Voting Solutions for All People—Los Angeles County
(Ongoing 2020 solution)
Voting Solutions for All People (VSAP) began in 2009 when Los Angeles County decided to replace its aging voting system. As part of the decision, it planned to replace its precinct-based voting model with a vote center model that would allow all voters to vote anywhere in the County rather than only in their assigned precinct location. Initially, the County sought input from a wide variety of stakeholders on the type of system to purchase and implement. It quickly became clear, however, that a jurisdiction as large and diverse as Los Angeles County needed a system that was more sophisticated than commercially available units. Rather than purchasing an existing system, Los Angeles set out to design a state-of-the-art, publicly owned voting solution that would exceed anything that any other jurisdiction had implemented to date. In imagining such a system, the County undertook an unprecedented, decade-long process of soliciting input from the technology sector, political parties, voting rights groups, disability advocates, the academic community, the language minority community, and the voting population of Los Angeles County.
In late 2017, Los Angeles County began searching for a partner to build VSAP. After an exhaustive procurement process on June 12, 2018 the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to award the VSAP manufacturing contract to Smartmatic. The partnership between Los Angeles County and Smartmatic will make the VSAP solution a reality.
The County cited Smartmatic’s unparalleled experience in providing secure, advanced election technology and services to election commissions throughout the world as the primary reason for choosing Smartmatic. Smartmatic immediately established an office in Los Angeles County and began work on completion of VSAP system development. Under the agreement, Smartmatic is responsible for systems integration, engineering and manufacturing of the new voting system, which will be used by Los Angeles County voters in the 2020 elections, beginning with the March Presidential primary. Smartmatic will manufacture 31,100 VSAP Ballot Marking Device (BMD) units. In addition, the company is developing the VSAP BMD Manager (BMG). The BMG device enables the County to perform device management tasks, including loading software, locating individual machines in the warehouse, troubleshooting, and downloading usage data from BMDs after elections. The final component of the VSAP project that Smartmatic will deliver to Los Angeles County is the Interactive Sample Ballot (ISB). The ISB is a web interface that allows voters to pre-mark their ballot selections to expedite the voting process at the vote center.
On May 2, 2019, NBC Investigations reported on the development of the VSAP system. That story can be found here.
Update: May, 2019
Having completed the engineering validation testing phase of product development, Smartmatic is moving into the design validation testing phase.
On completion, the California Secretary of State will begin certification testing of the system. Certification testing is an extremely rigorous process designed to ensure that the system meets the California Voting System Standards—a set of requirements that are among the most exacting in the United States. Once certified, Los Angeles County will have a custom election system that is safe, secure, and accurate.