This Technology Is a Game-changer for Election Ballot Processing

The mail-in ballot processing solution that county election officials have been asking for

Over many years, mail-in ballots have become increasingly popular among voters. The pandemic amplified this trend, with over 43% of voters choosing to vote by mail in the 2020 election1. This produced an overwhelming amount of manual work for election workers and volunteers. In several counties across the country, support staff were inundated with ballot envelopes. Despite all the extra hands working extended hours, official results were delayed.

Along with the increase in mail-in ballots comes an increase in the costs to process them. Factoring an average pay rate of $35 per hour for an election worker, and the time it takes to manually process each ballot envelope, it’s easy to imagine the runaway costs that county election offices have experienced.

This challenging and serious situation has led to intense demand for technology solutions to automate the repetitive tasks associated with processing ballot envelopes at high volume.

Automatic Signature Verification

Signature mismatch is the most common reason a mail-in ballot is rejected. This critical step in the process should be automated by proven technology for the sake of speed, accuracy, and neutrality.

To be effective, an election ballot solution must increase the speed of ballot processing while eliminating human error. In the summer of 2022, Kodak Alaris introduced a new mail-in ballot processing solution that leverages several proven technologies, including the award-winning Kodak i4850 Scanner and signature verification software from ParaScript, a company that provides technology solutions to many companies and government agencies.

[ SEE ALSO: Kodak Alaris in the news for its election ballot processing solution ]

“Many states have accelerated acceptance of mail-in ballots since the 2020 pandemic. Counties can now use this fast, reliable, and cost-effective solution to help them keep pace with this growing trend.”

- Joseph Odore, Global portfolio marketing manager at Kodak Alaris

How It Works

It’s important to point out that this mail-in-ballot solution does not open the envelope or read the voter’s choice; that’s a separate process. Ballot envelopes are fed into a Kodak i4850 Scanner, which reads both sides and stamps the envelope with a batch number and the scan date and time. The voter’s signature is captured off the envelope and automatically compared against the signature database.

The ParaScript software generates a comparison score that either validates the signature or flags it for further evaluation. Successfully validated signatures are then delivered along with the batch number and timestamp to the county’s existing election management software, where the ballot is officially recorded in the system.

Automation that improves efficiency up to 95%

There are more than 3,000 counties in the United States with requirements for mail-in ballots for federal and local elections. Manually processing these ballot envelopes requires workers to sort and inspect each envelope and verify the signature before the actual voting ballot is scanned into the voter registration system. Automating the ballot intake process helps counties reduce their operating costs during an election cycle and report results faster.

When done manually, an elections office worker can typically process about 50 ballot envelopes per hour. By automating this process with the Mail-in Ballot Solution from Kodak Alaris, an operator can scan and process up to 1,000 ballots per hour. This represents a 95% improvement in efficiency.

The signature verification software is accurate up to 99%, a success rate that significantly reduces the number of ballot signatures that require manual verification. This in turn reduces the number of people that need to be hired to manually process ballots. The software automatically rejects ballots that were intended for a different county or election, further reducing the risk of errors.

[ SEE ALSO: article on automated election ballot processing ]

Simple Setup and Configuration

With a Net Promoter Score consistently above 90%, Kodak Alaris is well known around the world for its consistently exceptional level of professional services and customer support. The Mail-in Ballot Solution is designed to make installation and configuration easy for county office professionals. It includes installation support and ongoing maintenance options that guarantee success over the life of the product.

In short, this is the game-changing solution that county election officials across the country have been asking for.

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