As candidates gear up for the upcoming elections in 2020, a few changes are being introduced in voting systems all over the United States. In the City Council Meeting for the Santa Clarita county held on Sept. 10, there were few essential topics of discussion.

  • September is declared the Hispanic Heritage Month.
  • September 17-23 is the Constitution Week for the County.
  • The council awarded a contract for City’s Enterprise Resource Planning System expected to cost $5 million.
  • They awarded another contract for streetlight poles that would cost around $7 million.
  • The council members received a much-awaited presentation on the VSAP (Voting Solutions for All People) voting system that utilizes custom QR codes, smart tablets, and new voting stations.

The current voting system requires a citizen to be present at the designated polling booth.

While there are no waiting lines in some places, there are hours of forced sunbathing at some. People with disabilities need help in voting; they cannot cast votes on their own. The only way to verify their votes is through a receipt that has a barcode and the chosen contestant displayed on it, which has led to many discrepancies in voting, counting and overall election procedure in past elections.

All of this is set to change by 2020. Voting Solution for All People employs new technologies to ease election procedures at the same time, maintain integrity. It introduces smart tablet computers, custom QR codes and several other tech improvements in voting and counting methods ahead of the Presidential elections in March 2020. The new system is a countermeasure against alleged hacks in previous election’s counting methods, double voting, and miss marking of ballots.

Here are a few takeaways from the presentation:

  • Voters can register and vote on the same day.
  • The new voting system is not connected to the world wide web to avoid hacking.
  • The new voting centers will be universal for all county members, meaning citizens from any vicinity can vote across all voting centers throughout the County.
  • The voting stations will facilitate reading ballots and listening to them in 13 languages.
  • Voters can adjust the font size, color, contrast, and view angle of the screens.
  • For people in wheelchairs, the voting stations can adjust the height accordingly.
  • Even the voting by proxy ballots are redesigned and would include clear instructions about voting along with a QR code for authenticating the vote.
  • The new voting system uses QR codes printed on the ballot for voters to scan and verify their votes successfully.
  • Usage of QR codes is expected to improve counting challenged votes and mishandled mail ballots. QR codes will provide exact information incase of mismarking.
  • The QR based counting of votes and the use of conversational smart tablets are expected to be more efficient and effective in preventing discrepancies like double-voting.

The new voting system

While there are a few concerns about security, the new voting system is a step-up from the traditional, outdated way of voting. The tablets and voting stations offer an independent voting procedure for people with disabilities.

Citizens are already well-versed with creating QR codes that they can verify their vote by scanning the QR code on their ballot. It also helps the County to count challenged votes so that the best man wins efficiently.

The list of voting centers is still under consideration. The official Voting Solutions for All People website will be publishing the final list. The new voting system has been developed for over ten years and aims to address the issue of an outdated voting system, increase security, and increase voter participation and turnout.

The new system is set to take center stage in the upcoming California Presidential Primary elections to be held on March 2020. The County plans to conduct mock elections as a way to test the new voting system. Mock Election will be on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 28-29 from 11 am to 4 pm. The trial will give voters the chance to interact with the new voting system across 50 locations all over the County. All of these pilot locations are published online on the VSAP website.

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