Los Angeles County—Voting Solutions for All People
Update: Sept. 2019
Los Angeles County successfully conducted a Mock Election using the VSAP system that will debut during the March 2020 presidential primaries.
The two-day event (Sep 28-29) started with a sneak-peek event for local media. More than 1,200 voting devices were available at 50 sites around the County. Participants cast ballots for things like “Favorite LA Sports Team” and “Favorite Tourist Attraction” using the County’s new VSAP system.
More than 5,800 LA residents took part in the countywide event. Feedback from the event will be considered as the VSAP system continues through its development process toward certification by the state.
See news coverage of the mock election here.
Update: Aug. 2019
L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan and Smartmatic will host a mock election to allow LA citizens to hands-on with the new Voting Solutions for All People (VSAP) system. The public test will take place at 50 locations across the county on Sept. 28 and 29, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
To prepare for the event, the Smartmatic team has been working hard to manufacture, program and ship hundreds of VSAP machines to LA.
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.
On May 2, 2019, NBC Investigations reported on the development of the VSAP system. That story can be found here.
About Voting Solutions for All People (VSAP)
Voting Solutions for All People (VSAP) began in 2009 when Los Angeles County started looking to replace its aging voting system. The county sought to create a system that was less complicated for voters and more inclusive. Of course, it also needed its new system to be secure, transparent, and easy to maintain and upgrade over subsequent years.
The County sought input from a wide variety of stakeholders. It quickly became clear, however, that a jurisdiction as large and diverse as Los Angeles County needed a system that was more sophisticated than any off-the-shelf system on the market. So 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.
The research led the County to replace its precinct-based voting model with a vote-center model. Instead of requiring citizens to vote only at their assigned local precinct, they would now be able to vote at any voter center anywhere in the jurisdiction.
In 2017, Los Angeles County began searching for a partner to build VSAP and issued a rigorous RFP. On June 12, 2018, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to award the VSAP manufacturing contract to Smartmatic. 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 its choice. Smartmatic immediately established an office in Los Angeles County to begin VSAP development.
Under the agreement, Smartmatic is responsible for systems integration, engineering and manufacturing of the new voting system. Smartmatic will manufacture 31,100 VSAP Ballot Marking Devices (BMD). 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 on their smartphone or tablet. They then bring the device to the vote center and download their ballot to the VSAP. This will expedite the voting process and reduce any possible wait times at the vote center.
Los Angeles County voters will first be used in the March 2020 presidential primary before the November 2020 elections.