The next time Santa Cruz County voters cast their ballots, they will be using a new voting system. The Santa Cruz County Clerk invites the public to learn more about the new equipment during three public demonstration events of the new voting system:
- Thursday, June 20, 10 a.m.-noon – Santa Cruz County Government Center, 701 Ocean Street, 3rd Floor PLH Conference Room.
- Thursday, June 20, 6 p.m.-8 p.m. – Simpkins Swim Center, 979 17th Avenue in Santa Cruz.
- Friday, June 21, 10 a.m.-noon – Watsonville Civic Center, 275 Main Street, 4th Floor Community Room
The County’s existing voting system is obsolete and cannot be used after February 27, 2020. New systems must comply with the California Voting Systems Standards and be approved by the Secretary of State.
Three voting systems currently meet the standards and are available for use in California. The Santa Cruz County Clerk has selected Dominion’s Democracy Suite, with the company having provided voting equipment to Santa Cruz County voters since 2006.
“We are trading in our old model for a new one,” County Clerk Gail Pellerin said. “The new system provides better security, improved auditability, and an overall enhanced voter experience.”
The County Clerk plans to go before the Board of Supervisors in June with a contract to lease the new voting system using State-matching funds appropriated to upgrade and replace aging voting systems throughout California. The total annual cost of $206,000 will be split between the County and State.
The new system will be in place during the March 3, 2020 Presidential Primary Election. The new system is also paper-based, with the process of marking a ballot changing slightly to require filling in a bubble rather than marking a line to indication a selection.
New accessible voting devices are similar to a large digital tablet, allowing voters to view their ballot and make selections. A paper ballot will be printed with the voter’s selections, and include a QR code that will be read by the vote tabulation equipment. Elections Officials will audit accessible devices by comparing the printout of the voters’ choices with the votes that have been tabulated. The system also includes a State-law mandated remote accessible vote-by-mail ballot for voters with disabilities, as well as military and overseas voters.