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Government Accountability Board Tests New Voting Equipment

September 22, 2009

MADISON, WI – The Government Accountability Board will conduct two days of testing on new voting equipment on September 29 and 30, including a public demonstration.

The G.A.B. staff will test Election Systems & Software’s (ES&S) Unity Voting System, which is comprised of a polling-place optical scanner for paper ballots, a high-speed optical scanner for centralized paper-ballot counting, and an auto-marking device to assist voters with disabilities cast paper ballots.

In July, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission certified that the ES&S Unity system meets the 2002 Voting System Standards established by the U.S. EAC. State law requires that voting equipment be approved by the G.A.B. before it can be used in Wisconsin.

Prior to any approval, voting equipment and materials are reviewed by G.A.B. staff and the Election Administration Council, an advisory panel of local election officials and community advocates. The vendor must set up and demonstrate a series of mock elections: a partisan primary, a mock general election with both a presidential and gubernatorial vote, and a mock nonpartisan election combined with a presidential preference vote. There will also be a separate demonstration for members of the public, including persons with disabilities and legislators.

The testing will begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday, September 29, and continue throughout the day. Testing resumes at 9 a.m. Wednesday, September 30, and concludes at the end of the day. From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., there will be a public demonstration of the equipment. Anyone viewing the public demonstration will be able to submit an evaluation to the Board.

Based on the test results, the G.A.B. staff will make a recommendation to the Board for consideration at the Board’s November 9, 2009, meeting.