Voting Systems Overview

North Carolina law requires that voting systems meet certain federal and state requirements as defined in the Help America Vote Act (HAVA, 2005). All voting systems are certified by the State Board of Elections after undergoing mandatory testing by nationally accredited laboratories. Newly certified voting systems must meet the standards set forth in the most recent version of the EAC’s Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG), which is the standard used to achieve federal EAC certification. 

County boards of elections, in conjunction with their county board of commissioners, decide which approved voting system will best serve their voters. Before purchasing a new voting system, counties must first undergo a public demonstration of the equipment and test use it in an election or simulated election. Under state law, voting equipment may not be connected to the internet or use wireless access, limiting the possibility of outside interference.

ES&S DS200 Tabulator

DS200 tabulator
DS200 Tabulator

Wake County votes using paper ballots marked either by hand or with a ballot-marking device, providing a paper trail of all votes cast that can be audited or recounted by elections officials. Since 2019, Wake County has used Election Systems & Software's (ES&S) DS200 Digital Scanner as its primary tabulator for all Early Voting and Election Day voting locations. The DS200 functions as a ballot scanner and vote tabulator complete with a large touchscreen display which provides additional information to the voter. Voters first mark their paper ballot with the provided ink pen before inserting their marked ballot into the tabulator to be counted. Once the tabulator scans the ballot the votes are counted and the ballot is deposited into a secure ballot storage bin. The DS200 has multiple layers of security built in--in addition to physical locks, password protection, and hash validation, all data is encrypted and digitally signed. It does not contain any wireless capabilities and operates fully offline. Election results are securely transferred using proprietary removable media.

ES&S ExpressVote

ExpressVote Ballot Marking Device

The Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) requires that government services provide reasonable modifications to accommodate people with disabilities. In order to fulfill this requirement, Wake County provides each voting location with an ADA approved ballot marking assistance device--the ExpressVote, by Election Systems & Software. The ExpressVote features a large touchscreen display and keypad to accept voter input. The voter first inserts their blank ballot card into the unit. The ExpressVote then displays a list of contests and candidates for which the voter is eligible to vote. An audio narrator reads aloud the contests, candidates and voter selections back to the voter through the included headphones. When ready, the voter makes their selections using the touchscreen or keypad. Once all contests have been voted the voter selections are printed onto the ballot card. The voter must then take their printed ballot to the tabulator so that their vote can be counted.

ES&S DS850

DS850 High Speed Scanner
DS850 High Speed Scanner

The DS850 High Speed Scanner by Election Systems & Software serves as a central count tabulator, used to scan absentee by mail and provisional ballots at the Board of Elections office. Compared to the DS200 tabulator which only scans up to 360 ballots per hour, the DS850 High Speed Scanner can scan up to 10,000 ballots per hour. It accepts ballots ranging from 14-19" in length and features multiple output trays with configurable real-time ballot sorting. As with its sibling, the DS200, the DS850 features multiple layers of security controls including physical locks, air-gapped implementation, password protection, and data encryption. Election results are securely transferred via digitally signed removable media.