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   I am NAME, and I am a volunteer with the Galveston County Clerk’s Election Office.    I am very pleased to have the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss an historic project that will affect every registered voter in Galveston County.  Galveston County is in the process of implementing  a state-of-the art voting system.    Today, I want to share with you the reasons behind that decision, tell you about the new system, and describe to you what you can expect over the next few months leading up to the first use of the the voting system.
   This is the eSlate, part of the Hart Voting System.  It is the system that will be used in the next Primary Election. To use eSlate, voters do not have to know anything about computers. The eSlate system is really more of an appliance – an easy-to-use voting appliance.     I have an eSlate demo unit with me today, so you will have an opportunity to try it out.
OR, IF SPEAKER HAS NOT BROUGHT A DEMO UNIT:
   I have brought with me today a short video tape that shows how the system is used, and I will play that in just a minute.
   Galveston County started researching new voting systems several years ago.     In order  to comply with Help America Vote Act, the ADA, and a law passed in Texas in the mid-90’s that required all new voting systems to be fully accessible to all voters, including those with physical challenges, we will discontinue use of our punch card system and will instead use the Hart Voting System which complies with all these laws.
The system that Galveston County has purchased is called the Hart Voting System.  The system was designed by an Austin-based company, Hart InterCivic, and the equipment is built in Fort Bend County in Sugar Land.  Hart InterCivic is providing a team that delivers and installs the equipment, trains the election and IT staff, and all poll workers, and is assisting with our voter education and outreach program.
A voting system must assure several things, including:
Unobstructed access and ease-of-use – the assurance that the system will be easy to use for anyone, ensuring all citizens their right to vote. Absolute accuracy – the assurance that the final tallies reflect the cumulative will of the people; Uncompromised privacy and security – the assurance that voters can cast their ballot without fear of disclosure or reprisal, knowing their votes will count as intended; and Ruggedness and durability - Reliable systems must continue to function even with rough use over time.    The County and the Election Equipment Committee  know that this system meets these tests.
   What will you see when you come to the polling place?
   When you come to vote, things won’t look a whole lot different.
   When you arrive to vote, you will sign in as always
   The Election Judge will then give you a 4-digit “Access Code.”    The number tells the system the right ballot for your precinct.  In elections, ballots may be different from polling place to polling place.  Sometimes even the same polling place has different ballots, depending on the precincts it serves.    The Access Code is not tied to your vote; No individual voter information is included with the votes cast. 
   While there will still be a voting booth, it will look a little different and inside the booth will be the new eSlate device. You may choose any open booth.  Each polling place will also have an ADA compliant booth for voters using wheelchairs or preferring to pull up a chair to sit while voting.    The eSlate you use to cast your ballot is about the size of a legal pad, about one inch thick, and weighs just 5.2 pounds.     When necessary, it can easily be carried outside for curbside voting.
   You use a wheel to navigate through the ballot and select your choice.    Turn the SELECT wheel to highlight your choices.  After you have selected your choice, press ENTER to mark your selected choice.    Use the triangular-shaped buttons to move back and forth through the pages of the ballot.  The PREV, or previous, button will take you  back one page.
   The NEXT button will take you forward one page.
When you have finished voting on all contests and have carefully reviewed the Ballot Summary Page, use the CAST BALLOT button to cast your ballot.    And, at any time, press the HELP button if you need assistance. When you press help once, instructions will be displayed on the screen.  If you press HELP twice, an election worker will come to assist you.
   With those simple controls in mind, let me now walk you through voting on the Hart Voting System.  (NOTE TO SPEAKERS: If it is convenient, you may want to have the eSlate with you at this point to illustrate the demo.)    Using the wheel, you, the voter, select a language – English or Spanish.
   Next, you are asked to enter the four-digit code the poll worker gave you when you checked-in at the voting site.  Again, the code tells the system which ballot to present to you; the code does NOT identify you in any way and cannot be linked to your vote.
Turn the SELECT wheel to highlight the first number of your Access Code.
Press ENTER to choose that number.
Repeat for all numbers of your Access Code.
When the last number in your code has been entered, you will see the first page of your ballot.
   If you enter an incorrect number, don’t worry.  You can clear it by highlighting “Clear Last” and pressing the ENTER button.  Then simply turn to the correct number and press ENTER. 
   An Access Code only works one time at one location.  You cannot use it again to cast another ballot.
   After entering the Access Code, the ballot will appear on the color screen. Use the wheel to move a blue highlight bar through the ballot. Once you move the highlight bar onto your desired choice, simply press the large button marked ENTER, and the selection is registered.     The box beside your choice turns red and all the other choices fade into the background, so you have a strong visual signal of your vote.    If you make a mistake or change your mind, all you have to do is turn to highlight your new choice and press ENTER.  Your previous choice will be de-selected.  The system will not let you mark more selections in any contest than allowed.
If you want to write-in a candidate, simply turn the wheel to highlight the “write-in” choice in a contest and press ENTER.  This screen will appear.  Turn the wheel, highlighting each letter of your candidate’s name in red, pressing ENTER for each letter.  To add a space between the candidate’s first and last name, turn the wheel to highlight the word “space” in red and press the ENTER button.  To make a correction, turn to highlight the word “clear last” in red and press ENTER until the correction is made.  When you’ve finished spelling the name, turn the wheel to highlight the word “accept” and you’ll be automatically returned to the ballot where you’ll see your candidate name with a red box beside it.
   When you have finished going through the ballot, continue turning the wheel until you reach the Ballot Summary Page.  Here you will see a list of all the choices you have made.  If you’ve skipped a race, you will see “No selections” in red.     You do not have to vote in every race, but if you missed voting by accident, you will have the chance to go back and make a selection in the contest you missed.    From this screen you can change your selections or correct mistakes. Use the wheel to move the highlight bar over the choice you want to change, press ENTER, and the system takes you to that contest.  Make your correction and return to the Ballot Summary page.
   From the Ballot Summary page,  press CAST BALLOT to put your ballot in the electronic ballot box.     PLEASE NOTE:  You will NOT be able to go back once you’ve pressed the CAST BALLOT button, so make sure your ballot is marked like you want it.
   Your vote has been recorded when you see the waving American Flag. You may now leave the voting booth.  It’s that simple!
   A key benefit of the Hart Voting System is the Disabled Access Unit, designed as a fully integrated feature of the system.  When a voter with disabilities, or for that matter a voter who cannot read English or Spanish fluently, comes to the polls, they are directed to a device that is that same as the others – a fact that is important to many people with disabilities - but the DAU includes headphones and an audio ballot reader that will read the ballot and audibly confirm choices.     The system also includes special components that support those with mobility impairments, including jelly switches that can be used as an alternate method of navigating the ballot and casting votes.  The system can even accommodate breath control devices – sometimes called “sip-and-puff” --- that allow the most seriously mobility impaired to cast votes independently.    Each component of the system has battery back up that will last 18 hours should the A/C power supply be interrupted.  The batteries also enable the system to be carried outside for curbside voting.
   Because the County is committed to ensuring all voters feel completely comfortable with the new system, we are doing presentations throughout the county.    Anyone may come to the County Clerk’s Office at the Courthouse in Galveston, M – F, 8:30 – 5:00 to take a test drive.  Instructional materials are available for distribution should you want some fliers or brochures to share with other groups you know.
Conclusion
   The right to vote privately and securely is fundamental.  Galveston County has a long history of successful, well-administered elections, and the new system will continue to build on that success.     The system is easy-to-use, accurate, secure and accessible, and the County is providing live demonstrations and instructional materials that will help ensure confidence and promote voter participation.     Thanks again for the opportunity to be here today, and I would be delighted to answer any questions you may have.
   To get more information about the system, the upcoming election, or any related matter, call the the Galveston County Clerk’s Office at or visit our website at www.GalvestonVotes.org.
(IF DEMO UINT PRESENT) Now feel free to come up and take a look.
(IF VIDEO IS BEING USED): Now lets take a look at a short video showing the system in action.