Merced County
Touch Screen Voting
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Absentee FAQs | Candidate List | Party Affiliation | Provisional Voters | Returns | Touch Screen Voting


California Assembly Bill 2525 and Federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) requires all precincts have equipment that meets the requirements of the American with Disability Act for the vision impaired. The Federal Justice Department requires all ballots in Merced County to be in both English and Spanish (primary languages spoken by 5% or more of the citizens in the County). Proposition 41 passed by the voters called for and funded new voting equipment.


An extensive RFP was issued to all firms authorized to sell election equipment in the State of California and that met both the State and Federal requirements. A review committee comprised of Management Auditors (your vote is as important as your dollar), Information System Manager, and Election Managers and staff.


Election Systems & Software (ES&S) was selected as they were the only firm to:

  • Meet the advanced Federal 2002 standards.
  • Did not use SMART card technology which requires the voter to open the ballot, instead it uses a Personnel Electronic Ballot (PEB) which is controlled by the poll worker.
  • Was tested and approved by Wyle Laboratories.
  • Uses 1,064 bit encryption, not 128 which is less secure.
  • Ballot programming staff is segregated from system staff.


Benefits include:

  • Eliminates over voting (voting for more candidates than allowed)
  • Allows early voting (polls opening the 2 weekends prior to the weekend before election day) to assist the voter in being able to vote.
  • Allows the vision impaired to vote a secret ballot the same as other voters by utilizing a headset, up and down arrows and diamond select arrow.
  • Weighs 14 pounds and can be transported to the voter.
  • Eliminates confusion over English/Spanish ballot.
  • Allows us to conduct school elections in Junior High, High School, and Colleges to promote voting at little cost.
  • Faster tabulation and election results.


System weighs 14 pounds and will be transported to polling place by inspector at which time it will be zeroed out and the polls will be opened. At 8 p.m., the polls will be closed and the touch screens will be transported to Merced and placed in an individual lock down facility which is password protected and records when each device is moved. Opening and closing of each unit is done by internal and external serial number. Software security will be accomplished by logic and accuracy testing of each unit and is open to the public for review.


The system will be funded by a combination of Proposition 41 funding in the amount of $1,056,294.37, Federal HAVA funding, and savings in ballot printing costs which have been going up at an excessive rate the last few years (doubled annually of late).

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Page last updated on December 5, 2003
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