Moving to comply with a state mandate to replace its election system was a priority in Lancaster County. Despite the need for prompt action, County officials were not willing to compromise high standards established by the Election Board.
When the Verity® Voting system from the jurisdiction’s long-time election partner Hart InterCivic achieved State certification in May, the system met each of the five criteria the County had set. Lancaster County officials voted for the modern, secure new technology over competitors on June 26. Final approval came July 3, and system delivery was complete by July 10.
“Not only did we choose a system that met every standard we set, acceptance testing is underway and should be finished within the week,” said Randall Wenger, Lancaster County Election Director. “I hear there are counties that made agreements with other companies weeks or months earlier and are still waiting on delivery.”
“Hart’s prompt delivery allows us to make the Commonwealth’s recommended August 1 date for completion of acceptance testing. We’ll be ready for our November 5 election,” Wenger said.
“Lancaster County set high standards for new election technology. We appreciate their choice of Verity and their continued 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.
“We are working closely with elections staff to ensure the transition is smooth and efficient and that Verity’s advancements best serve the voters. We’ve partnered with the County since 2006 and look forward to many more years of supporting Lancaster County’s needs.”
Wenger praised Hart for the company’s responsive customer service over the years and the reliability of Hart’s legacy voting system. “Our prior system served us well, and we have had a great experience for the past 13 years. We are looking forward to new functionality.”
The County’s criteria, set in 2018, and met by Verity, include:
- Voter-marked paper ballots to effectively move voters through a polling place on Election Day
- Paper-ballot tabulation at the polling place, rather than a central location, allowing tabulation of absentee ballots at the polling place and notification of voters of any over-vote before leaving the polling place
- An ADA-compliant component to allow for the generation of ballots as similar as possible to voter-marked ballots, preserving, to the greatest extent possible, the privacy of the voter using this component
- A single piece of equipment that allows poll workers to print zero tapes and tally tapes to enable easier pre-election setup, post-election tear-down and completion of return sheets on Election Day
- A system that allows cross-nominated candidates to be correctly listed
“I believe the new system will be intuitive with little change for voters. There will be a small learning curve for workers, but I envision that we’ll open and close polls quickly and efficiently. We have time to work out any growing pains before the heavier turnout in 2020,” said Wenger, who has served as Election Director since 2012 and previously as an elected county official.
Hart pioneered digital ballot scanning, and the company’s decade-plus experience with the technology has strongly influenced Verity’s design.
A growing number of jurisdictions throughout the U.S. have chosen Verity to prepare for 2020 elections, and Braithwaite expects more announcements in the coming weeks.
Learn more about Verity: https://www.hartintercivic.com/state/pennsylvania/