Voting System FAQ

What voting system does Denton County use?
In 2017 Denton County Commissioners Court approved the purchase of the HART Verity voting system in ballot-on-demand format. This system prints ballots that are hand marked by the voter. We were the first county in the United States to adopt this system.

The system was chosen by Commissioners Court after identifying the desire of many voters to return to hand-marked ballots as opposed to touch-screen electronic devices or electronic ballot-marking devices.

What are the advantages of Verity ballot-on-demand?
Since the inception of electronic voting (touch-screen and ballot-marking device) after the elections in November of 2000, many voters had questioned the accuracy of that type of voting. Verity ballot-on-demand allows the voter to hand mark their ballot which can then in turn be used to verify the tabulation process through recounts and audits. If questions arise, we can turn to the ballots that the voters personally hand marked to verify tabulation results.

Prior to ballot-on-demand, if a county used paper ballots, they had to pre-print ballots in sufficient number to ensure they didn’t run out of ballots. Since a voter can vote anywhere during early voting, each ballot style had to be available in every early voting location. As an example, if a voter lives in Pilot Point but works in Carrollton and decided to stop at a Carrollton polling site during early voting, their Pilot Point ballot had to be available in Carrollton. This meant that you had to print more ballots than you had voters. This was a very costly expense that resulted in a lot of waste and un-voted ballots that had to be stored post-election for 22 months. With the advent of ballot-on-demand it meant that we only have to print the ballots that are actually used, thereby eliminating that costly waste.

Are voting systems certified?
Yes. Voting systems in Texas are required to have a double certification; first federally by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), and secondly by the Texas Secretary of State. Texas Certification information can be found at this link: https://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/laws/votingsystems.shtml
I keep hearing Verity lost certification prior to the 2020 election, is this true?
No. The rumor started that the testing lab (Pro V&V) that performed the test of Verity lost accreditation and therefore Verity was not certified. This is not accurate. Verity was certified at the time, is certified now, and the certification never lapsed. The EAC directly responded to this rumor in a memo that can be found here: EAC Accreditation Memo

Additionally, the Interim Executive Director of the EAC had the following to say about the matter to the Texas Secretary of State’s Director of Elections:

  • EAC lab accreditation cannot be removed without a vote of the Commissioners. Pro V&V’s accreditation was never removed by the Commissioners.
  • EAC lab accreditation certificates posted to the EAC’s website previously contained an expiration date in error and this is the origin of the idea that a lab’s accreditation could expire. This has been rectified on the current certificates posted to our site; they no longer contain an expiration date.
  • The EAC determines whether a system receives our certification, not a test lab.
  • States determine whether systems are certified in their state, not the EAC or a test lab.
Is the voting system connected to the internet?
No. In Texas it is not only illegal to have a voting system connected to the internet, it is not even a possibility as they cannot contain the components to connect to the internet. This is true of the equipment that is in the field (at your polling site) and the computers in the Elections office that are used to design the ballot and tabulate the votes. Even the computers used to program and tabulate the election are free from internet, or even local network connectivity.
How is the voting system tested so I know my vote is counted correctly?
Chapter 129 of the Texas Election Code details the many types of testing that must be performed on a voting system. When equipment is received from the vendor, it must go through acceptance testing and a hardware diagnostic test. Once those are completed, it can be used in elections.

When equipment is to be used in an election, we perform 4 Logic and Accuracy tests. This is done by marking test ballots in a manner that allows votes for each candidate, race/measure, district, over-votes, under-votes and provisional votes. Once we mark the test ballots, we know what results we should expect from the tabulation of those votes.

The test is first performed by elections staff after completing/finalizing the ballot design of the election. The second test is the public test (open to the public). The third test is conducted on Election Day before any live ballots are tabulated. The fourth test is conducted after all live ballots have been tabulated. These tests tell us that the system is performing as it is supposed to and tabulating correctly. The system must pass all four of these tests.

Are any post-election counts done to prove the results were tabulated correctly?
Yes. After each election, it is mandatory to conduct a partial manual recount. A couple of days after the election, the Secretary of State’s office will email us three precincts that must be recounted by hand. The three precincts are not known to us beforehand. Once we are notified of the three precincts, we have to go to each early voting and Election Day ballot bags where those precincts cast votes, pull the ballots for those precincts, and hand count them. We then must certify to the State that the hand recount matches the tabulated results from election night.

We also have recounts requested by candidates where we have to hand recount their entire election. These recounts have time and again proven the accuracy of our voting system.

Can anyone tell how I voted?
No. There is no way to tell how any one individual voted as this is safeguarded by the right to a private vote. Voted ballots do not include any identifying information about the voter who voted the ballot; therefore, we cannot isolate a ballot in a ballot bags and determine who cast it.
Is the ballot paper used just regular paper?
No. All of our ballot paper is purchased from HART. It is a specific proprietary ballot paper that is watermarked for security purposes.

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