PONTIAC, Michigan, September 19 – Hart InterCivic’s Verity® Voting system passed its first hands-on test in Michigan with flying colors when voters in Oakland, Muskegon, and Ottawa counties went to the polls this August.
The three jurisdictions are the first of 11 new Hart partners in Michigan to vote with Verity, the most up-to-date election system available. Verity was chosen for its transparency, security, ease of use, efficient software and customer service.
At the polls, voters used a paper ballot and immediately fed it into a scanner at the precinct. “They loved it,” said Joe Rozell, Director of Elections for Oakland County. “The No. 1 comment I heard was how much voters liked the confirmation ‘Your ballot has been counted’ on the screen.”
For Rozell, a three-year member of Michigan’s joint evaluation committee, seeing Verity’s secure transmission system in action was an impressive example of using innovation and teamwork to best serve Michigan voters. Hart developed the Relay feature to meet Michigan’s strict standards for securely delivering vote totals to a central office.
“We pushed Hart to come up with an innovative, secure solution for Michigan transmissions. Relay exceeded every expectation,” Rozell said. “With Relay, we were able to create a private network using AT&T, and our election data never touched the internet. It worked perfectly, and we had secure results at the main office 27 minutes after the polls closed. That was never possible before.”
Preparation leading up to Election Day also got high marks from county officials. Verity’s easy-to-use features for ballot layout and election pre-definition eliminate the need to bring in a consultant to prepare for every election. This translates into significant ongoing costs savings for Verity users.
Justin Roebuck, Ottawa County Clerk, credited Hart’s training and customer service for a trouble-free election process. “Not only was a project manager on hand for training, but Hart’s educational materials are exceptional,” he said. “We’ve been so impressed with the level of detail and the thoughtfulness that goes into the training materials.”
Roebuck said the proof of how well his poll workers were trained began early on election morning when he typically expects many troubleshooting phone calls. “At 7:30, I had to test my phone to make sure it was working because we had no calls from the precincts! Setup and opening the polls were unusually smooth.”
“Plus, the support from the Hart team was phenomenal on Election Day. They had folks standing by, and they visited each of our precincts during the day. That night they were on hand to make sure we were able to receive our results appropriately and properly.”
Oakland County saw the state’s first test of the Verity Central high-speed scanning solution in a recount. County Clerk Lisa Brown set up a large-screen display so that the board of canvassers, candidates and members of the public could see and discuss all the ballots that needed adjudication at the same time.
“It was wonderful,” Brown said. “Not only was it completely transparent, but it was simple to understand, and we were done quickly. With Verity’s color-coded display, we could quickly see what was wrong with a ballot, make a judgment and move along.”
“Not a single vote changed in the recount,” Brown said, praising the reliability of the system. “I love when I am reassured that I made the right decision, and it just keeps happening with Hart.”
“We congratulate Michigan’s early Verity adopters on their successful first elections with the new system,” said Phillip Braithwaite, President and CEO of Hart InterCivic. “These leaders’ positive experiences echo what we are seeing across the U.S. as a growing number of jurisdictions adopt Verity. Our other Michigan counties can look to Muskegon, Oakland and Ottawa as they prepare for November elections. Hart and Verity are in Michigan for the long haul; we are committed to fostering smoothly run elections in the state for many years ahead.
Based in Austin, Texas, Hart has seen tremendous customer growth in recent years, and extremely high customer satisfaction. The company uses a direct partnership approach to servicing the election solutions it provides, citing higher accountability and reduction in “middleman” costs.