San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division Purchases New Voting System

New Site Press Release

Contact: Mark Church, Chief Elections Officer & Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder
Alternate: Jim Irizarry, Assistant Chief Elections Officer & Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder

(Redwood City, CA) Today the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors approved a contract to lease a new voting system from Dominion Voting Systems, Inc., the first update to the county’s voting technology since 2006. The Registration & Elections Division plans to implement the new system before the November 5, 2019 Consolidated Municipal, School and Special District Election.

Mark Church, Chief Elections Officer and Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder, said, “Our rigorous, competitive selection process evaluated each system on hundreds of metrics, and each certified vendor provided a multi-day, on-site demonstration of their system. Based on this, I recommended the adoption of Dominion’s Democracy Suite. This system will provide voters with a faster, more intuitive, more accessible voting experience. But most important is ensuring that every vote is counted accurately. The security of our voting system was our highest concern, and this system provides state of the art solutions above and beyond the requirements of the law.”

The California Secretary of State’s Office applies one of the most exhaustive 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.

Each Vote Center will have multiple ADA-compliant voting stations, known as a ballot marking devices, which include a modern touchscreen tablet and an individual printer. These devices will provide a simple, intuitive interface for voters. Unlike the direct-recording electronic voting machines previously used, ballot marking devices do not store voters’ selections electronically. Instead, after marking their ballots, voters will print their ballots on a printer in their voting booth. The printed ballot will list the voters’ selections and display a machine-readable QR code label. The voters will then deposit their ballot in a ballot box. The new voting system is not connected to the Internet at any time and does not receive or transmit election data electronically through any type of external communication network.

Ballot boxes are returned to the Registration & Elections Division, where new central high-speed scanners will count 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.

San Mateo County has more than 400,000 registered voters. This number is expected to increase over the next year in advance of the March Presidential Primary and November Presidential General Elections in 2020. 

For more information on the November 5, 2019 Consolidated Municipal, School and Special District Election, please call 650.312.5222, visit www.smcacre.org or follow us on Twitter and Instagram @smcvote.