Innovative ballot tracking system gaining attention
(Denver) – Ballot TRACE, Denver’s groundbreaking Ballot Tracking, Reporting, and Communication Engine, has won the Eagles Award for outstanding use of technology in elections from the Election Center, the National Association of Election Officials.
Ballot TRACE is a first-in-the-nation messaging system where voters receive updates about the status of their mail ballot before it enters the mail system, while it is being processed by the USPS, and after it has been returned to the Denver Elections Division. Voters can choose to retrieve their updates using the Elections Division’s website or automatically receive their updates via email or text message. More than 2,000 Denver voters signed up to use Ballot TRACE in the August 10 Primary Election.
In addition to providing communications to voters about the status of their ballot , Ballot TRACE is an invaluable tool for Denver elections officials as well. It allows the Division, for the first time, to receive reports about the movement of all mail ballots through the postal stream, including the ability to monitor and catch any potential delivery problems.
“Having the Denver Elections Division recognized nationally for being on the cutting edge is a great honor,” said Denver Clerk and Recorder Stephanie Y. O’Malley. “We are always striving to find ways to enhance Denver’s election environment. This goal requires us to be creative and innovative. In this instance, we looked for a technology that would allow both the voters and ourselves to be able to track the progress of mail ballots through the postal stream. We didn’t find anything that met our needs so we invented our own solution in concert with our partner, i3logix, a local software company.”
Beta-tested in 2009 and rolled out to all Denver voters in the August 10, 2010 all-mail-ballot Primary Election, Ballot TRACE will be available to mail ballot voters in November’s General Election. Mail ballot voters who did not sign up for the service for the Primary can sign up for it for the General Election beginning September 1.
“The tracking and reporting part of the system has worked really well for our internal staff thus far,” said Director of Elections Michael Scarpello. “We did discover a few minor issues with the communications part of the system during the Primary Election. We’ve made some adjustments and we think we’re ready to go for November. As with any cutting edge technology, we’ll continue to learn how to improve the system the more we use it, but even now this system is catching the attention of many election officials from around the country."
The Election Center is an organization of election administrators that serves as a resource for election jurisdictions across the country. The Eagles Award was presented to Denver Clerk and Recorder Stephanie Y. O’Malley and Elections Director Michael Scarpello at the Election Center’s national conference.
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