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BVI explores vote-tallying tech ahead of 2019 elections

As residents eagerly anticipate the 2019 General Elections, the British Virgin Islands is exploring technology that will result in a faster and more efficient ballot-tallying process.

During the quadrennial elections, the Office of the Supervisor of Elections counts each ballot/vote by hand.

But, in a move to terminate that hand-counting process, the Supervisor of Elections and Office of the Deputy Governor are currently holding talks with a United States company that sells voting equipment and services. 

The company, which is called Election Systems & Software (ES&S), recently visited the territory to demonstrate one of its tallying equipment — the ‘DS200 tabulator’.

Great benefit

Responding to the demonstration, Supervisor of Elections, Juliette Penn said the technology would be ‘of great benefit’ to the territory.  

“The process that we use [and] the time that we spend counting — especially the At-large votes — will be down to a minimum,” Penn said.

“The machines that are being offered will be very helpful to us.  They will not in any way impede the speed of the voting. As a matter of fact, I think it would enhance it,” she added.

USVI-recommended

The neighbouring US Virgin Islands (USVI) has been using the equipment since 2012 and USVI election authorities said the technology is highly recommended.

According to a media release from government, the ES&S is slated to return later this year with customized ballots to conduct further demonstrations of its technology with government officials and other stakeholders. 

The US company is then expected to submit a formal proposal to the BVI.

Editor’s Note:

The DS200 is a precinct-based scanner and vote tabulator equipped with the latest in ES&S’ patented technology. The DS200 is said to be fully certified and compliant with US regulator, the Election Assistance Commission.  The DS200 is also said to ‘enhance the voting experience for voters and election officials alike’.

The DS200 (Photo by ES&S)

From left: Supervisor of Elections in the USVI, Caroline Fawkes; Business Development Manager of ES&S Willie Wesley Jr; Supervisor of Elections for BVI, Juliette Penn; and Sheri Menges of ES&S. (Photo Credit: GIS)

Copyright 2018 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

12 Comments

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  1. Bystander says:

    Why spend the money on this when there are only about 4000 votes to be counted; its not like there aren’t other things that need paying for, like functioning schools, proper roads, functioning telecoms and internet services, removing the rubbish and junk that are strewn everywhere.

    • Are you for Real says:

      You obviously don’t have a clue what happens here. Only 4,000 votes? Are you mad! There are way more than 4,000 votes to be counted. That’s like saying the 4,000 plus persons who vote for one at large candidate are the only persons who voted. There are other votes to be counted for other candidates and that takes until the next day. In this day and age there is no reason why we should wait until the newt morning to know who won an election.

      • Proud says:

        Is this really a high priority? We’ve got no cruise ships because of the junk every where and the state of the roads, when St Thomas has 5 a day; the schools are still demolished, with high school kids fighting in the Riteway car park, terrible phone and internet so the financial services firms can’t receive calls from overseas, rubble everywhere, and still no functioning Development Agency, because there’s no CEO appointed. I can count to 4000 in an hour.

        • Its important says:

          Its important and necessary. Volunteer to serve for Elections. There is no way your talk will match your actions.

  2. hmm says:

    “A ballot-scanning device slated for use in the upcoming presidential elections misreads ballots, fails to log critical events and is prone to sudden lockups, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission found.”

  3. Sam the man says:

    What a dumb idea for a small group of islands! Unnecessary ….

    • Yes! says:

      I welcome this information. It is unthinkable to imagine that we have to wait until mid-day, next day to know who won an election.

  4. well says:

    Big UK just had local elections….. Guess how the ballots were counted?

  5. Political Observer (PO) says:

    Undoubtedly, technology could improve the voting process and speed the vote tallying process, reducing it by hours but still within the same day. There must be a high level of confidence in the safety, protection, trust, fairness, ease, accuracy……..etc of the vote. Electronic voting must be backed up a paper ballot to facilitate recount, challenges…….etc. Voting machines can malfunction, hacked into, data manipulated………..etc; they are not a panacea for wiping out voting problems.

    Moreover, in the US a special counsel is investigating allegation(s) that Russia took action to meddle in the 2016 US Presidential Election; Donald Trump received the majority of the 535 Electorial College votes and was inaugurated 45th president of the US, though he didn’t win the popular vote. Though some call the investigation a witch hunt, it is moving bud speed ahead. Nonetheless, US residents, the world is waiting with bated breath on the Mueller Report. The VI need to proceed with caution and deliberate speed in switching from paper ballots to electronic voting; it must protect the sanctity of one man/one woman vote.

    Further, every Virgin Islander should register to vote and vote his/her preference on Election Day; it is a right. Virgin Islanders did not always have the right vote; many sacrificed to secure the right for us to vote. And their sacrifice should not be in vain. We owe them a debt of gratitude to go vote; it is the least we can do to repay them for their sacrifices. If you don’t vote, why complain?

  6. Chris says:

    A lot of the Problem is that we have multiple voting booths here in VG but only one person at a time is allowed to go to vote . The people are given individual instructions where if they were shown in groups of 3 or 4 then all the booths would be used and voting would go faster. The instructors treat everyone like they are dotish.

  7. Lol says:

    Anything to rid us of this NDP menace.

  8. Rubber Duck says:

    From Computerworld

    “The little noticed EAC report on the DS200 Precinct Count Optical Scanner in the Unity 3.2.0.0 voting system built by Election Systems & Software (ES&S) was released late last month.

    The 141-page Formal Investigative Report (download pdf) highlights multiple “substantial anomalies” in the DS200, including intermittent screen freezes, system lockups and shutdowns, and failure to log all normal and abnormal system events.”

    You could do electronic voting much more cheaply with a standard touchscreen pc and some simple available software

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