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Snohomish County Purchases New Voting System

Harvey Field
Published:2018-03-20 County
Snohomish County Purchases New Voting System    Print Snohomish Times    
Snohomish County Purchases New Voting System

Snohomish County Elections has purchased a new ballot design and vote counting system, called ClearVote. Voters will continue to receive a paper ballot in the mail to vote and return. County elections administrators will have a modern system to efficiently and securely count ballots and report results. Implementation of the new voting system begins with the April 24 Special Election.
The process for voters will remain mostly the same. The most significant difference is how a voter will mark their ballot. Rather than connect the tail and the head of an arrow, voters will mark ballot choices by filling in an oval, a familiar method in surveys and standardized tests. Additionally, the new system provides enhanced color and layout options to help voters navigate ballot instructions and voting choices.
“The ClearVote system will provide our voters with an intuitive, easy to mark paper ballot. The system is secure and transparent and has efficient tools to accurately count ballots and report election results. Clear Ballot has designed a certified system that is cutting edge today and will stay current with changing technology into the future.” said County Elections Manager Garth Fell.
ClearVote, a product of the Clear Ballot Group, is a certified voting system by the Washington Secretary of State and passed stringent testing by a federally-accredited lab. ClearVote operates in an isolated, secure environment and is not connected to the internet. Programming that occurs in the system each election is performed by county staff. The system does not contain any voter names or other information, helping to ensure a private ballot for each voter.
ClearVote includes accessible voting devices that will be deployed in the Auditor’s Office and another remote site each election. The accessible voting devices allow users to mark their ballot independently using their own preferred assistive tools, such as a sip/puff or toggle pad accessory. The device user screens are based on the Anywhere Ballot developed by the Center for Civic Design. After a user marks a ballot on screen, the system produces a paper ballot with their choices. The voter may then review and submit their ballot for counting through the same secure process as mail ballots.
The outgoing vote counting system had been in use at Snohomish County since 2002. While still a secure, state-certified system, making repairs and improvements had become more difficult.
Snohomish County joins King, Pierce and Whatcom counties using the ClearVote system. The ClearVote system utilizes modern technology, has state-of-the-art security, and was one seventh the cost of the previous system.




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