Attendee testing a ballot marking device
13 Mar 2019

VSAP Milestone: First look at LA County’s New Voting Equipment

Nearly 10 years after the Registrar-Recorder kicked off our efforts to modernize Los Angeles County’s voting system, Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan and his team were presented this week with ballot marking devices (BMD) developed by Smartmatic. This delivery of completed devices coincides with the end of the Engineering Validation (EVT) Testing phase of Smartmatic’s system development effort.

The Registrar’s team visited the Santa Monica offices of Smartmatic, the County’s chosen contractor in charge of the design completion, engineering, and manufacturing of system components.  The system was designed by and for Los Angeles County during prior phases of the Voting Solutions for All People (VSAP) initiative that focuses on transparency, accessibility, usability, and security.

On March 4, 2019, Smartmatic staff provided the Registrar with a demonstration of how each BMD will function inside a secure election environment that included a simulated warehouse and vote center. The next phase will focus on completion of the design and delivering machines to the California Secretary of State for testing and certification before Los Angeles voters use them to mark their ballots in future elections.

The new system will make it easier for voters with disabilities, and voters with limited English proficiency, to cast ballots. The system is unique in that it was designed by Los Angeles County and will be publicly owned and operated by the County. Smartmatic was chosen to manufacture the devices after an extensive vetting process in accordance with Los Angeles County’s competitive procurement policies. Smartmatic has extensive experience in manufacturing secure and customized election technology all over the world.

The new voting system is slated to be in place in time for the March 2020 California Presidential Primary election—with plenty of testing and pilots beforehand.