Unisyn Voting Solutions OpenElect

The Unisyn OpenElect Voting System (OVS) OVS is a paper ballot voting system using touch screen and scan technology to scan and validate ballots, provide voter assisted ballots to accommodate voters with special needs, and tabulate results. The OCS, FVT, OVO, OVI-VC, and OVCS components are described below. With OpenElect Version 2.0 the election management system is referred to as the OpenElect Central Suite (OCS) described below.

OVS consists of the following major components: OpenElect Central Suite (OCS), OpenElect Voting Optical (OVO) , OpenElect Voting Interface – Vote Center (OVI-VC), Freedom Vote Tablet (FVT), and OpenElect Voting Central Scan (OVCS). The OVO, FVT, and OVI-VC are the OVS components designed to accept voter input. The FVT and OVI-VC are the OVS ballot marking devices (BMDs). The OVO can collect and tally precinct votes, generate reports, and store election data internally. The OVCS is the bulk scanner used for mail-in ballots, provisional ballots, and recounts.

The OCS/OVO/OVI-VC/OVCS software is a set of Java applications that utilize open source libraries and run on a customized Linux operating system to take advantage of that platform’s security and performance. The OVO and OVCS use the Java Native Interface (JNI) classes, which are C++ classes, to communicate with the native drivers (also C++) provided by the hardware manufacturer. This is required by the Optical Scanner in the OVO and the OVCS. The OpenElect system is designed for use in two distinct locales: Central Processing and In-Precinct Systems. The FreedomVote Tablet (FVT) product is also written in Java, but compiled for use on the Google Android operating system, using different core libraries.

The OVS is in use in 3,629 precincts in ten states, Just over 2% of the population will have their votes counted by equipment in the OVS Suite. For details visit The Verifier interactive map.

OpenElect Voting Optical (OVO) is a full-page dual-sided optical scan precinct scanner that scans and validates voter ballot pages and provides a summary of all ballot pages cast. The election is loaded from the OVS Election Server over a secure local network or using portable transport media. On Election Day, an OVO at each poll location scans and validates voters’ ballots, and provides precinct tabulation and reporting. The OVO runs Logic Tests and Training Elections in addition to General and Primary Elections. A Software Server utility is provided to update the OVO with the current level of certificated software. The OVO unit can also paired with OVI-VC and FVT units for early voting to scan and tabulate early voting ballots and election support at voting centers.

The OVO consists of a Personal Computer (PC), Transport Media (TM), a Ballot Reader, a Printer and an uninterruptible power supply.

The computer component (with a touch panel display) has pre-installed server software (that manages data and communication) and client software that provides a user interface for voting and maintenance. A new election loaded via the Election Server or manually via a Transport Media (TM) sets passwords, parameters, and ballot styles for that election. (Valid ballots for a poll location are reinitialized or set on Election Day startup by scanning a ballot header card).

The transport media is a1 GB or larger USB thumb drive that provides the means of transporting audit, optional ballot page images and results files from the precinct on Election Night to Election Headquarters where the central count system resides. The ballot reader is a dual-sided scanner connected to the PC to scan data from marked ballot pages. The Ballot Reader ejects accepted ballot pages into an attached ballot box or rejects unaccepted ballot pages back out to the voter. The printer is a 58 mm thermal receipt printer connected to the PC to print voter receipts and reports at the OVO.

OpenElectOVI_2The OpenElect Voting Interface (OVI) is a ballot marking device (BMD) that supports both ADA and In-Person Early Voting requirements. The first certified version of the OVI featured a 7 inch display (see image at left). With Version 1.1, Unisyn introduced a 15” LCD touchscreen as an option for OVI units (see below). The 15-inch display and is equipped to assist voters, with varying abilities, to prepare their ballots independently and privately. It presents each contest on the correct ballot to the voter in visual and, if needed, audio formats.

The OVI gives voters the option to use an audio ballot, ADA keypad, sip and puff binary device, and touchscreen with varying font sizes to make their selections. Once the voter has made their selections, they are prompted to review their ballot selections. After the validation process is complete, the OVI then prints the ballot and the voter inserts it into the OVO to cast their vote. When authorized, the OVI provides for write-in candidates. Each OVI can support multiple languages for both visual and audio ballots, allowing the voter to choose their preferred language.

OpenElect Interface – Vote Center (OVI-VC)

The OVI consists of a personal computer, transport media, a printer and an uninterruptible power supply. The computer component (with a touch panel display) has pre-installed server software that manages data and communication and client software that provides user interfaces for voting and maintenance. A new election loaded via the Election Server or manually via a Transport Media (TM) sets passwords, parameters, audio, and ballot styles for that election. The transport media is a USB device with 1 GB or larger storage provides the means of transporting audit files to the OCS system and the printer is a 82.5 mm thermal receipt printer connected to the PC to print BMD Ballots and reports at the OVI. The ballots printed are narrower than standard ballots and contain a human readable summary of the voter’s selections and a barcode.

By OpenElect Version 1.3, Unisyn has renamed the OVI the OpenElect Voting Interface- Vote Center (OVI-VC) and promoting it as a ballot marking device (BMD) that supports both ADA and Regional Early Voting requirements. Version 1.3 also notes that he computer on both the OVO and OVI utilizes a Mini-ITX form factor motherboard and is configured with either a VIA C7 motherboard or an Intel Atom.

With OpenElect Version 2.0 , Unisyn includes the Freedom Vote Tablet (FVT), a tablet ballot marking device that enables voters make their vote selections and to print their voted ballot. It can be used on Election Day or during an early voting period. Like the OVI-VC, the FVT is ADA compliant. It assists voters, with varying levels of ability, through the voting process, ballot review, and printing functions. The FVT presents each contest on the ballot style to the voter in visual and/or audio formats. It facilitates special needs voters through a variety of methods including wheelchair access, sip and puff, zoom-in ballot function and audio assistance for the visually impaired. The voter with limited vision can navigate through the ballot using an audio ballot and the ADA keypad or touchscreen to input their selections. Once the ballot is printed, it is taken to the OVO to be cast. Each FVT can support multiple languages for both visual and audio ballots, allowing the voter to choose their preferred language.

OpenElect Freedom Vote Tablet (FVT)

The FVT consists of an Android tablet with a 13.3 in. touchscreen, pre-installed with software that provides user interfaces for voting and maintenance. Election files generated by the EM are loaded manually via a USB. The election files will allow the jurisdiction to determine the FVT’s mode such as early voting or training, sets passwords, parameters, audio, and ballot styles for that election. The FVT also includes a 2D USB Barcode reader to read the 2D barcodes produced by the EM such as the initialize barcode and administrative/maintenance barcodes. It will also read the ‘populate’ barcode produced by other qualified systems. The system includes a four port USB hub, installed in the FVT case to connect the printer, barcode scanner, and keypad to the tablet, a 82.5 mm thermal receipt printer is connected to the Tablet to print BMD ballots and reports, and, optionally, a 10-key keypad with Sip and Puff Interface, Headphones, and a separate Sip and Puff Device.

The Open Elect Voting Central Scan (OVCS) uses a high speed scanner to read absentee and provisional ballots, and to perform recounts. The OVCS also captures Write-In data images and produces a Write-In image report for manual processing. The OVCS consists of the following components: a Personal Computer (PC) Desktop and high speed scanner, typically a Canon DR-X10C.

Voting Process: Once you have checked-In at the pollbook station and received your ballot go to a Ballot Marking Booth where a pen will be provided for you to mark your ballot. Follow the instructions at the top of your ballot. Fill in the oval to the right of the candidate’s name of your choice. If you are writing-in a candidate’s name please be sure to fill in the oval to the right of their name. Once you have marked your ballot take it to the OVO Scanner and insert it. (You may feed the ballot upside down to insure your privacy.) Wait until the scanner light turns from green to red back to green and the OVO screen thanks you for casting your ballot.

A Technician Video for the OVCS from Unisyn:

A Pollworker Video for the OVO from Unisyn:

Open Elect Central Suite (OCS)
The OCS System supports elections on the OVO, OVI-VC, FVT, and OVCS systems. The EMS consists of the following components running as either a front-end/client application or as a back-end/server application:

Ballot Layout Manager (BLM) uses a database to create and store precinct and district information and an interface to create, check, translate, and produce the ballot styles needed by a jurisdiction for an election. The BLM output is printer ready artwork of all ballots in all languages and the Unisyn election definition file.

Election Manager (EM) converts the Unisyn election definition file to a Unisyn-specific XML format and prepares compressed, encrypted election files for output to CD or USB. The EM allows the jurisdiction to add voting device specific options for elections, i.e. whether to check the contests for undervotes, and whether to allow or disallow certain features such as sounds, party icons, reports, etc. The EM also creates and manages Supervisor and Maintenance technician logins and passwords.

Election Server (ES) loads the correct system time on the voting devices and uses the Election Definition created by the EM to download new election data, via a closed and secure network, to OVS voting devices.

Tabulator Client (TC) retrieves vote files and ballot images from Transport Media (TM) devices, stores them on its disk, and transfers the files to the Tabulator and notifies the Tabulator that a new file is present.

Tabulator receives and validates uploaded voting data and provides a status of uploaded files as well as handling Rank Choice Voting (RCV) functionality. It also updates the database with adjudicated ballots from the Auditor application. The Tabulator maintains the Tabulator database, which stores the results from all precincts.

Auditor accesses ballot images and data from the OVCS and TC PCs to allow jurisdiction personnel to evaluate ballots with questionable or erroneous marks and change votes in accordance to the voter’s perceived intent. The Auditor can also be used to process write-in. votes and provide risk-limiting auditing capabilities. All changes uploaded to the Tabulator database and actions are password controlled.

Tabulator Reports (TR) accesses data from the Tabulator database to generate the necessary reports
Additionally, the OCS includes the Software Server (SS) system for updating and validating the software on the OVO and the OVI-VC voting devices. The FVT’s software is updated manually via a USB thumb drive.

The block chart below describes the entire voting process: