New voting machines in Michigan may cause problems for residents with a visual disability. Tuesday’s primary election will feature $40 million of new equipment that replaced aging voting machines, The Detroit Free Press reported. For more than a decade, blind voters in the state have used AutoMark Voter Assist Terminals, which have a touch screen and a keypad with Braille. A 2015 survey estimates that about 221,000 Michigan residents have a visual disability. Most Michigan counties will now use Dominion Voting Systems, which don’t have keypads with Braille and feature verbal instructions that can be difficult for a blind person to follow. Some counties selected new equipment from Election Systems & Software or Hart InterCivic. About 100 blind people helped test out the three systems in 2016, said Fred Wurtzel, who is blind and is second vice president of the National Federation of the Blind in Michigan. He said most testers preferred the Election Systems equipment, while many said the Hart InterCivic were the most difficult to use.
The goal of Unisyn’s voting machine systems is to keep human beings out of the process as much as possible, “You’re taking that human element out of the process,” said Todd Mullen of RBM Consulting, which is marketing and servicing electronic voting systems for Unisyn Voting Solutions, based in Vista, Calif. “The more you handle a ballot, the more opportunity you have to mishandle it.” Mullen presented Unisyn’s systems Thursday for the Mercer County commissioners and the county’s elections staff in the second of three scheduled demonstrations of voting machine systems. All 67 counties in Pennsylvania are under a mandate by Gov. Tom Wolf to adopt a voting system by January 2020 that provides paper documentation of individual votes, while protecting voters’ identities. Election Systems & Software, based in Omaha, Neb., demonstrated its devices June 14. ES&S company’s products include the iVotronic, which Mercer County residents have been using to cast their votes since 2006. The current system lacks the required paper trail. Dominion Voting Systems of Denver will stop in Mercer County July 12 to present its wares.
For many, exercising their right to vote is more complicated than just filling in a box. Across the state there are voting machines for people with a variety of disabilities. But KTVB spoke with one voter who’s blind and says those expensive terminals weren’t any help. Boise resident Bill Morgan votes in every election he can. However, he says oftentimes it can be a struggle getting to the polls. In addition, if the machines to help people with disabilities are hard to navigate, some people may find voting discouraging. “I think it’s the most important thing I can do as a citizen,” Morgan said. “People died so that I could vote.” Being blind, he’s been using accessible voting machines in general elections for the past several years. “I will vote any way I can,” Morgan told KTVB. “But if I can make my own ‘X’ that just makes me feel proud. I like that.”
Ada County elections officials have stopped short of calling it the first “glitch” in the county’s new $1.6 million voting tabulation system, but it’s definitely on the books as a programming error. Routine testing leading up to the Tuesday’s primary election identified that the first mailing of absentee ballots did not have the correct identifying marks needed to be read by the tabulation software. This first mailing took place on March 30th and included 2,660 mailed ballots. All subsequent ballots mailed have the correct markings and they will tabulate accurately, said Chief Deputy Phil McGrane with the Ada County Clerk’s Office.
Editorials: After thorough process, Colorado chose best possible voting system | Wayne Williams/The Denver Post
Accessible. Accurate. Clean. Fair. Transparent. Integrity. These are key values that guide my decision-making as Colorado’s chief election official and that guided my selection of a new uniform voting system for our state. Colorado’s election equipment is at or near the end of its useful life. Operating systems are no longer supported by Microsoft. National studies have warned about the major risks of failing to replace election equipment. Continuing to use a hodgepodge of inconsistent and incompatible systems across the state poses a grave risk that jeopardizes Colorado elections. For more than three years Colorado has been engaged in the most open and thorough election equipment review in our nation’s history. This past November we tested four different vendors’ equipment in real elections. As noted by federal Elections Assistance Commissioner Matt Masterson: “Colorado has set a model for the nation with its voting system selection process. Requiring field demonstrations and an independent review board are best practices that the commission will share with other states.”
Facing a busy election year, Ada County said a year ago that it would ditch its antiquated voting equipment and get a new voting system in place for the 2016 presidential election. The county has been using outdated, hard-to-find Zip disks and Zip drives, dot-matrix printers and temperamental counting machines to tally and track vote tabulation. “The risks were becoming exceedingly high for a failure on election night,” said Chief Deputy Clerk Phil McGrane. For the March 8 Republican presidential primary, Ada County will debut a state-of-art replacement, the first equipment of its kind to be used in Idaho. Voters will not notice much difference when they vote. They still will receive a paper ballot and use a pen or pencil to fill in a box indicating their selection. The biggest change will be how and where the county counts ballots. Ada County has been using a central counting system. When Election Day polls closed at 8 p.m., workers from nearly 140 polling places scurried to deliver ballots to the central election office for counting. Most ballots arrived about the same time, but then sat and waited to be fed into counting machines.
Voting equipment across Colorado’s 64 counties will have to be replaced in the next two years in order to comply with requirements of a 2009 state law. And Secretary of State Wayne Williams just designated one company, Dominion Voting Systems, as the sole vendor for all the needed gear. The transition is going to be expensive, especially for rural counties that haven’t seen the economic boom experienced across the Front Range. County officials argue forcing them to use one vendor — and not the cheapest — may violate the law and sane fiscal management.
Clackamas County is known for its pioneering spirit, an attitude born in the 1840s when the area was settled by the rugged travelers of the Oregon Trail. No surprise this trailblazing county’s election officials were the first in the State to adopt Verity Voting by Hart InterCivic, the most technologically advanced election system available in the U.S.
“We like to be first and we take pride in moving ahead,” said Sherry Hall, Clackamas County Clerk. “Choosing Verity was a natural choice to upgrade our older system. It’s a new technology that will serve our voters well for years to come.”
Clackamas County officials carefully scrutinized Verity before they embraced the new technology.
America’s aging voting machines increase the risk of Election Day problems, according to a recent report from the Brennan Center for Justice. However, rapidly changing election technology opens the door to voting systems that are more reliable, more usable and less expensive.
“Aging voting systems are a serious issue that must be proactively addressed,” said Phillip Braithwaite, President and CEO of Hart InterCivic, referring to recent news stories about aging election systems based on the Center’s report.
“Failing systems are not Hart systems,” he emphasized. “We support all Hart technologies, and 94 percent of the jurisdictions we serve rank our customer service as excellent or above average.”
Charlottesville resident Paul Jacob has been rocking the vote since he was 18. He’s been voting for nearly 60 years now and he’s seen quite a few changes. “From marking X’s, to punching holes,” said Jacob. “To the computers.” At Tuesday’s election, he’ll see one more. The city registrars office is taking people back to the future when it comes to voting. Touch screens are now a thing of the past and paper is back in style. One reason for the change is because of problems with voting machines in previous years. Another reason is computer hacking. Hacks have occurred across the United States, including Washington, D.C. To prevent that, Rick Sincere from the Electoral Board says the Commonwealth is steering away from computer voting statewide.
One of the largest voting jurisdictions in Minnesota is upgrading its election systems to the newest technology available. Ramsey County officials confirmed this week that Hart InterCivic’s new Verity® Voting system will replace their outdated voting software and hardware.
With nearly 300,000 voters during each election cycle, Ramsey County is the first Minnesota County to adopt the comprehensive Hart solution for managing the process of casting, counting, compiling and reporting votes in all state, federal and local elections. Home of the state capital, St. Paul, the County is a leader in the state’s election community and will be the nation’s largest user of Hart’s Verity system to date. “It’s nice to have a system that won’t soon be obsolete,” said Ramsey County Election Manager Joe Mansky.
A streamlined and secure voting system is now available for use across the state of Idaho. The Secretary of State confirmed recently that Hart InterCivic’s Verity® Voting system passed rigorous testing and review and is certified for purchase by local Idaho jurisdictions. “This certification is a milestone for the voters of Idaho who deserve an easy-to-use and transparent voting experience. Counties are now free to make the Verity Voting system their top choice when they replace aging, perhaps unreliable, equipment,” said Phillip Braithwaite, President and CEO of Hart InterCivic.
Press Release: New Verity Voting System Offers Increased Convenience for Chelan County | Hart InterCivic
Chelan County has become the first Washington county to adopt Hart InterCivic’s new Verity Voting system. Chelan has been a steadfast Hart customer since 2006. With the purchase of the Verity solution, the County will continue to receive consistent and efficient service from a solution provider they trust. Their new Verity system will provide improved usability and overall workflow.
Press Release: Clackamas County, Oregon Seamlessly Moves to New Verity Voting Technology | Hart InterCivic
Clackamas County has become the first adopter of Hart InterCivic’s new Verity Voting system in Oregon. Clackamas is a current Hart customer. They have elected to transition to Verity to gain technological advances available in the new system, while retaining their relationship with a solution provider they know and trust.
Press Release: Washington State Elections Division Certifies Innovative New Voting Technology | Hart InterCivic
Upon completion of an extensive system evaluation by the Washington Secretary of State Elections Division, the Verity Voting system by Hart InterCivic has been certified for use in all Washington elections.That means that all jurisdictions in the state can now use Verity Voting’s scalable central scan solution for vote-by-mail ballots, and they can now offer voters with disabilities improved accessibility with the Verity Touch Writer ballot marking device. The Verity Voting system offers a completely new choice for all jurisdictions in the State looking to replace their end of life voting systems. Verity uses advanced voting technology to easily address all of Washington’s election needs, including built-in flexibility that can evolve with the States changing election requirements.
Press Release: Minnesota Secretary of State Certifies Innovative New Voting Technology | Hart InterCivic
Upon completion of an extensive system evaluation by the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office, the Verity Voting system by Hart InterCivic has been certified for use in all Minnesota elections. That means that all jurisdictions in the state can now use Verity Voting’s new paper ballot scanners and accessible ballot-marking devices for polling location use and a new high-speed, scalable central scan solution for processing absentee ballots. The Verity Voting system offers a completely new choice for all jurisdictions in the State looking to replace their aging voting systems. Verity uses advanced voting technology to easily address all of Minnesota’s election needs, including built-in accessibility features that grant equality of access for all voters.
Press Release: Three More Virginia Jurisdictions Purchase Hart InterCivic’s Verity Voting System | Hart InterCivic
Hart InterCivic, a full service election solutions innovator and national leader in election technology, announced today that three more localities in the Commonwealth of Virginia have elected to purchase the Verity Voting system. Richmond, Henry and Essex Counties voted to purchase Verity, replacing their existing outdated voting equipment. These localities’ adoption of Verity follows on the heels of Prince William County, Virginia’s successful June 9, 2015 primary using the system. Verity in VA: Primary Election in Prince William County, VA Complete Success with Verity Voting System As in Prince William County, voters in Richmond, Henry and Essex Counties will scan their paper ballots using Verity Scan. Voters with disabilities may use the Verity Touch Writer ballot marking device with accessibility features to mark their ballots electronically before scanning them.
Press Release: Primary Election in Prince William County, VA Complete Success with Verity Voting System | Hart InterCivic
Hart InterCivic announced today that the Verity Voting system has performed exceptionally in the Prince William County, VA June primary election. The primary election was held on Tuesday, June 9, 2015 with polls open from 6 A.M. to 7 P.M. in 55 precincts and one Central Absentee Processing site across the county. Prince William County purchased the Verity Voting system in May of 2014, successfully piloting the system in the Dumfries Town Special Election in March of this year. The county completed State acceptance testing for Verity in just over two full days, using teams to help complete the detailed instructions for testing procedures. “Implementing Verity in Prince William County has truly been a milestone for Hart,” said Jessica McKay, Hart InterCivic Professional Services Project Manager, who was on site as part of the team helping to support the primary election. “The PWC staff was amazing and easy to work with; I could not imagine working with a better group of individuals to deliver an effective election.”
Upon completion of an extensive systems evaluation by the Oregon State Elections Division, Hart InterCivic announced that it has been granted state certification of the Verity voting system in Oregon. The decision by the State of Oregon Elections Division means that Verity is now available for purchase by any jurisdiction across the state.