CINCINNATI, Ohio, September 26, 2018 – In 2019, voters in Hamilton County will be casting ballots using the most modern, secure election technology available. To ensure the best choice for their voters, County election officials spent more than a year vetting systems.
Verity® Voting from Hart InterCivic rose to the top of five systems being considered and will debut May 2019 in the County.
“Verity was our unanimous choice, and we could not be happier,” said Director of the Board of Elections Sherry Poland. “Our due diligence began in 2017 as we viewed demonstrations from each vendor. As bipartisan decision makers for one of the largest counties in Ohio, we take this process very seriously,” said Poland, who has more than 14 years’ experience managing elections.
Two finalists in Hamilton County were asked to stage weeklong mock elections. Election officials and experienced poll workers scored the vendors’ systems on criteria including opening and closing polls, voting ease, ballot reports, recounts and audits. Members of the public, including those with disabilities, voted in the mock election and gave feedback also.
Verity was the clear choice.
“Hamilton is the first Ohio county to choose Verity, and we appreciate their confidence in Verity and Hart,” said Phillip Braithwaite, President and CEO of Hart InterCivic, which has more than 100 years’ experience working with elections. “We’ve partnered with Hamilton County since 2006 and are proud to take this step forward with them. Verity will serve the County for many years to come.”
“Our Board and Commissioners are familiar with Hart’s customer service and have confidence in their people and technology,” said Deputy Director Sally Krisel, who has worked in elections for two decades. “Over the years, we’ve conducted many recounts and post-election audits, which have proved the reliability of Hart’s systems. That builds trust.”
Election Director Poland took the additional step of visiting an established Verity user to see the system in action. “I went to Prince William County, Virginia, to witness a recent primary election,” she said. “We were glad to hear poll workers describe how easy it was to learn and use Verity. I saw it for myself.”
Election managers also appreciate Verity’s compact size, briefcase design and collapsible ballot boxes. “With 345 polling locations and 2,400 election workers, the flexibility of easy-to-transport equipment will streamline delivery and pickup,” Poland said.
Voters may not notice much of a change when they go to the polls, as Hamilton County has used paper ballots since 2006. Those requiring help with accessibility will use the Verity Touch Writer, a paper ballot marking device that provides seamless accessibility and privacy.
The County will take delivery of the new equipment after the first of the year, and Krisel is looking forward to the thorough, hands-on training she knows her team will experience with Hart. “Not only are they eager to help us learn, but they are willing to teach us everything to be self-sufficient.
“It is important for our voters to know that elections are programmed by our bipartisan staff, not by an outside agency. Hart trainers taught us what we need to know to do it ourselves,” she said.
Poland agreed. “For a large county in a state often watched nationally, even as a swing state in a presidential election, it is extremely important to us that bipartisan election officials program, test and maintain the equipment, rather than having a vendor do it for us. We have always programmed and tested our own elections. Hart gives us the ability to do that,” she said.
Yet, when needed, Hart is just a phone call away.
“Hart has always been quick to respond, and even quicker to anticipate our needs,” said Poland. “Our staff is on a first name basis with their staff. When we call, we know we are talking to someone who knows us, our system and our expectations.”
Additional Ohio counties are considering Verity, and Braithwaite expects more announcements in the coming months.
For more information about the Verity Voting system, please visit https://www.hartintercivic.com/ohio/