New Hart InterCivic voting technology approved by Tarrant and Hays Counties will enable the Counties to switch to popular, efficient Vote Centers in time for November elections.
Both jurisdictions chose the Verity® Voting system featuring Verity Duo within weeks of certification by the Secretary of State’s office. The newest technology in the Verity family, Verity Duo is a hybrid voting device that combines the ease of a touchscreen with the assurance of a paper trail. Verity is increasingly the system of choice in Texas with thousands of devices in service. Verity Duo has already been used in binding elections outside of Texas.
“New technology made Vote Centers an option in Tarrant County,” said Elections Administrator Heider Garcia. “We performed a very rigorous, very strict evaluation of options available to us. Hart scored the highest in general and in technical categories. We know voters will be pleased with paper-trail security and Vote Center convenience.”
In Hays County, officials have considered a move to Vote Centers for almost two years, and voters are eager for the paper-trail option that Verity delivers. “Moving to Vote Centers demands upgraded equipment plus we are confident in the extra support and training that we will have with Hart,” said Hays County Elections Administrator Jennifer Anderson. “We expect Verity to be an accurate and efficient change. Moving to Vote Centers and adding a paper trail before 2020 is good timing for us.”
Vote Centers allow any registered voter in the county to cast their Election Day ballot at whichever polling location is most convenient. Duo handles thousands of electronic ballot styles without the complications of pre-printing traditional paper ballots, making it ideally suited for Early Voting or Vote Centers. It was designed from the ground up to meet growing requests for paper records.
“We are proud that Tarrant and Hays Counties have chosen Verity. Verity is designed and manufactured in Texas, and we value our relationships with fellow Texans,” said Phillip Braithwaite, President and CEO of Hart InterCivic, an Austin-based company with more than 100 years of experience providing election solutions.
The security of Verity, which is equipped with the leading best practices in both digital and physical security, figures prominently for the Counties.
“In an era where we will be seeing more post-election auditing, the paper trail is essential to voter confidence. Verity has double the security, both physical and electronic,” said Anderson, who serves on the executive committee of the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC), a nationwide group chartered to prevent cyber threats.
“We were very impressed with the thought that Hart has put into Verity’s security,” said Garcia, whose background includes 13 years as a computer engineer and designer within the election technology space. He has also served as an election administrator for 4 years, including his time in Tarrant County which has about 1,200,000 registered voters. “We are very confident in Verity. It has the physical and software protections of a high-quality product.”
Both counties expect improved voter confidence and excellent user experiences throughout the election process.
“We’ve heard nothing but good feedback from other Verity users. We expect a faster, more accurate election with less human error,” said Anderson. “Poll workers should find it less stressful and so much easier to use new equipment. The compact, lightweight size will be appreciated in the warehouse and by the election worker loading a unit into the car,” she said. Anderson has seen elections from every angle. Not only has she served in her position for three years, she has been a poll worker and on staff for an elected official.
Tarrant County’s rigorous evaluation testing also points to ease of use and confidence in Verity. The team included a senior security officer, IT staff, networking representatives, an absentee ballot expert, warehouse representatives, and more hands-on users. “We covered all the aspects of a new system and found what best fit the needs of Tarrant County,” said Garcia.
Anderson is also confident that Verity meets the needs of her Hays constituents based on competitive demonstrations and scrutiny.
“Hart had the right answers when tough questions were raised about functions of the competing systems.” she said.
Concerns raised in Hays County, with about 135,000 registered voters, included:
- Does the scanner read a computer barcode or actual words on the pages to record the vote? Verity Duo is the only certified voting system that scans the words that the voter can verify.
- How are provisional ballots handled? Only Verity Duo prevents scanning provisional ballots at the polls without poll worker interaction. No poll worker marking of the ballot is required.
- Can someone who chooses a Spanish-language ballot review that ballot in Spanish? Verity Duo provides the voter with a ballot summary in the language they selected.
Both Counties are confident in smooth – if fast-paced – transitions to their new Verity Voting system based on Hart’s record of excellent customer support.
“We’ve worked with Hart for more than a decade, and we know they fulfill commitments. They’ve done this before. Finding out Hart was behind our top-rated system gives us peace of mind,” said Garcia. “We know them and their reputation. We’re happy.”
“We’ve always had a solid, professional relationship with Hart. We can count on them. Plus, a verifiable system is the right way to go,” said Anderson. “I would tell any county looking for a system in the next two years to look at a verifiable solution. We waited for a good solution and it was the right choice. Better safe than sorry.”
Verity, already popular in Texas, is gaining momentum as the system of choice for counties across the U.S. preparing for 2020 elections. Braithwaite expects the latest certification to meet the needs of more jurisdictions looking for paper-trail accountability.
“No one knows election technology better than Hart,” he said. “Verity delivers a flexible solution with topmost security. Stay tuned for more announcements as we provide the best systems to help advance democracy.”
For more information about the Verity Voting system, please visit https://www.hartintercivic.com/texas/