MicroVote/Chatsworth ACP 2200 and OMR 9200

The Model ACP-2200 Optical Mark Reader is a central count dual sided scanner manufactured by Chatsworth Data Corporation and used in configuration with MicroVote election management software to tabulate absentee ballots in jurisdictions using MicroVote’s Infinity or MV-464 DREs. The ACP (Accessible Card Path) design allows access to the card path and optic lens for clearing obstructions and performing preventative maintenance on the unit. After the ballot has been scanned, the resulting data string is terminated by a carriage return (CR) and is automatically transported to the communication port of the attached computer. RS-232C Serial communications is standard on the APC-2200.

The ACP-2200 utilizes “Visible Red” illumination reads black or blue marks made with a ballpoint pen or felt-tip pen as well as standard pencil marks. Background printing must be in the visible red range. “Infra Red” illumination is available as an option for pencil only marking with colored background printing. MicroVote voting systems are also used in configuration with predecessor to the ACP 2200, the OMR 9002 dual sided scanner. The ACP 2200 scanner is included in MicroVote’s v.4.0B EAC certification.

Voting Process

Ballots compatible with the Chatsworth scanners resemble punchcard ballots. Candidates names do not appear on the ballot ut are referenced by numbers on an addtional page provided to voters. Voters should use  black or blue felt tip or ballpoint pen or a standard #2 pencil to make their selections. The voter should completely fill in the oval to the right of the the number corresponding to their selected candidate.

To select a write-in candidate, the must fill in the oval to the right of the number that corresponds to “Write In” for the office for which they want to write in a candidates name. The voter must then write the candidate’s name on the reverse side of the ballot.

Over-Votes: If a voter casts votes for more than the allowable number of candidates in a contest or cast votes for and against an issue in a contest. Over-voted races cannot be counted. In jurisdiction using a central count voting method there is no way for a voter to be notified of an overvote so be very careful to vote for only the allowable number of candidates in any contest (in most cases one). If you do accidentally over-vote and you have not put your ballot into the ballot box, you can request a new ballot from an election official. You will be asked to sign a Spoiled Ballot Affidavit. You may “spoil” up to two ballots and receive another (three ballots total). Once you drop your ballot in the ballot box, no changes can be made.

Ballot Reading Issues

During the initial EAC certification process MircoVote’s v.4.0 voting system separate accuracy test was conducted for the central count ACP2200 OMR scanner. As the ACP2200 OMR is consumer off the shelf (COTS) hardware it was exempted from the Temperature and Power Variations Test (v.2 section 1.7.1.1) the Accuracy and Reliability testing was conducted at ambient office temperature. The test variables included a maximum size ballot card (402 ovals) with 11 contests and 35 candidates per contest (385 Ballot Positions per Ballot). A total of 4026 ballots were supplied by MicroVote. These had been marked by hand in pencil. Ballots were inserted two times in different orientations. The test was executed three times. The initial test was halted due to a failure to record scanned cards into the EMS. A new version of the EMS software was submitted and after resolution of the issue was validated, a second test was halted upon multiple random ballot misreads occurred.

The ACP2200 OMR hardware was returned to the Chatsworth for diagnosis. No problems were identified except for a bent pin. The scanner was returned to the testing lab with two additional scanners. The ballot batch that had been identified as problematic was scanned on all three units. All three reported random misreads. The problem ballot batch was forwarded to MicroVote. The result of this examination was for MicroVote to retest and revise their specification for ballot marking devices. New ballots were tendered by MicroVote which complied with the specification for black ink. The testing lab marked 10% of the cards with BIC 0.7mm #2 lead pencils and all ballots were successfully read.