Multi-channel voting is a unique solution made possible by Smartmatic. It involves the configuration of multiple voting channels which provide voters a choice of methods to submit their voted ballots in a convenient and secure way. It may include any combination of the following:
- In-person voting, when voters are expected to show up at a special location to cast their ballots. This may take place in an electronic voting machine or on paper ballots that can be counted electronically.
- Remote voting, is giving the voter the convenience and flexibility to cast their vote on their own digital device (smartphone, laptop, tablet, desktop) from anywhere in the country or around the globe using a secure Internet voting platform.
The multi-channel process may vary significantly across jurisdictions. For example, some election authorities in the past have chosen to combine electronic voting for city polling locations with paper ballot voting for remote areas. Other election authorities have chosen to enable all voters to vote via the Internet, while still allowing any voters to submit a paper ballot that can later be counted electronically.
There are many possible combinations. And we make them available to election commissions worldwide.
Not only do we create and deploy all the technology needed to make voting completely auditable, transparent and secure via electronic means (you'll read about these under 'product offering' below). We also provide every service to ensure its complete success, from training the personnel involved to providing all the necessary technical support. We can also help improve manual voting with our services or via partial automation with authentication devices, for example.
Polling station setup
Once the election material arrives at its destination, authorised personnel verify they've received it, that it's complete and in perfect working order. In our elections that feature electronic voting, this material includes electronic voting machines, electronic ballots, biometric authentication devices and data transmission satellites.
Our electronic voting machines have an "open polls" feature, which initiates the voting session at the start of Election Day. Poll workers can only activate this feature through a password and within certain hours, according to pre-defined rules. Otherwise, the machine will not work at all.
Voter authentication and session activation
For in-person voting, we offer means to check a voter's identity and eligibility, by matching their personal information against a voter list. This can be used for both electronic voting and paper-based voting. Once eligibility is determined, voters are given access to the voting session.
Voters who choose to vote remotely are provided credentials they can use to cast their ballot via the Internet, or also when they send their voted ballots via the postal service.
Whether voting in-person or remotely, Smartmatic is leading the way by introducing biometric verification of a voter's identity, which completely eliminates the possibility of identity theft.
Option selection (by the voter)
This sub-process represents the actual voting act, where the voter selects his or her choice or choices from the available options in the contest.
It's essential to record the voter's choice correctly, whether it's made on a paper ballot, electronic ballot or voting machine. Our electronic voting machines capture the voter intent perfectly.
All of our voting machines feature interfaces specifically designed to assist voters with disabilities cast their ballot independently. These include audio voting buttons with Braille script, different colour configurations in our monitors for the visually impaired, and ‘sip-and-puff’ interfaces.
Audio ballots are available in both electronic voting machines and Internet voting interfaces.
Ballot casting refers to the act of placing a ballot in a ballot box or pressing a "vote" button on an electronic voting machine or Internet voting system.
It's vital the ballot cast is the one the voter intended, that each voter can only cast one ballot, and that the choice they make is completely private.
We offer two ballot casting options for electronic voting:
1. Optical scanners that read paper ballots;
2. Electronic voting machines that allow each voter to get a voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT), thereby offering complete auditability, transparency and accuracy (see 'product offering' below).
Verification by voters
Electronic voting, electronic counting and Internet voting have the added value of allowing voters to verify directly that their ballots have been cast as intended.
All our electronic voting machines have a voter-verifiable paper audit trail printer (VVPAT), which prints a "receipt" the voter can and should read to ensure the ballot was cast and registered as intended. Our remote voting systems have a unique verification feature that enables voters to receive acknowledgement that their ballot has been received exactly as submitted.
All vote receipts produced by the system are stored in sealed boxes, and are always key to performing audits of the process.
All our voting systems, whether in-person or remote, have a "close polls" switch. Poll workers or designated officials can access this password-protected feature at the allowed time. At this moment all voting stops and the process is ready for the tally.
Consolidation and counting
The counting process varies across voting media used. All voted paper ballots are digitalized and counted electronically. Electronic voting machines also generate a count of all votes stored electronically and print a report including the count of all ballots cast and the candidates and parties they were cast for.
All our machines can additionally be fitted with transmission devices that can be activated only after polls close. These devices operate over landlines or mobile or satellite networks, and enable the voting machines to transmit their results to the consolidation centre securely. This process significantly speeds up the overall consolidation process and consistently delivers faster electoral returns.
Polling location audits
We recommend all election authorities implementing electronic voting to allow voters, observers and representatives of political parties to carry out "hot audits" of the results of the voting, whether the voting was done remotely or in-person. At the polling locations, all vote receipts printed by the electronic voting machines can be hand-counted, and the results can be matched to the totals produced by the electronic voting machines' own count to demonstrate accuracy to all stakeholders.
Packing and reverse logistics
Finally, election material, such as ballots, electronic voting machines, computers, pencils and papers is packed away, according to protocols pre-defined by the electoral authorities.
Logistics workers (who we can train) must then pick up these materials from every polling location to be delivered in a safe, secure and timely fashion back to central warehouses.
Our Election-360 software monitors this entire process.