Columbia County officials have chosen the most modern, secure election technology available to replace voting equipment in use since 2005.
The new Verity® Voting system from long-time election partner Hart InterCivic was selected for its efficiency. The County’s decision was also influenced by Hart’s history of excellent customer support in Columbia and nearby counties.
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“We’ve been with Hart for a long time, and they have been very good to the County – responsive to phone calls, right there to help and provide answers,” said County Auditor Anne Higgins, who witnessed the relationship during her year as a deputy preceding her recent election to the Auditor position.
Higgins also compared experiences with nearby counties, including Asotin County, which recently announced its Verity purchase, and Hart partner Garfield County. “We talk all the time. We like to purchase the same products, if possible, so that we can support each other; we’re all small counties,” she said. “In our disaster recovery plans, we back up and support each other to ensure that all operations continue, even elections. If something goes wrong, we can help through equipment and/or personnel sharing.”
“Momentum for Verity is growing in Washington, and we thank Columbia County for their confidence in Hart,” said Phillip Braithwaite, President and CEO of Hart InterCivic, a U.S. company with more than 100 years of experience providing election solutions. “Hart pioneered digital ballot scanning, and Verity’s secure technology is reliable, efficient and trustworthy.”
During the selection discussion, Higgins appreciated the fact that one of the Columbia County commissioners sits on the Canvassing Board and is part of the election process. “They understand when we discuss the efficiencies we will achieve. They understand the working relationship that we already have with the vendor.” Commissioners voted unanimously in favor of the Verity purchase.
Verity equipment delivery has begun, with installation and training scheduled for late February. The system may be used as early as April if a special election is called.
“We look forward to the streamlined workflow and efficiencies we expect to gain from this improved system,” Higgins said, adding that the County’s existing relationship with Hart will make the transition that much easier.
In addition, she looks forward to using Verity Build for on-demand ballot creation and printing and Verity Central for central scanning of by-mail ballots. Verity Touch Writer will provide voters with ADA-compliant ballot marking.
“Verity is going to make our jobs a lot easier,” she said.
Federally and state certified since 2015, Verity is in use in numerous jurisdictions throughout the U.S. and was recently adopted by Washington’s Clark County, which processes more than 200,000 mail-in ballots over a typical election cycle.
Braithwaite expects more announcements throughout the year as additional jurisdictions adopt Verity.