Last week, Rankin County voters were the first in Mississippi to cast their ballots on the state-of-the-art Verity® Voting system from Hart InterCivic. The School Bond Special Election marked a return to paper ballots for the county’s voters, who have voted electronically for close to 15 years.
Following a lengthy and exhaustive process to find the most cost-effective and simplest method of conducting elections, the Rankin County Board of Supervisors chose Hart InterCivic’s paper ballot and precinct scanner solution. The Supervisors are quite pleased with the results. Board President, Jared Morrison, told his fellow Board members, “This may have been the smoothest election we have had in 15 years. I have heard nothing but positive reports about our new equipment. I believe we can count this election as a great success for Rankin County. Our election commissioners, poll managers, poll workers, county staff and our partners at Hart did an outstanding job.”
“Rankin County chose to move from electronic voting to paper because our electronic machines are fifteen years old and it was becoming almost impossible to service the machines,” said Tonya Rivers, Rankin County Election Commissioner. “The electronic equipment had outlived its useful life, and it was time for a change. Our new system, using a combined paper and scanner approach, is much simpler and more reliable.”
“Voters loved being able to mark their ballots, scan them and walk out. We’ve had a lot of positive voter feedback, both face-to-face on Election Day and on our personal Facebook pages.”
Hart launched its user-friendly Verity Voting system in 2015 as a single, unified platform that supports both paper-based and electronic voting. For Rankin County, ease of use for voters and poll workers was the primary factor in choosing Verity. The choice has paid off in voter satisfaction and poll worker reports of easier equipment setup and operation on Election Day.
The county’s IT department is also impressed with the system’s ease. Rivers said, “Rankin County quit programming our own elections about 10 years ago. It was just too complex with the iVotronic, and the liability was high, so we paid the vendor to do it for us all those years. With Verity, programming elections is straightforward and simple; the Board of Supervisors and our IT department decided to bring the task back in house. This first election proved this to be a good decision – we needed extra ballots at the last minute, and in less than a minute, our IT lead sent me instructions, which I was able to easily follow to produce the ballots we needed.”
Rivers added, “Tabulation and reporting went extremely smoothly. The stress level at Election Central has never been this low for any election.”
Because of Rankin County’s procurement timeline and election schedule, the county had just two and a half months to implement the new Verity system. Rivers said, “Hart held our hand from day one – they made sure we felt comfortable every step of the way. They walked us through acceptance testing, brought us up to speed quickly with hands-on training and provided amazing training materials and guides. They have been responsive to my emailed questions at all hours and were right here beside us on Election Day. Hart is taking good care of us; I have nothing but high praise.”
Other Mississippi jurisdictions interested in seeing Verity in action are invited to contact Ms. Rivers or Hart InterCivic (512.252.6409) for a demonstration of the system.