In January 2020, Brunswick County acquired a new voting system to replace the decertified iVotronic Direct Record Electronic voting machines that had been used since 2006. The new system features a paper ballot that is hand marked by the voter completely filling in the rectangle next to their selection. Once the ballot is filled out, the voter will insert it into a scanner.
Verity is user-friendly and provides an accessible device that enables all voters, including those with disabilities, to mark their ballots privately and independently. This accessible ballot marking device includes an audio ballot reader and accommodates adaptive devices such as a sip-and-puff.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I know the voting system recorded my vote the same way I cast it?
A: Extensive state-mandated logic and accuracy testing is performed before each election to verify the integrity of installed software and to ensure that the system is recording votes correctly. Additionally, the system uses paper ballots. Every voter uses the scanning machine to cast a paper ballot, regardless of whether the voter hand-marks the ballot or prints it from the ballot marking device. That original paper ballot is retained throughout the process and remains the official record of the vote.
Q: What if I change my mind or make a mistake on my ballot?
A: Your vote is not officially cast until after you see the “Your vote has been recorded” screen on the scanner after inserting your ballot. At that point, it is no longer possible for you to make any changes. However, if you change your mind before you cast your ballot, you can change your selections. When using the ballot marking device, a ballot review screen appears before you print your ballot. This screen lists all the choices you have made and lets you know if you missed voting in any race. From this screen, you can return to any contest on the ballot and change your selections, if you wish. If you want to change your ballot selections after you have hand-marked or printed your ballot, you can ask a poll worker to “spoil” the ballot and issue you a new ballot up to three times.
Q: What if I don’t want to vote in a particular race?
A: It is your decision and right to choose not to vote in any race. If you are hand-marking the ballot, simply skip the race(s) you do not wish to vote in. If you are using the ballot marking device, just select the Next button to move forward past any race you want to skip.
Q: What if I accidentally vote twice in a race? Will my vote be discarded?
A: If you are hand-marking your ballot and mark more than the permitted number of votes in a race, the scanning machine returns your ballot, and the touchscreen displays a message indicating any races that have too many choices marked. You may request a new ballot to mark, or touch “Cast the ballot as is.” If you choose “Cast the ballot as is,” your vote will not count in that race. If you are using the ballot marking device, the system does not allow you to select more than the permitted number of votes in a race. The touchscreen displays an error message and prompts you to select only the permitted number.
Q: How do I know that my vote has been cast and counted?
A: After you insert the ballot into the scanning machine and the ballot is scanned, you will see the “Your vote has been recorded” screen, and an audible chime sounds. This lets you know your vote has been cast and counted.
Q: If the power fails or if there is some other system failure, will my vote be lost?
A: No, your vote cannot be lost once you have scanned the ballot with the scanning machine and you see the “Your vote has been recorded” screen. Your vote is stored in three separate places, and all data is protected and cannot be lost in the unlikely event that the system fails. In addition, both the voting device and the scanning machine have built-in power back-up systems, so they will still function even if the main power supply fails.
Q: Does this system have paper backup?
A: Yes. Every voter uses the scanning machine to cast a paper ballot, regardless of whether the voter hand-marks the ballot or prints it from the ballot marking device. That original paper ballot is retained throughout the process and remains the official record of the vote.