Los Angeles County’s open-source vote tally system was certified by the secretary of state Tuesday, clearing the way for redesigned vote-by-mail ballots to be used in the November election.
“With security on the minds of elections officials and the public, open-source technology has the potential to further modernize election administration, security and transparency,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said. “Los Angeles County’s VSAP vote tally system is now California’s first certified election system to use open-source technology. This publicly-owned technology represents a significant step in the future of elections in California and across the country.”
The system — dubbed Voting Solutions for All People (VSAP) Tally Version 1.0 — went through rigorous security testing by staffers working with the secretary of state as well as an independent test lab, according to county and state officials.
“This is a significant milestone in our efforts to implement a new voting experience for the voters of Los Angeles County,” said Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan. “The VSAP Tally System will ensure that new Vote by Mail ballots cast in the upcoming November election will be counted accurately and securely.”
Proponents of open-source software say the systems are more reliable and less vulnerable to hacks, in part because problems with the systems can be more easily identified and fixed than those in proprietary systems.
Vote-by-mail packets will go out to voters beginning Oct. 9 and will include a new, easy-to-use ballot, return envelope and secrecy sleeve along with an “I Voted” sticker. No postage will be required on the return envelope.
It is the first step in a new voting experience for Los Angeles County voters. That includes changing from precinct-based polling places to convenient voting centers, a move prompted by the passage of Senate Bill 450. A longer term modernization of the system is expected to include touch-screen voting in multiple languages.
The county is also updating voting software and implementing new quality control practices to avoid a repeat of a glitch that resulted in more than 118,000 voters being omitted from printed voter rosters during the June 5 primary election.