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City of Richmond tests groundbreaking election technology ahead of the 2016 General Elections

Richmond, Virginia - November 30, 2015 – Earlier this month, the City of Richmond, Va. tested a ground-breaking new technology during recent state elections, allowing officials to significantly streamline the reporting process and transmission of results.

For Richmond residents who visited some polls Nov. 3, their votes were successfully reported using “ePens” as opposed to traditional means. These devices—which resemble electronic pens as their names suggests—instantly translate handwritten information into digital data as poll workers complete their count reports. The captured information is then transmitted to consolidation centers in a quick, transparent and accurate manner.

This ePen reporting solution was developed and powered by Smartmatic, the world’s leading election technology and services provider.

“We are excited to bring this technology to the City of Richmond and its voters”, said Robert Cook, Smartmatic’s VP of Worldwide Business Support. “We’re testing the ePen as part of a much needed effort to modernize the election technology being used today, and Virginia is at the forefront of that change”.
     
According to a recent Brennan Center study, America’s voting machines are dangerously nearing the end of their lifespan. Results found that 43 states will use machines that will be at least 10 years old in 2016; and in 14 states, machines will be 15 years old or more. Ahead of next year’s presidential elections, many elections commissions are looking for solutions to update their equipment, improve efficiency and provide a better experience for voters.

In light of this pending revamp of the US election technology inventory, authorities tested this novel technology across several precincts yielding excellent results. According to Kirk Showalter, City of Richmond General Registrar, “Smartmatic’s ePen is on the threshold of providing a very useful resource to the election community”.  

“A decade after the Help America Vote Act funded technology for U.S. jurisdictions, the time has come to look for innovative ways to improve election administration,” Cook continued. “We’re honored to have brought one of the latest solutions from our R&D labs to Richmond. The ePen’s utility and functionality are only limited by imagination.”  

In addition to the functionality tested in Richmond, the ePen can be used to fully automate the process of manual voting, creating efficiencies for voters and poll workers, alike. The ePen will serve as one of the many solutions Smartmatic will explore to advance election technology ahead of the 2016 elections.