New development: Scanner for the counting of votes in the USA

During the course of the past ten years, Election Systems & Software (ES&S) has provided support for more than 30,000 elections from specially developed organizational concepts, to required technical equipment and up to all of the services that surround an electon process. Its devices and software solutions can be employed for elections at all levels – from elections of a president and European elections and for local government elections, but even e.g. for elections of shop committee members.

Initial situation
Following substantial difficulties involving organizational features and hardware problems encountered during the presidential elections in the year 2000, federal legislaton titled "HAVA" (Help America Vote Act) was launched. The goal was to replace punchcard and lever-based voting systems and establish minimum election administration standards. Election Officials needed new tabulation equipment and ES&S was the nations leader in providing industry-best technology. As the demands for faster, more accurate scanning became priority, ES&S started a search for a competent and reliable scanner designer and supplier.

Project aims
The particular difficulty in the automated evaluation of the ballots consists in the processing of ballots folded as a result of their being sent in by mail. A maximum of one error in the form of the double registering of a document, a paper jam or a read error may occur for every 10,000 ballots. By the same token, it must be possible to process up to 1,000 ballots in a single processing run. At the end of the counting process, a correct and reproducible result must be available as quickly as possible. In addition, very exacting safety prescriptions for elections must be observed during the entire process.

Project description
ES&S decided in favor of DATAWIN as designer and OEM supplier. Resulting from intensive cooperation between ES&S and DATAWIN, a high-performance scanner was developed that is capable of recording the great volumes of ballots within the context of centralized evaluation.

With the new election scanner it is possible to scan up to 300 ballots (600 pages) per minute and evaluate them by means of an integrated high-performance PC. Even folded voting documents can be processed without problems. Invalid documents as well as documents with handwritten supplements are sorted out directly into three automatic output trays.

The DS850 is characterized by its easy operation, robust and sturdy construction, maximum safety standards and high throughput. Beyond that, the scanner is capable of processing different paper sizes and qualities.

Following a protracted certification procedure conducted by the US authorities, the DS850 high-speed election scanner received approval to be used for elections in the USA.  Already the first practical trials of the DS850 proved to be fully successful and exceeded all expectations.

Aldo Tesi, President and CEO of ES&S: "In DATAWIN we have found a strategic partner with many years of experience, from whom our mutual development project as well as our customers will profit to the highest degree."