Office of Elections Purchases New Integrated Voting System
June 12, 2014
The Fairfax County Office of Elections has purchased a new integrated voting system, including over 1,125 state-of-the -art voting machines. This is the most comprehensive replacement of the county’s voting equipment in over a decade.
The new system from Election Systems & Software (ES&S), includes 525 DS200 electronically scanned paper ballot machines and 600 ExpressVote machines that use technology similar to touch screen equipment to generate paper ballots. The initial cost for the machines is approximately $6.4 million. The new machines are expected to be in use for the upcoming Nov. 4 election. County voters will have an opportunity to take a look at and test-drive the machines at events to be scheduled beginning in August. Election officer training will also begin in August.
"The Electoral Board and the Office of Elections staff have spent over a year on this critical selection – reviewing bids, working with vendors and doing our best to ensure that our final decision and contract terms were both what the county needed and the most cost-effective solution,” said Electoral Board Secretary Brian Schoeneman. “Having a brand-new, fully integrated voting system for the county will make the voting process more efficient, secure and easy for Fairfax County voters.”
Purchase of new, integrated equipment was recommended to the Board of Supervisors by the Bipartisan Election Process Improvement Commission in March 2013. The recommendation included having new machines in place prior to the presidential election in 2016, so election officers and most voters would be familiar with the equipment.
Voters who have used electronically scanned paper ballots will notice very little change in how they vote using the new DS200 optical scan voting machines. As with the current equipment, voters will mark a paper ballot and place her/his ballot in the optical scan machine, which will scan the ballot, record the vote and inform the voter that their ballot has been cast. The new machines also will let the voter know if the ballot is blank or over voted (voted for more candidates than allowed in a contest). In addition to providing results when the polls close, the new equipment provides a paper ballot for all voters, including those who need to use the new accessible equipment called ExpressVote. There also will be a voter verified paper audit trail for every vote in case of a recount.
The ExpressVote machine is fully compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and enables voters with special needs to use technology similar to touch screen equipment to generate a marked paper ballot. The ballot will then be inserted in to the same DS200 optical scan machine used by other voters. The technology allows those with special needs to vote independently and privately.
To learn more about using these voting machines, watch the ES&S videos on the DS200 machines or ExpressVote, or contact the Fairfax County Office of Elections at 703-222-0776 (TTY 711) or email email@example.com.
If you are interested in becoming an election officer for an upcoming election, contact the Office of Elections at 703-324-4735 or send an email.