https://www.dailyherald.com/submitted/20220413/league-of-women-voters-teams-up-with-dupage-county-clerk-to-introduce-new-voting-equipment-to-the-community

CONROE, Texas, October 19, 2021 – After a thorough evaluation of future election system options, Montgomery County officials have selected the Verity® Voting system from Austin-based Hart InterCivic to replace their current system. Voters will experience the most up-to-date, secure voting when they go to the polls for the 2022 Spring elections. 

“Hart’s Verity Duo hybrid system was the best fit for our voters and our office,” said Suzie Harvey, Montgomery County Elections Administrator. “With the paper ballot we will be able to expand our post-election audits. We like the idea of giving voters this extra assurance of accuracy and security. Anything we can do to prove the accuracy of the vote is good for everyone.” 

The hybrid Verity Duo is a touchscreen ballot marking device that allows voters to print, verify and scan their completed paper vote record. Unlike other systems, Verity tabulates votes from human verifiable information, not a black box barcode or QR code. Verity will replace Hart’s legacy system in use for more than 15 years. 

Paper trail voting is a welcome change for the county and Harvey is looking forward to a smooth, reliable transition, based on her experience with Hart’s existing voting system and her office’s long-time relationship with their staff.  

“Not only is their customer service outstanding, but when we have questions, we can get anyone we need on the phone, at any time,” said Harvey, who has served in her position for 10 years. “There has never been a time when we couldn’t get through to the right person, even after business hours.” 

“We’ve partnered with Montgomery County since 2005 and we are proud of their confidence in our products and our people,” said Julie Mathis, CEO of Hart InterCivic, which has more than 100 years of experience providing election solutions.  

“Like many counties, they are facing a busy election cycle in 2022 amid rapid growth and increased scrutiny. Our commitment is to provide unsurpassed customer support and the most efficient, trustworthy system available. We value this relationship,” she said. 

With more than 384,000 registered voters, Harvey also appreciates that Verity continues to provide the ability for curbside voters to cast ballots the same way as voters inside the polling place. Curbside voters will use the accessible Verity touchscreen and portable voting technology that guarantees every voter a paper vote record. 

“Not only will everyone vote the same way, but election night tabulation on Verity ensures a simple and comprehensive count and reporting process. That’s important for us,” Harvey said. Delivery of the new equipment, testing and training are expected to be completed in the county early in 2022. 

Across the U.S., more purchase announcements are anticipated as Verity continues gaining momentum as the system of choice for jurisdictions seeking adaptable, trustworthy systems backed by exemplary customer service.  

Hart recently reported that 96% of its customers rated satisfaction with Hart as “Excellent” or “Above Average” and that 93% indicated that they are highly likely to recommend Hart to a colleague. 

Count Harvey in that group. “If a county is looking for a new system, I would tell them to seriously consider the Hart Verity Duo system.” 

For more information about the Verity Voting system, please visit

 https://www.hartintercivic.com/hybrid/ 

About Hart InterCivic, Inc. 
Austin, TX based Hart InterCivic is a full-service election solutions innovator, partnering with state and local governments to deliver secure, accurate and reliable elections. The company’s Verity® Voting system offers an end-to-end solution that supports the entire election cycle for all voting types – whether paper or electronic – in one versatile platform. 

AUSTIN, Texas, and REDMOND, Wash. — June 3, 2021 — On Thursday, Hart InterCivic and Microsoft Corp. announced a partnership to incorporate ElectionGuard software developed by Microsoft into Hart’s Verity® voting systems. The partnership makes Hart the first major voting machine manufacturer in the United States to provide end-to-end verifiability to voters, giving individual voters the ability to confirm their ballots were counted in an election and not altered. End-to-end verifiability also enables independent election security experts to build verifier programs that can independently confirm the accuracy of the overall vote count for elections that incorporate ElectionGuard software.

“We believe we must constantly re-imagine how technology can make voting more secure and also more transparent, and this partnership with Microsoft is a strong step in that direction,” said Julie Mathis, CEO of Hart InterCivic. “The combination of Hart voting machines with ElectionGuard technology delivering end-to-end verifiability provides election officials the ability to offer more transparency to the process of vote tabulation. Hart’s integration of ElectionGuard into Verity builds on our existing initiatives, such as voter-verifiable paper trails, support for risk-limiting audits, and never encoding voter selections in unreadable barcodes, as part of our continued commitment to voting technology innovation that results in higher levels of voter confidence in the election process.”

“The team at Hart has done exceptional work to combine the benefits of a paper ballot-based voting system with the best the ElectionGuard technology has to offer,” said Tom Burt, corporate vice president of Customer Security and Trust at Microsoft. “We’re excited that voters will be able to experience the confidence ElectionGuard can bring to the process while voting on machines from a company that has been supporting elections for more than a century.”

Hart will begin by testing ElectionGuard in its Verity voting system currently used by over 500 jurisdictions across 17 states. Voters in jurisdictions participating in the pilot will fill out a paper ballot by hand or use the Verity Duo ballot marking device and then place their ballot into a Verity scanner. Upon completion of the scan, the voter will be provided with an ElectionGuard-powered verification code. Once the election is complete, voters can check their verification code on a web portal to confirm their ballot was counted in the final election results. This process is done without revealing the content of the voter’s ballot, maintaining the privacy and secrecy of their selections. The election’s final tally can also be confirmed by interested third parties, who can run the results through a verifier and compare the output to the official election results.

ElectionGuard is open-source software created by Microsoft, free of charge, as part of the company’s Defending Democracy Program. ElectionGuard uses technology called homomorphic encryption to keep people’s votes secret and secure while still enabling the math required to count votes. Microsoft has conducted public demonstrations of the software and opened it to the security community for inspection and testing.

As the pilot project moves forward, Hart and Microsoft will be collecting feedback from election officials, security experts and voters. The companies will announce pilot details for an ElectionGuard-enabled Verity system at a later date.

About Hart InterCivic
Working side-by-side with election professionals for more than 100 years, Hart is committed to helping advance democracy one election at a time. Hart’s mission fuels our passionate customer focus and a continuous drive for technological innovation. The result is Verity® – truly different election technology. Reimagined from the inside out, Verity Voting promises to provide jurisdictions with a future-proof investment in secure, transparent voting.

About Microsoft
Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.


For more information, press only:
Steven Sockwell, Vice President, Marketing, Hart InterCivic, (512) 252-6409, ssockwell@hartic.com
Latoya Veal, Microsoft, (601) 466-4217, latoyaveal@microsoft.com
Microsoft Media Relations, WE Communications for Microsoft, (425) 638-7777, rapidresponse@we-worldwide.com

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts.

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois, April 29, 2021 – The State Board of Elections this month certified Hart InterCivic’s Verity® Voting system, clearing the way for Illinois jurisdictions to upgrade to the most modern, secure election system available in the state. Certification assures decision-makers and voters that Verity Version 3.1 has met the rigorous testing that the state demands.


“We are eager to introduce Verity to Illinois jurisdictions,” said Julie Mathis, CEO of Hart InterCivic, a U.S. company with more than 100 years of experience providing election solutions. “Our exclusive reselling and support partner GBS is ready to help with immediate purchases and deliveries.”


An increasingly popular election system, Verity features hand-marked paper ballot voting, enhanced security features, state-of-the-art software and hardware all designed and manufactured in the U.S.


“Voters love the straightforward, easy-to-use scanning device for their ballots and election officials appreciate the security of a paper trail backed by comprehensive audit capabilities, including support for Risk Limiting Audits,” Mathis said. “Verity is built to the most secure standards set by the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG). No other option available in Illinois meets this standard for security.”


Verity is never connected to the internet and votes are cast on paper ballots then digitally read with Verity Scan, providing triple redundancy for audits or recounts.


With Verity’s certification, the newest technology on the market is now available in Illinois. “Counties are no longer locked into older systems,” said Drew Kendall, Executive Vice President of GBS. “Election officials deserve options, and many want to invest in the longevity of the most up-to-date technology, not a system that has been on the market for nearly a decade or more. We are excited to help counties learn what Verity can accomplish for them.”


With increasing participation in by-mail voting, more counties are considering Verity’s efficient, high-speed scanning option. Managing by-mail ballots is simple and faster than ever with easy onscreen adjudication, plus a complete record of all resolution decisions is captured in an audit log for end-to-end transparency.


In addition, Verity is built in the U.S. just a few miles down the road from Hart’s Austin, Texas headquarters. Hart voting systems are in use by 26 million voters in 21 thousand precincts across more than 700 jurisdictions (including Kane and Peoria Counties) in 19 states. Many are new to Hart, which has gained a reputation as a trusted partner for high-complexity implementations with a proven track record of success.


“We provide an easier, more trustworthy transition experience and 98 percent of customers who switched from another vendor gave Hart’s service the highest satisfaction rating in our most recent customer survey,” Mathis said.


“We are excited to work with Hart, a respected company that shares our pride in providing superior service,” Kendall said. “Customer support is our bread and butter and our headquarters in DuPage County is good news for Illinois partners,” he added. “We’re a full-time resource staffed by hardware and software specialists trained in all areas of voting system support. We’re ready for Verity and Verity is ready for Illinois.”

Verity Scan - Secure Vote Capture
Verity Scan is a digital scanning solution for paper ballots. Step-by-step onscreen instructions make startup and shutdown quick and easy for poll workers.

See Verity in Action
Verity will be demonstrated in person at the June 21-23 Illinois Association of County Officials Conference in Springfield. For more information or to arrange a custom demo in your county, please contact:

Doug Simpkins
GBS Director of Sales
630-241-4290
dsimpkins@gbsvote.com

Lawrence Leach
Hart Regional Sales Manager
512-567-3831
lleach@hartic.com

AUSTIN, Texas, March 4, 2021 – When voters in Hood and Sabine counties go to the polls on May 1, they will be casting their ballots for the first time using the Verity® Voting system from Hart InterCivic, a leading election provider gaining momentum in the United States. Both counties recently chose Hart to replace outdated equipment from ES&S. Election officials cited voting integrity, customer service and ease of use as factors in their decisions to switch.

“Verity’s paper trail option is the best to meet our voters’ needs,” said Hood County Elections Administrator Michele Carew. “Voting security is number one on everyone’s mind and we wanted security features that make the voter feel like their ballot is being cast the way they want. They want paper. They want to see it, touch it, read it before they cast it. Hart offered all of that.”

Hood County will rely on Verity Duo, a ballot marking device that that produces a voter-verifiable paper trail. Other systems, rely on converting voters’ choices to barcodes to be interpreted by computer, an approach some security officials have questioned. For example, Colorado banned the use of barcodes for counting votes over security concerns in 2019.

In Sabine County, Deputy Election Clerk Angie Garza is looking forward to Verity’s user-friendly technology and convenient design. “Verity is lightweight and easy to transport and that is important for our office. Our precincts are spread out and my staff does all of the setup.”

When it came time to upgrade Sabine County’s outdated election system, Garza talked to her counterpart in neighboring San Augustine County, which switched to Hart in 2019. “Hearing from someone who has been through a transition, doing research is important. They have been very happy with Hart and told me that customer service has been great.”

Hart’s reputation for customer support continues to be a strong factor for long-time and new users. Carew is both. Since 2007, she has worked with Hart systems as an election official in Parker and Aransas counties and will soon be using Verity in Hood County, where she started work in September.

“Picking Verity was the county’s choice, and I was so happy with our commissioners’ decision. Hart’s customer service is cream of the crop, always top notch,” she said. Both vendors made demos and presentations to the public as part of the selection process. “We had a good turnout and (the Hart representative) had to talk nonstop for four hours.”

“Our commissioners also liked that Verity is made in the USA. Hart is a Texas-based company, and their help is easy to access,” Carew added. “That was a selling point.”

“Welcome to the Hart family! We look forward to sharing our brand of customer support, backing the best voting technology available,” said Julie Mathis, CEO of Hart InterCivic, an Austin-based company with more than 100 years of experience providing election solutions.

“Nearly 90% of customers who have switched from other companies say Hart is more responsive and helpful and we think Hood and Sabine counties will agree.”

“Our election partners set a high bar for up-to-date, secure voting technology and demand the most responsive customer service. We understand that transitions can be complex, and we provide top-tier professional service to help customers adapt to new technology and processes,” Mathis added.

For more information about the Verity Voting system, please visit

An Industry Statement from U.S. Voting System Providers

February 10, 2021 – As U.S. voting system providers, we commend the U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s (EAC) formal adoption today of the nation’s newest Voluntary Voting Systems Guidelines, the VVSG 2.0. This step is a significant achievement in completing the first phase of a years-long process by establishing benchmarks for developing, testing and certifying next-generation voting systems in the United States. It also leverages adherence to measurable technical standards that will bolster overall system security while also enhancing voter confidence (ballots counted as cast).

VVSG 2.0 would not be possible without EAC and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) governance combined with proactive consultation with election officials, scientists, academia, advocacy groups, security experts and election technology providers.

In light of this accomplishment, we encourage the EAC to work closely with the election technology and election administration communities to guide the next steps in the VVSG 2.0 adoption process, including:

  • Determining a reasonable and practical implementation framework that can be successfully applied to currently operational voting systems, particularly those systems purchased with the $400 million federal investment in new Help America Vote Act (HAVA) grants provided to states and local jurisdictions by Congress via the CARES Act in March 2020.
  • Assisting independent Voting System Test Labs (VSTLs) in developing a process for achieving accreditation to efficiently test to the new VVSG 2.0 mandates.
  • Working with technology providers to finalize their review of the requirements in order to design and build VVSG 2.0-compliant systems over the coming years, and to work with jurisdictions to mutually agree on and establish reasonable implementation timeframes while these jurisdictions continue to administer secure, accurate and transparent elections with integrity.

The full implementation of VVSG 2.0 will eventually establish new benchmarks for usability, security and verifiability of federally-certified voting systems. These standards will continue to assure voters that such systems are secure, accessible, transparent, accurate, reliable and resilient. Election jurisdictions should consult with their product and service system providers to determine the exact scope of projected timing.

For more information, contact:

Clear Ballot | media@clearballot.com

Dominion Voting Systems |media@dominionvoting.com | 866-654-VOTE (8683)

ES&S | media@essvote.com | 402-938-1300

Hart InterCivic | media@hartic.com | 512-252-6409

MicroVote | media@microvote.com | 800-257-4901

Smartmatic | communications@smartmatic.com

Unisyn Voting Solutions | mktg@unisynvoting.com

Verity is ‘Easy to Learn and Easy to Use’

WIGGINS, Mississippi, February 1, 2021 – Stone County Election Officials are crediting a smooth and secure November election to their decision to upgrade to Hart InterCivic’s new Verity® Voting paper-ballot system, which replaced outdated electronic equipment from another vendor.

The decision came less than two weeks before absentee voting began, a timetable that demanded total confidence in Hart’s system and support. The trusted election system provider delivered both.

“I can’t say enough good about the Hart staff that helped us set up our ballots and trained us so quickly,” said Circuit Clerk Treba Davis. “Verity was so easy to use, so easy to learn. There is no way I’d go with any other system or vendor.”

“We had no issues, and our voters were very comfortable with the new paper ballots. We had a lot of good feedback and they were confident in scanning their own ballots at the polling place,” she added. “Poll workers loved it. Election Commissioners loved it.”

When Davis took office in January 2020, she knew that the county needed a new election system, and it would have been easy to give the existing vendor that contract. But Davis does not believe in taking the easy route without due diligence.

“Just because you are comfortable, doesn’t mean there isn’t a better option out there,” she said. Her research included a conversation with the clerk in Rankin County, the first Mississippi county to choose Verity. She learned that Rankin has had no problems with Verity since they purchased it in 2016.

“I heard good things about Hart and when I saw it in person, I could tell that they developed it by listening to their users. It’s so much better than other equipment we tried. It’s like the difference between a Volkswagen and a BMW,” said Davis, who has worked in the election office for five years. “Their representative gave an excellent presentation, and he was so trustworthy and honest. Clearly, he had nothing to hide. Now that we’ve voted with Verity, I understand his pride in the system.”

Davis also praised the Hart technician who set up their equipment and spent Election Day in Stone County. “It was so smooth; he might have been bored!”

Davis is looking forward to working with Hart on future elections and to learning how to set up an election on her own. “Our interaction with Hart didn’t end with a contract. We have a relationship; they are so knowledgeable and helpful,” she said.

“Relationships are the heart and soul of our business. We are happy to welcome Stone County to the Hart family,” said Julie Mathis, CEO of Hart InterCivic, an Austin-based company with more than 100 years of experience providing election solutions. “We’ve only been in Mississippi since 2016, but our election success is built on generations of experience.”

Davis has advice for jurisdictions planning to replace election equipment: “Hear Hart out. My experience has been wonderful.”

Verity, the most up-to-date technology available in the U.S., is a federally and state certified system designed from the ground up to be flexible, easy to use and secure with all new hardware and software. Stone and Rankin County officials chose a paper-ballot configuration when they purchased Verity. Other jurisdictions across the U.S. have chosen electronic, paper or hybrid arrangements.

For more information about the Verity Voting system, please visit 

https://www.hartintercivic.com/better-elections/

Media Contact:

Steven Sockwell

512.252.6409

media@hartic.com

Longtime Partners Trust Texas Company for Election Upgrades

AUSTIN, Texas, February 2, 2021 – Election system upgrades are accelerating in Texas with 10 new counties choosing Hart InterCivic’s Verity® Voting system for future elections.

Recent announcements from the Texas-based company include Cass, Cherokee, Delta, Fannin, Grimes, Harrison, Marion, Runnels, Throckmorton and Upshur counties. Hart is a long-time election partner in these jurisdictions and has earned the trust of election officials seeking efficient, reliable transitions.

“Verity was born and bred in Texas, and we are proud of our longtime relationships across the state. Many counties think the time is right for Verity’s secure, paper-trail option and we are here for them,” said Julie Mathis, CEO of Hart InterCivic, a growing election system provider with more than 100 years of experience providing election solutions.

Verity is a versatile election system with state-of-the-art hardware and software designed in Austin and based on input from officials across the state, as well as other election experts nationwide. Customer service, ease of use and efficient design are cited by counties choosing the Verity system.

“You couldn’t ask for better customer service,” said Cass County Clerk Amy Varnell, who has worked with Hart systems and personnel since 1994. “Our voters will have confidence in the paper-ballot system.”

Cass County has chosen a ballot-on-demand option and will begin training this spring. “We are looking forward to training and voting with Verity. Everyone we have ever worked with from Hart is fantastic.”

Fannin County Clerk Tammy Biggar is looking forward to the cost effectiveness and efficiency that Verity will provide her jurisdiction. “The competitor’s system design doesn’t allow me to build my own ballot. That’s a deal-breaker. It adds to our costs for the next 10 years. I want control, not an ongoing programming expense.”

Rapidly growing Fannin County chose Verity Duo, a hybrid voting device that combines a touchscreen with a paper vote record available for recounts or audits. The printed ballot can be checked by voters before they feed it into a scanner that reads choices, not a barcode.

Biggar also cited Hart’s integrity and commitment to customers in her county’s choice. “I know our reps face-to-face, and everyone at Hart wants me to have a good election. I once called someone who was already in bed! No problem, I got the help I needed on Election night.”

“This system is simple to understand and we’ve already started training,” she said, also praising Hart’s YouTube videos as extra support in preparation for their May election.

More Texas announcements are expected soon, Mathis said.

“Our Texas partners want the most up-to-date, secure voting technology available and they deserve the most responsive customer service. We deliver both.”

“There is no better choice for Texas voters than Verity,” she said.

For more information about the Verity Voting system, please visit https://www.hartintercivic.com/better-elections/

Media Contact:

Steven Sockwell

512.252.6409

media@hartic.com

Largest Jurisdiction in Texas Stands by Longtime Election Partner

HOUSTON, Texas, January 28, 2021 – Harris County Commissioners voted unanimously this week to upgrade their election system to paper-trail technology from longtime partner Hart InterCivic. Verity® Voting includes enhanced security features, state-of-the-art software and hardware all designed and manufactured in Austin where the company is headquartered.

“Moving to the Hart InterCivic Verity Voting System gives voters a more accessible, secure and verifiable ballot to improve the voting experience for all Harris County Voters,” said Harris County Elections Administrator Isabel Longoria. “My goal is to use the coming weeks to learn and train staff about the Hart voting machines and offer all Harris County voters the opportunity to learn more about the new features.”

The first wave of 2,300 machines is scheduled to be delivered by March 1.

Through a competitive procurement process, the Hart machines were selected by a committee of representatives from Commissioner Court staff, the County Judge and technical experts from the County Clerk and Elections Administrator staff.

“Thank you, Harris County for your continued trust and partnership! We are excited and proud to support your transition to easy-to-use, secure paper-based voting technology,” said Julie Mathis, CEO of Hart InterCivic which has provided election services and solutions to the County for decades.

“Hart and Harris County have a history of innovation and challenges met. We look forward to building on this solid relationship for the benefit of the County’s more than 2.3 million voters,” she said.

The largest voting jurisdiction in Texas, Harris County has selected Verity Duo, a hybrid voting device that combines a touchscreen with a paper vote record available for recounts or audits. The printed ballot can be checked by voters before they feed it into a scanner that reads the voter’s choices, which are never hidden in a barcode.

Verity will also support Harris’ new Vote Centers, which allow any registered voter in the County to cast their Election Day ballot at whichever polling location is most convenient.

“There is no stronger example of Hart’s core values than our long relationship with Harris County,” Mathis said. “Relationships and exceptional customer service drive our success. Our proven, Texas-based products seal the deal. Our partners deserve nothing less.”

For more information about the Verity Voting system, please visit https://www.hartintercivic.com/better-elections/

Media Contact:

Steven Sockwell

512.252.6409

media@hartic.com

Shortly after the 2000 presidential election, Harris County became one of the country’s early adopters of electronic voting, replacing the error-prone punch-card system implemented in the early 1980s.

Voters lauded the new interface, including the rotary wheel used to operate the machines. Nearly two decades later, Harris County still is using the same equipment, making it the largest county in the United States without an auditable paper trail.

That is set to change as soon as the May 2021 elections, after Commissioners Court on Tuesday unanimously approved a $54 million deal to replace the current eSlate machines with ones featuring touch screens, a paper backup and features that make voting more accessible for seniors and residents with disabilities.

The new machines allow voters to select candidates or ballots measures on a touchpad instead of the rotating wheel, now derided by critics as a clunky feature that some voters mistakenly have used to cast ballots for the wrong candidate.

After voters complete and review their ballots, the machines will print out the selections, at which point voters again can review their ballots for any erroneous choices. They then will take the printed ballots to an electronic ballot box that will record the votes and store the paper ballots, in case the election is called into question and needs to be audited.

“Really, the utility of the paper record is, instead of having to program our machines to spit out receipts, we are getting the record as the voter sees it, into a ballot box that, should we need to count or recount or pull something back later, we can pull it up,” Harris County Elections Administrator Isabel Longoria said Wednesday.

The election results will be stored on two separate hard drives for each voting machine, one of which can only be accessed with a special key provided to Longoria’s office. The new safeguards are expected to provide stronger security than the current system, in which votes are recorded on mobile memory cards that are brought to a central counting site, uploaded onto a computer and tallied.

Longoria also said the new machines may provide faster election results, as votes can only be tallied under the current system using an outdated computer processing software with slower processing speeds than what is widely available today. Harris County election nights have famously stretched well past midnight during previous elections because of the pace of the election results being uploaded.

Though Harris County did not experience any major election malfunctions or security issues using the eSlate machines, experts warned that the aging technology would be inadequate if the election were called into question because of a cyberattack or then-President Donald Trump’s repeated claims that the 2020 election would be “rigged.”

The new machines will be supplied by Hart InterCivic Inc., the same company that provides the county’s current stock of eSlate voting machines. The new system, called InterCivic Verity Voting, was approved in 2019 by the Texas Secretary of State and already used in Tarrant County.

Under the contract approved Tuesday, Hart will provide Harris County with 12,000 machines and an assortment of other election equipment, including voting booths and ballot boxes.

Among the other upgrades are what officials say will be a more robust voting system for residents with disabilities. Longoria described the existing setup as “primitive,” in which voters use red and green “paddles,” or buttons, that replace the scrolling wheel and enter button.

“Now you’ll have, essentially, a remote control attached to the machine that has directional arrows and multiple buttons, so that folks with a different kind of physical need will have the same access to voting,” Longoria said.

The elections administrator’s office will receive the first shipment of devices by March 1. Longoria and her staff will start familiarizing themselves with the machines and decide whether to use them for the May 2021 local elections. If they opt to wait, the machines would be in place for the March 2022 primaries.

“The really big deciding factor for me is, how long will it take to train all of our internal staff on these new machines to feel comfortable with them? And then the turnaround time for us to develop those training materials so that we can really safely and fairly train up the different clerks and judges that will have to use these on Election Day,” Longoria said.

Before commissioners approved the contract with Hart InterCivic on Tuesday, county officials had declined to release information about the deal or any details about the new machines.

The machines were selected by a committee of representatives from each county commissioner’s office, the county judge and technical experts from the county clerk and elections administrator’s staff, according to Longoria’s office. Longoria defended the lack of available details prior to the vote.

“If you release too much information, if you release too many specifics, then you have lobbyists come out of the woodwork,” she said. “People start, without all the information, really lobbying you, and then there’s always a sense of impropriety.”

Original Article.

Zach Despart contributed to this report.

jasper.scherer@chron.com


5/6″Really, the utility of the paper record is, instead of having to program our machines to spitout receipts, we are getting the record as the voter sees it, into a ballot box that, should weneed to count or recount or pull something back later, we can pull it up,” Harris CountyElections Administrator Isabel Longoria said Wednesday.The election results will be stored on two separate hard drives for each voting machine, oneof which can only be accessed with a special key provided to Longoria’s office. The newsafeguards are expected to provide stronger security than the current system, in which votesare recorded on mobile memory cards that are brought to a central counting site, uploadedonto a computer and tallied.Longoria also said the new machines may provide faster election results, as votes can only betallied under the current system using an outdated computer processing software with slowerprocessing speeds than what is widely available today. Harris County election nights havefamously stretched well past midnight during previous elections because of the pace of theelection results being uploaded.Though Harris County did not experience any major election malfunctions or security issuesusing the eSlate machines, experts warned that the aging technology would be inadequate ifthe election were called into question because of a cyberattack or then-President DonaldTrump’s repeated claims that the 2020 election would be “rigged.”The new machines will be supplied by Hart InterCivic Inc., the same company that providesthe county’s current stock of eSlate voting machines. The new system, called InterCivic VerityVoting, was approved in 2019 by the Texas Secretary of State and already used in TarrantCounty.Under the contract approved Tuesday, Hart will provide Harris County with 12,000machines and an assortment of other election equipment, including voting booths and ballotboxes.Among the other upgrades are what officials say will be a more robust voting system forresidents with disabilities. Longoria described the existing setup as “primitive,” in whichvoters use red and green “paddles,” or buttons, that replace the scrolling wheel and enterbutton.“Now you’ll have, essentially, a remote control attached to the machine that has directionalarrows and multiple buttons, so that folks with a different kind of physical need will have thesame access to voting,” Longoria said.The elections administrator’s office will receive the first shipment of devices by March 1.Longoria and her staff will start familiarizing themselves with the machines and decidewhether to use them for the May 2021 local elections. If they opt to wait, the machines wouldbe in place for the March 2022 primaries.6/6″The really big deciding factor for me is, how long will it take to train all of our internal staffon these new machines to feel comfortable with them? And then the turnaround time for usto develop those training materials so that we can really safely and fairly train up thedifferent clerks and judges that will have to use these on Election Day,” Longoria said.Before commissioners approved the contract with Hart InterCivic on Tuesday, countyofficials had declined to release information about the deal or any details about the newmachines.The machines were selected by a committee of representatives from each countycommissioner’s office, the county judge and technical experts from the county clerk andelections administrator’s staff, according to Longoria’s office. Longoria defended the lack ofavailable details prior to the vote.“If you release too much information, if you release too many specifics, then you havelobbyists come out of the woodwork,” she said. “People start, without all the information,really lobbying you, and then there’s always a sense of impropriety.”