The VSAP (Voting Solutions for All People) project began in 2009 when Los Angeles County decided to replace its voting system.
The fundamental objective was to modernize the elections and to offer an accessible voting model for all voters in the jurisdiction, the largest in the US.
At the end of 2017, once there was a clear model of the voting would work, Los Angeles County election officials began looking for a partner to develop the VSAP system. In June 2018, the County Board of Supervisors unanimously granted the VSAP contract to Smartmatic.
The new relationship allowed the creation of a voting solution that promises to give new meaning to Election Day in the United States. The innovative voting machine breaks ground in usability, security and accessibility for voters with disabilities and those who are non-native English speakers.
Dean Logan, the County registrar and secretary, has repeatedly mentioned that this voting system exceeds national security standards for voting “because it unambiguously reflects the intention of the voter.”
Lawrence Norden, deputy director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center, commented that, “if this voting system in Los Angeles is successful, which I suspect will be, it could have repercussions in the future of the elections in the United States” .
Greater participation: one of the promises of the VSAP solution
With more polling stations and a new 11-day voting period – including two weekends – Los Angeles County expects voter participation to rise during the 2020 elections.
The voting machine, with a touchscreen similar to an iPad or smartphone, should engage younger voters who are accustomed to interacting with mobile devices daily.
One unique feature that probably will set the difference into the voter participation rates on the Election Day for Los Angeles County is the innovative Interactive Sample Ballot (ISB).
The ISB allows voters to pre-mark their ballot selections on their smartphone or tablet, then bring it to any vote center for secure processing. The ISB provides voters with additional privacy, accessibility and convenience and it may reduce wait times and long queues, one of the issues why sometimes voters prefer not to participate in the elections.
Only time will tell if this new voting system in Los Angeles will resonate with election officials in other jurisdictions in the United States. For the moment, users who already had the opportunity to test-drive it commented that voting was fast, easy and fascinating!