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Los Angeles County unveils new voting system prototype

Posted: June 30, 2016 7:54 p.m.
Updated: June 30, 2016 7:54 p.m.
A new voting system prototype for Los Angeles County. Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk. A new voting system prototype for Los Angeles County. Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk.
A new voting system prototype for Los Angeles County. Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk.
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A new voting system prototype for Los Angeles County, which will replace a system based on technology from the 1960s, was unveiled Thursday in the city of Los Angeles.

“Today’s event was received with great excitement,” said Brenda Duran, a spokeswoman with the Los Angeles County Voting Systems Assessment Project, established in 2009 to create the new voting system. “L.A. County's core system that is used today has been in existence for almost 60 years. People are excited for a new system.”

The new voting system will replace the current one known as “InkaVote Plus.” One of the main drawbacks of the current system: It does not allow for any technical upgrades.

“Because of the technology, we knew it was time to replace it,” Project Manager Monica Flores said. She added that with limited voting system options, the county decided to design a whole new system.

The updated system – expected to be in use by 2020 – was created by IDEO.

One of the major benefits of the new system is that voters will no longer be required to go to a certain polling place to cast their ballot. They can go to any location in the county within a period of 10 days, Flores said.

The new system utilizes a touch-screen display to provide an interactive ballot for those who go to a polling station. Voters can choose a font size and language to suit them.

All machines will accommodate hearing-disabled voters, able to adjust volume on their audio ballot.

Flores noted that voters can open a sample ballot on their smartphones or computers, fill it out at their leisure and receive a QR code with their ballot selections.

The built-in QR scanner will read the ballot, allow the voter to review it and then print it out right at the machine, she said. All completed ballots are printed.

“It’s a whole new voting experience,” Flores said.

The only way to vote from home is to request a vote-by-mail ballot, which was also revamped, she said.

“The current one can be a little confusing,” she said.

The updated vote-by-mail method will have an increased font size, and each election contest will be easier to find for voters to make their selections.

More than 3,500 stakeholders were engaged throughout the process of coming up with a new voting system, Flores said. IDEO created three versions of the proposed machine before settling on the latest prototype.

The prototype is ready for the next phase: going out for bids, Duran said.

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