Hart Address to Colorado SOS Public Hearing
by Travis Harrell, Director of Compliance
Hart InterCivic appreciates the invitation to be here and the opportunity to address this hearing.
First of all, the most important point I want to make is that Hart Voting Systems do count votes correctly and consistently. I appreciate that much attention has been given to the topic of stray marks, but that is a separable issue that I will address later in my presentation.
The testimony given by the Colorado county clerks confirms the Hart Voting System's extensive track record of conducting accurate elections. The fact is, their experience is totally consistent with that of our extensive installed customer base. This experience spans more than seven years and thousands of elections conducted by more than 330 jurisdictions in 13 different states from Virginia to Hawaii.
Over that seven year period the Hart Voting System has been tested, certified, used in the field, audited and examined inside and out by election and testing authorities across the country. The results produced consistently verified the accuracy of the Hart Voting Systems.
Secondly…Hart acknowledges that all central count optical scan type systems may encounter ballot marks that may be seen and interpreted differently under different conditions. The nature of these conditions is well documented in published works such as the paper written by Douglas Jones of the University of Iowa Department of Computer Science entitled, "Counting Mark-sense Ballots: Relating Technology, the Law and Common Sense."
(Click HERE to download.)
This topic is also addressed in the Draft 2007 Voluntary Voting System Guidelines that recognize this phenomenon and prescribe specific measures to manage this issue with human resolution.
It is important to note that the Hart System already provides the opportunity for human intervention to resolve voter intent in cases where a stray mark causes a potential overvote, and to do so electronically without interrupting scanning operations and without having to handle the voter’s original ballot…functionality not found in conventional central count optical scan systems.
The point is that this is a known phenomenon that can affect all central count optical scan systems, and one that has been dealt with successfully for years by election officials using all types of systems across the country.
Thirdly…Hart's review of live election data supports the conclusions voiced by the clerks…the potential for stray marks to impact the outcome of an election is well below the threshold for conducting a review of each ballot under the current rules for recounting close elections.
Our experience with the Hart Voting System over many years also supports the clerks' conclusion that existing rules and statutes governing ballot processing, post-election audits and recounts, taken as a whole, encompass measures that instill the highest level of confidence that the counting of stray marks has not been in the past, and will not be in the future, a factor that impacts the outcome of any election.
Finally…we appreciate the wisdom, the initiative and the timely action of the Colorado State Legislature and the Secretary of State in putting into place a process within which additional review of these matters can be conducted.
Hart's mission is to provide the systems and support that local election officials need to conduct open, accurate, secure, reliable and accessible elections.
Although we believe strongly that this review process can benefit from our own participation, we believe even more strongly that participation by local election officials is absolutely essential.
Thank you again, Mr. Secretary, for the opportunity to address this forum. We are confident you will use all the information offered today in reaching decisions that benefit all the citizens of Colorado.