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LA County, California piloted an innovation from electronic voting company Smartmatic.

During the California Primary Presidential Elections, Los Angeles County ran a pilot test of a product that can streamline election reports.

Smartmatic, a voting and technology company, provided its ePen solution to three cities within LA County: Malibu, Littlerock, and Downey. LA County has a population of over 10 million people according to a 2016 Census Bureau report and registered voters account for almost half of that number. With LA County being the most populated county in the US, having an agile and painless voting process is key.
   
“Election officials are under increased pressure to organize better elections with fewer resources,” said Robert Cook, VP of World-Wide Sales for Smartmatic. “Improving our elections should not be an exclusive responsibility of elections commissioners, but a challenge that must be tackled by the entire election ecosystem. We are glad to have put one of our most innovative solutions in the hand of the L.A. County authorities.”

This isn’t the first time this ePen has been piloted. In November 2015 Richmond, Virginia used the ePen during the state elections to process votes. Kirk Showalter, City of Richmond General Registrar, commented on the pilot program saying, “Smartmatic’s ePen is on the threshold of providing a very useful resource to the election community”.

The ePen allowed the city of Richmond to streamline their reporting process.

How Does the Solution Work?

Smartmatic’s ePen allows poll workers to quickly capture count reports from different precincts. After capturing the information, it is transmitted to consolidation centers within minutes. This innovation builds trust with voters and can help assure accuracy and quickness.
The ePen looks and feels like an everyday pen but it has a special camera that can capture, analyze, and digitize everything on the report. This sophisticated technology can also be used as an everyday writing pen.

There is also a software product that can monitor data transmission from capturing the vote to calculating the results. Once the polls are closed and ballots have been cast, the poll worker uses the ePen to fill out the traditional count report. During this entire process, everything handwritten on the report is accurately captured, collected using the pen, then securely transferred to the machine.

How Was It Used?

In the Richmond and LA County primary election, the technology was used to transmit results to the County Clerk’s office, simplifying the aggregation of results. The ePens were used at the check-in centers where all votes are cast through provisional envelopes and vote-by-mail ballots that were sent after the polls were closed. Officials could count returned items and fill in the corresponding forms using the ePen.

For the elections, Smartmatic provided: ballot security, software for data validation, transmission and exporting of data, tabulation software to count the votes and handle consolidating results. In addition to the functionality tested in Richmond and LA County, the ePen could be used to fully automate the process of manual voting, creating efficiencies for voters and poll workers alike.

The ePen’s election functionality was developed by London-headquartered Smartmatic. Smartmatic also provided the equipment and training of the staff in California and Virginia.