Dominion Democracy Suite Voting System

Overview

Dominion Democracy Suite Voting System

Beginning with the November 5, 2019 Consolidated Municipal, School and Special District Election, San Mateo County will adopt the Democracy Suite Voting System from Dominion Voting Systems. The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors approved a contract to lease the new system on July 9, 2019.

Democracy Suite is a fully integrated, highly secure voting system. Using the Democracy Suite system will result in upgrades to multiple components of the County’s election system, including touchscreen ballot marking tablets and ballot printers in the Vote Centers for an improved voter experience. Additionally, the system will provide faster scanning technologies, and improved election security and management at the County’s Registration & Elections Division office.

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Vote by Mail
Dominion Democracy Suite Voting System

As a California Voter’s Choice Act County, all San Mateo County registered voters will receive a ballot in the mail. Vote by Mail ballots may be returned to any Ballot Drop Box in the County, via the US mail, or to a San Mateo County Vote Center.

Ballots will look similar to past San Mateo County ballots, with a few differences. For instance, voters will now mark their ballots by filling in red ovals instead of black rectangles. 

Instructional image of a ballot choice being marked

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Vote Centers
Dominion Democracy Suite Voting System

At a Vote Center, voters have the option of marking a paper ballot or using the new touchscreen ballot marking tablet to mark their ballot.

Each Vote Center will have multiple accessible voting stations consisting of a modern touchscreen ballot marking tablet and an individual printer. These devices provide a simple, intuitive interface for voters. Unlike the direct-recording electronic voting machines previously used, ballot marking tablets do not store voters’ selections electronically.

ballot marking tablet

After marking their ballots, voters print their ballots from a printer in their voting booth. The printed ballot lists the voters’ selections and includes a secure bar code. Voters then deposit their ballot in a Ballot Box.

Video – How to Vote using a Ballot Marking Tablet

Vote Centers

Español Video – Cómo Votar en una Tableta de Marcar Boletas

If voters choose to complete their ballot by hand, the appropriate ballot for each voter is printed. Once the voter completes marking the ballot, the voter deposits the ballot in the Ballot Box.

Ballot Boxes are returned to the San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division, where central high-speed scanners count the paper ballots and tabulate votes. As ballots are reviewed during the canvass, the system creates a complete audit trail documenting how each mark on each ballot was interpreted and tallied.

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Accessibility
Dominion Democracy Suite Voting System

Democracy Suite enables new options for accessible voting.

The ballot marking tablet accommodates voters with visual impairments by presenting the ballot in audio format during an accessible voting session. Headsets provide voters with audio instructions to perform all actions, such as selecting language, adjusting volume and speed of ballot, and reviewing, editing or changing a write-in selection.

An Audio Tactile Interface (ATI), a handheld device that is used by a voter during an Accessible Voting Session, is used to navigate though and make selections to their ballot.

The ATI:

  • Has raised buttons of different shapes and colors, with Braille numbers and letters
  • Can be operated with one hand
  • Includes two 3.5 mm headphone jacks, one for headphones and one for assistive devices like jelly switches, paddles or sip and puff devices

The new voting booths are designed for accessibility. The ballot marking tablet screen can be tilted to support viewing from either a standing or seated position.

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Security
Dominion Democracy Suite Voting System

The California Secretary of State’s Office applies one of the most rigorous voting system testing and certification programs in the country. Prior to being certified for use, all voting systems undergo end-to-end testing, including functional testing, source code review, red team security testing with experts trying to “break into” the voting system, accessibility testing and volume testing.

In compliance with SOS certification standards, no part of the Democracy Suite voting system connects to the internet at any time. The system does not receive or transmit election data through any type of external communication network. The system encrypts data and requires successful completion of a two-step authentication process before anyone can access data.

Using Democracy Suite, all San Mateo County ballots will be paper ballots, ensuring a physical audit trail. Voters using ballot marking tablets will be able to see their selections printed on their ballot before depositing their ballot in the Ballot Box. In addition, the Democracy Suite System includes a complete ballot-level audit trail. As ballots are scanned, a digital image of every ballot is created, and appended to each image is a record of how the voter’s intent was interpreted by the voting system. This helps ensure an accurate, transparent and auditable elections process.