Some Key Points of the Cook County Clerk Elections Project:

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Cook County released an RFP in late January 2012, awarded the business to VOTEC in September and work started in December 2012. Cook wanted a pilot deployment for the April 2013 election to include over a dozen tailored work flows based on their classification of special voter circumstances.

  Illinois has municipal elections in February and April of odd years.

Cook County and VOTEC appointed project managers and applied intensive resources to the pilot rollout.

Cook County directed VOTEC to work with their affidavit of special circumstances and to make all functionality that applied to municipal elections available in the VoteSafe™ poll book for April.

By March 2013, the screens shown in the Cook County Judges Manual had been developed and tested. The pilot was run with 29 precincts, each with two laptops.

Biggest lessons learned were:
  USB 2.0 makes the initial database load slower than we would like. Most of the laptops were therefore purchased with USB 3.0 and only after verifying a good load speed.
  Easy to follow screens were critical to acceptance. The 75 page manual was intimidating. Actual use turned out to bring up few questions since Judges only had to focus on one issue at a time. 

 


Screenshots

Some sample screenshots from the Voter Check-in system (click to zoom):

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The next Illinois election was the March 2014 Primary. The bulk of development and testing time was spent on data interface with the county’s voter and election management system (VRMS), adding early voting, and three new functional areas for Election Judges. The functional additions were 1) opening the polls, 2) collecting and transmitting ballot reconciliation numbers, and 3) closing the polls. The March 2014 pilot was run in 350 precincts.

Biggest lesson learned was:
  Specifying a process such as ballot reconciliation support requires months of work by the time everyone buys into the basics and the fall back options that need to be in place. We had hoped to finish a version of Election Judge payroll as well, but decided to postpone finalizing that component.

The next Illinois election was the November 2014 General. The team’s joint goal for November was a countywide rollout involving 1673 precincts. The bulk of time preparing for November was spent verifying the ability of the hosted hardware to handle the hundreds of thousands of updates coming through the voter registration system. The November rollout worked as planned with very few connectivity issues.

VOTEC and Cook County Clerk Elections have established a close working relationship with telephone and shared screen interactions averaging several sessions weekly. VOTEC believes we have become a trusted consultative supplier for Cook County. We also believe our staff and product fitness have benefited greatly from working with such a dedicated elections office. We expect Cook County will stimulate many more enhancements for PollPower™ before 2016’s election cycle.


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