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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
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
OR, IF SPEAKER HAS NOT BROUGHT A DEMO UNIT:
brought with me today a short video tape that
shows how the system is used, and I will play that in just a minute.
County started researching new voting systems several years
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.
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;
privacy and security – the assurance that voters can cast their ballot
without fear of disclosure or reprisal, knowing their votes will count as
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
When you come to vote, things won’t look a
whole lot different.
arrive to vote, you will sign in as always
Judge will then give you a 4-digit “Access Code.”
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.
Code is not tied to your vote; No individual voter information is included with the votes
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
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
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.
simple controls in mind, let me now walk you through voting on the Hart Voting
SPEAKERS: If it is convenient, you may want to have the eSlate with you at this point to
illustrate the demo.)
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.
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
An Access Code only works one time at one
location. You cannot use it again to cast another ballot.
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
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
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
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!
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
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
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.
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
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
(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.