Pilot of Absentee Ballot-on-Demand Begins Today
Oct. 24, 2013
The Fairfax County Office of Elections is conducting a pilot test of absentee ballot-on-demand at the absentee satellite voting facility at the Sully Government Center during scheduled absentee voting hours, Thursday, Oct. 24, and Friday, Oct. 25, 3:30 to 7 p.m. and on Saturday, Oct. 26, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Sully Government Center is located at 4900 Stonecroft Boulevard in Chantilly.
The county’s Bipartisan Election Process Improvement Commission endorsed the ballot-on-demand concept in its March 2013 report as part of a strategy to improve absentee voting in the county. “We are committed to moving forward with the concept of ballot-on-demand in Fairfax County,” said Brian Schoeneman, secretary of the Electoral Board, who also served as a member of the Bipartisan Commission.
Ballot-on-demand technology enables ballots to be printed on-site at a satellite in-person absentee voting location as the voter checks in and the required ballot is identified. Currently, each satellite voting facility must be equipped with stocks of preprinted ballots for each possible ballot combination. Fairfax County has 17 different ballot combinations for the Nov. 5 General Election; during the 2011 cycle, there were 76 different ballot styles. The pilot will be conducted using new software and a printer, but ballots will be scanned using the existing optical scanners.
“By testing the ballot-on-demand technology now, we will gain insight and be better equipped to make changes next year as we purchase new voting equipment for the county” said Cameron Quinn, general registrar. “We will see how voting time is affected, and identify potential issues and the procedures that need to be revised or implemented to ensure the transition is seamless for voters.”
“We appreciate the Board of Supervisors providing the funding we are going to need to implement this and other recommendations from the Bipartisan Commission,” noted Schoeneman.