Trinity County has agreed to purchase and install a new voting system that will bring it into compliance with new regulations mandated by the California Secretary of State Alex Padilla in time for the upcoming presidential primary election next year.

With only two systems available, the county waived a competitive bid process and selected the Hart InterCivic, Inc. based in Austin, Texas, to provide the required voting tabulation system and annual maintenance. The $160,691 price tag including a base cost of $139,894 plus a three-year annual maintenance agreement of $31,015 is to be mostly funded by a state grant to the county Clerk/Recorder/Assessor’s Office.

Clerk/Recorder/Assessor Shanna White explained that in February, the Secretary of State announced he is withdrawing certification on all voting systems that have not met the California Voting Systems Standards effective Aug. 27, 2019. He believes the systems have reached the end of their life expectancy, replacement parts are not readily available and technical support is limited, forcing counties to purchase new voting systems.

The new system will consist of a tabulation program, ballot readers and all the accessories to equip the new system. Currently, there are two certified voting systems available to California counties: the Dominion Democracy Suite and Hart Verity.

Staff from Trinity County’s elections office attended demonstrations from both vendors. The Hart system is portable, has accessible components and has the most current software, White said, adding that by using the most current technology, it will provide better security, accuracy and reliability.

A base quote of $359,975 plus shipping and taxes and $9,450 for annual maintenance was received from Dominion Voting. White noted that was more than twice the cost of the Hart system and would involve installing very large equipment that would literally be a tight fit for Trinity County facilities.

The Trinity County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the agreement with Hart at its regular meeting July 17, and the new system will be onboard before there is another election in the county.

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