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ES&S Equipment Efficiently, Accurately, Securely Records Election History

November 11, 2020

“Elections officials, staff and volunteers across America worked day and night to get ready, and every jurisdiction ES&S serves experienced an accurate, reliable and efficient recording of votes. That’s a testament to the people, processes and equipment.” – Tom Burt, ES&S President and CEO

ES&S Equipment Efficiently, Accurately, Securely Records Election History

Key official describes 2020 presidential election as one of the smoothest in memory

OMAHA, Nebr. – November 11, 2020 – As elections officials across the United States work toward final certification of results for the 2020 general election, they are consistently praising the performance of the people, processes and equipment that made the election administration a success.

An election worker uses the DS850 to tabulate paper ballots in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

“From an administrative perspective, the 2020 general election couldn’t have gone better,” said Wendy Sartory Link, Supervisor of Elections in Palm Beach County, Florida, which uses equipment from Election Systems & Software (ES&S). “We are 100 percent confident in the accuracy of results and are very pleased with the support from our staff and election equipment partners. Everyone worked hard, day and night, to make sure we were ready, and that preparation paid off in terms of an accurate and efficient reporting process.”

All across the nation, jurisdictions adjusted and enhanced their elections administration to handle the record number of ballots cast. Nearly 150 million Americans voted in the 2020 presidential election, making the 2020 turnout rate the highest since 1900. In Wyoming, which uses ES&S voting equipment statewide, a record voter turnout almost doubled numbers between the primary and general elections this year, with unofficial returns in the general election amounting to a record 278,503 votes cast statewide.

“I am incredibly thankful for the successful elections that took place last week across Wyoming,” said Wyoming Secretary of State Edward Buchanan. “This achievement was possible due to our hardworking county clerks, poll workers and new election equipment from ES&S standardizing our election process throughout Wyoming.”

Nebraska also uses ES&S voting systems statewide. With a greater than 75 percent turnout and more than 950,000 votes cast, clerks across the state also doubled the number of ballots counted since the spring election, which had previously shattered election records in the state.

“ES&S provided us with a high level of support which was instrumental in helping us to get through a challenging general election,” said Nebraska Secretary of State Bob Evnen.

“The level of preparation for administering this election was unprecedented,” said Tom Burt, ES&S President and CEO. “Elections officials, staff and volunteers across America worked day and night to get ready, and every jurisdiction ES&S serves experienced an accurate, reliable and efficient recording of votes. That’s a testament to the people, processes and equipment.”

ES&S equipment is used in multiple jurisdictions in Pennsylvania, including in Philadelphia, where more than 700,000 ballots were cast. Considering the two-fold challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic and the record volume of absentee or mail-in ballots, the City set up a massive vote-counting center with 12 ES&S high speed central tabulation machines as the centerpiece of the operation. The day after the Nov. 3 election, Pennsylvania’s Secretary of State Kathy Bookvar said, “It’s one of the smoothest, least-issues presidential elections that I’ve seen in any time I can possibly remember.”

In Milwaukee, which also used ES&S high speed central tabulation to process just under 170,000 ballots, the city had an equally impressive operation. Milwaukee Election Commission Executive Director Claire Woodall-Vogg told the Journal Sentinel she was proud of the election workers who “allowed Wisconsin to have election results in such a timely manner.” She went on to call their operation “smooth, accurate and transparent.”

To handle the increased number of ballots nationwide, ES&S worked with federal, state and local officials to ramp up capabilities and counting capacities. In fact, three times the amount of ES&S central count scanners were fielded for the 2020 November election than were in place for the 2016 presidential election. Specifically, in jurisdictions across America, ES&S had in place:

  • More than 850 high-throughput ballot scanners, including the DS450® and DS850® central count tabulators
  • Nearly 63,000 DS200® precinct ballot scanners

Additionally, voters used more than 95,000 ES&S ExpressVote® and 7,300 ExpressVote® XL universal voting machines in precincts across the country. With the unprecedented amount of equipment deployed to handle the increased volume of ballots cast, ES&S machines were lauded not only for their efficiency but for their accuracy and ease of use.

“Each of our voting machines go through a tremendous amount of testing to prove accuracy and reliability,” said Steve Pearson, ES&S Senior Vice President of Certification. “To earn certification from the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission, every unit must consecutively read 1.5 million ballot positions correctly. High-speed scanners such as the DS850 can tabulate up to 300 ballots per minute. We work with federal, state and local election officials to ensure we not only meet but exceed every testing standard.”

In addition to tabulation successes, several jurisdictions also used new ExpressPoll® pollbook technology to quickly and steadily check in voters at the polls, including in jurisdictions in Alabama, Texas and South Carolina. In fact, ES&S worked with election officials in South Carolina to put more than 5,000 new ExpressPoll pollbooks in place in the final weeks leading up to Election Day, providing for a smooth election check-in process for voters.

“Our team of dedicated professionals worked with diligence, patience and perseverance to think through what our customers and their voters might need to have a successful election and they delivered on all accounts,” said Patrice Webb, ES&S Senior Vice President of Public Affairs.

“This Election Day has been historic for our nation on so many levels,” said Kathy Rogers, ES&S Senior Vice President of Government Affairs. “We are deeply honored to play a role in helping Americans exercise their rights as they participate in our nation’s democracy, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the smooth and accurate execution of the voting process.”