispatch
Henrico County has agreed to pay $1.2 million to buy new voting equipment after state authorities decided hundreds of machines the county already owns are no longer fit for use. Registrar Mark J. Coakley announced the purchase to the county’s Board of Supervisors at its Tuesday meeting. The State Board of Elections voted earlier this month to disallow the use of WinVote touch-screen voting machines due to security concerns. Henrico owned about 800 of the machines and only a handful of others. The county will replace the touch-screen machines with optical scan devices. To use the new machines, voters will fill out paper ballots, then feed them into the machines.
Press Release: ES&S to Provide New Machines for York County’s November Election | Election Systems & Software
Election Systems & Software (ES&S), LLC, partnered with Printelect, Inc., is privileged to add another Virginia locality to our customer base. This November, citizens of York County will cast votes using our DS200 tabulator thanks to the York County Board of Supervisors’ unanimous decision Tuesday. More details are available in the abbreviated article below.
York County Supervisors Agree to Purchase New Voting Machines
This November, York County citizens will be using a new voting system to cast their votes in the general election. The York County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to purchase new voting machines and software that will replace the county’s current aging voting software, called AccuVote, and its companion, the WINVote machine used by voters with disabilities. “We’ve known this was coming,” he said at the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, explaining the current system was approaching 20 years old.
With its current equipment inventory, the Forsyth County Board of Elections would have to make a tough choice for the 2016 general election: offer fewer early voting sites than it did in 2012 or offer fewer electronic voting machines at each site. Steve Hines, elections director for Forsyth County, presented those scenarios to election board members on Tuesday as part of his pitch for new equipment. He put in a budget request this year for about $1.4 million to replace the county’s voting equipment, which is about 10 years old. County commissioners will decide in the next few months whether to approve the request. In the 2012 general election, Forsyth County had 15 early voting sites, Hines said.
Press Release: ES&S Wins Contract to Provide New Voting Technology for the City of Virginia Beach | Election Systems & Software
Election Systems & Software, LLC (ES&S) announced Thursday that the company has inked a contract with the City of Virginia Beach, Va., to replace the jurisdiction’s existing touch-screen voting system with an innovative secure paper ballot scanning and tabulation system. After a detailed and thorough procurement process, the City of Virginia Beach evaluation committee selected ES&S’ DS200 in-precinct digital scanner, and the ExpressVote Universal Voting Device. This voting solution is fueled by Electionware, the election industry’s powerful new election management software. Under the agreement, North Carolina-based Printelect Inc. will provide the City of Virginia Beach with Election Day support, training, equipment maintenance and project management. Together, ES&S and Printelect have provided election services and support to Virginia jurisdictions for over 35 years. “We are excited to implement state-of-the-art voting technology for the citizens of Virginia Beach,” commented Donna Patterson, General Registrar for City of Virginia Beach. “The ES&S voting equipment is user friendly for voters and officers of election. ES&S and their local partner Printelect have an outstanding track record in the Commonwealth as well as across the country, truly distinguishing itself throughout our vigorous evaluation process.”
Rockville will be a guinea pig for Maryland’s new voting machines, but city officials say they’re comfortable the new machines won’t cause problems in the city’s November election. There may be other municipalities that use the new machines in their elections this year, but Rockville will be at least one of the first jurisdictions in the state to use them, said Nikki Charlson, deputy administrator of the Maryland Board of Elections. The state Board of Public Works in December awarded a $28.14 million contract to Election Systems & Software of Omaha, Neb., for more than 3,100 machines to scan ballots and count votes.
Press Release: Wisconsin County Successfully Debuts ExpressVote and DS200 | Election Systems & Software
Election Systems & Software (ES&S), the world’s largest elections-only company, is pleased to announce that Kenosha County, Wisconsin launched a successful first use of its newly acquired voting technology, the proven DS200® in-precinct paper ballot scanner and the company’s innovative ExpressVote® Universal Voting System for a special election held on February 17, 2015. This system is powered by Electionware®, the election industry’s newest and most robust election management software. It was important to Kenosha that their voting systems provide initial results in a timely and accurate manner. The ES&S wireless modem functionality included in the DS200® performed above and beyond the county’s expectations. “We are so pleased with our first use of the ExpressVote and DS200,” commented Mary Schuch-Krebs, Kenosha County Clerk. “The modeming of the voting results from the DS200 is so easy. Our polls closed at 8:00pm and we had our results by 8:20pm,” noted Schuch-Krebs. “The implementation, service and support from ES&S are first class.”
Brevard avoided national embarrassment the past few election cycles because you, the taxpayers, have spent more than $3 million on state-of-the-art voting equipment. So where does the county keep all our cutting-edge, computerized gear — upon which democracy itself depends? It is jammed wall-to-wall in what amounts to a really big, old metal shed in west Cocoa. The Election Support Center warehouse, which also stores meticulously arranged ballots, has no smoke alarms or fire-prevention system such as sprinklers. It has no security system. It has holes in its truck-bay door and holes in walls covered by duct tape. The floors are clean, the gear precisely arranged. But insulation dangles from collapsed portions of ceiling over voting machines. Streaks of black gunk line a wall above racks of ballot bags. “It’s mold,” Elections Supervisor Lori Scott says (although it might only be mildew.)
New voting machines are coming to Virginia Beach. City Council Tuesday is expected to approve spending money right away to get the machines in time for the June primary election. In a letter to council, General Registrar Donna Patterson reminded Council that several TSX machines had to be removed from service during the November 4, 2014 election. 13News Now reported on issues with 32 voting machines at 25 different precincts that showed signs of irregularities and had to be pulled out of service. The City used 820 machines that election.
When the Salem Town Hall surprisingly ran out of ballots during the busy November 2014 election, voting officials were forced to make hundreds of photocopies and tediously hand count the ballots after the polls closed. Thanks to modern technology, this should never happen again. Voting is now easier, cheaper, safer and more efficient with the recent arrival of the DS200 Precinct scanner and tabulator and the ExpressVote universal voting system, according to Kenosha County Clerk Mary Schuch-Krebs. Schuch-Krebs said she’s requested a hardware upgrade since being elected in 2008. “It’s been a long time coming,” Schuch-Krebs said. “I think the voters are going to be really happy with the change.”
Even with the technology available today, Maryland will go back to a paper-based voting system in 2016. The state Board of Public Works last month approved a $28.1 million contract to replace the current touch-screen voting system with machines that scan paper ballots, which can be marked by voters using a pencil or pen. The move comes more than seven years after state lawmakers, seeking a new system with a “voter-verifiable paper record,” approved legislation to replace the touch-screen machines, which have been noted to be unreliable and susceptible to fraudulent activity, according to published reports. Washington County Elections Director Kaye Robucci met with the county Board of Commissioners on Jan. 13 to talk about some of the changes coming with the new system, saying it is expected to be in place for the April primaries of the 2016 presidential election.
Robucci said later in the week that while voters in the county seemed to like the touch-screen voting system, there were others who “never fell in love with it. They didn’t like that they didn’t have a ballot to review, like a paper ballot,” she said. “They were convinced that you could hack the machines. …. We didn’t have any problem with them in Washington County, and it was something that the voters were starting to like, I thought.”
North Carolina: Forsyth County elections office wants to replace equipment; proposal could cost about $1.4M | Winston-Salem Journal
The Forsyth County elections office wants to buy new elections equipment this year, but the county commissioners will have to decide whether to fund the request. Steve Hines, director of elections for Forsyth County, said his office is asking to replace all of its voting equipment – including the optical scanners that record paper ballots at precincts and the larger tabulator used at the elections office. Hines said his office is still in talks with the vendor for Election Systems & Software equipment, but has a rough cost estimate of about $1.4 million. Hines said he hates to ask for that much. “But I’d hate to go through what we went through this past year on a presidential scale,” Hines said. The elections office dealt with a number of hiccups in the general election last November, including breakdowns of vote-counting machines at precincts and the elections office. The equipment is about a decade old. … The county uses paper ballots on Election Day, but it uses iVotronic touch-screen machines for early voting and Election Day handicap-accessible voting. The county will no longer be able to use those machines as of 2018 because they don’t print a ballot.