Boston-based Clear Ballot Group Inc. on Tuesday unveiled a new digital voting machine that could come in handy the next time election officials need to hold a recount. Unlike other machines that merely count the ink marks on paper ballots, the ClearCast voting machine scans and saves digital images of every ballot. These images can be inspected by officials to make sure votes were correctly counted. The system will also help election inspectors tally votes from improperly marked ballots. For example, a careless voter might circle a candidate’s name, instead of filling in the oval next to his name. With ClearCast, vote inspectors won’t have to physically inspect thousands of paper ballots to spot the blunder.
“We’re trying to improve the back-end transparency for election officials, and the resolving of close races,” said Jordan Esten, Clear Ballot’s chief operating officer.
Founded in 2009, Clear Ballot makes a system for counting mail-in ballots that’s used in Oregon, where elections are conducted exclusively by mail. ClearCast is the company’s first product for managing in-person voting.
Esten said many electronic voting machines are 10 or more years old, and are based on proprietary hardware that is often no longer being manufactured. Last year, Wired magazine reported that some election officials have been forced to scour the online selling service eBay in search of spare parts for their old machines.