Los Angeles County spans 88 cities with approximately 5 million registered voters - the largest and most diverse election jurisdiction in the country. Election services for the County rely on technology that was first introduced in the 1960s and is now reaching the end of its life span. In an effort to replace the aging voting system and to continue to provide accessible and secure elections, the County launched the Voting Systems Assessment Project, now called Voting Solutions for All People (VSAP). The necessity and urgency for such project reflected the lack of voting systems in the market that would appropriately cater to the complexities of LA County voter needs, and VSAP was launched to bring together election officials, academics and community stakeholders to find a voting systems solution for the County’s voters. VSAP’s vision is to use an open, transparent and data-driven process to develop a voting system that meets the needs of current and future LA County voters. In support of this vision, a great amount of user testing and public opinion research has been conducted since the launch of the project. The VSAP has partnered with a wide array of organizations including academic and research institutions, design agencies, and community advocacy groups. Furthermore, a set of General Voting System Principles was adopted to guide system development and implementation. Finally, the County established the VSAP Advisory Committee and VSAP Technical Advisory Committee, composed of subject-matter experts, academics and community leaders, to advise the County throughout system design, development and implementation.
The research has resulted in the development of a completely new voting experience model for LA County voters. This includes new technology, systems, and processes. The model provides new options that increase accessibility, usability and flexibility for voters. With the voting experience model now identified, the VSAP now continues to work to refine the systems and develop system specifications for manufacturing with the goal of implementing this new experience by 2020. For the first time in a voting system development project, the VSAP has allowed voters to have a voice in the development of their voting experience. It has turned the voting system development process from one that prioritizes profits for voting system vendors to a process that prioritizes voter needs.