“King County Elections was happy to work the King Conservation District on the pilot for their February election,” said Janice Case, Deputy Director of Elections in King County, WA. “The post-election audit showed that the number of ballots submitted via the OmniBallot system matched the number of paper ballots that were processed and accounted for. The OmniBallot system worked well for our team, from downloading to verifying to printing to tabulating. The system produced a paper ballot that was able to be run directly through our tabulation scanners and the process was efficient, easy to use, and even provided additional layers of privacy between the voters’ identity and their votes cast. Perhaps most surprising, the voter signatures submitted via OmniBallot matched at a higher level of acceptance than traditional signatures. King County Elections was impressed with the OmniBallot system and happy to partner with KCD and DemocracyLive to pilot it in our area.”
The process between King County and Democracy Live was seamless: ballots submitted online were stored in the AWS cloud and kept secure using AWS Object Lock that encrypts the ballots leaving them unable to be manipulated. After voting was completed, King County election officials downloaded and printed the ballots stored in the cloud, ran signature verification and then tabulated them according to the same standards as mail ballots.
“The successful King Conservation District election demonstrates that with top-notch platform development, effective election official training and voter education, mobile voting can be accomplished securely,” said Forrest Senti, NCC Director of Business & Government Initiatives. “Best practices and standards can and do exist for mobile voting, just as they do for casting a paper ballot; when vendors and jurisdictions embrace those standards, the voter wins.”
The pilot was a collaboration between KCD, King County Elections, Democracy Live, Tusk Philanthropies and the National Cybersecurity Center (NCC). The KCD election was supported by King County Elections and funded in part by Tusk Philanthropies. Democracy Live is an established elections vendor that utilizes AWS secure cloud to store voters’ encrypted ballots. Ballot choices are encrypted via Amazon’s Object Lock, which has been vetted by all the major federal security agencies as a “write once, read many” security feature which protects data from being altered. AWS meets federal standards for secure online storage of critical agency data and is NIST compliant. Voters using the Democracy Live OmniBallot system have the option to print and mail their ballot, or the ballot may be printed at the elections office to ensure a full paper ballot trail.