The State Voting Systems Review Board, meeting in Seattle on Thursday, unanimously recommended a provisional green light while awaiting federal certification, which is in the final stages. For Pierce County, it’s for renewal of last year’s emergency certification of Sequoia equipment for “ranked choice voting” for county offices. For King, it’s certification of Premier election equipment that is much, much faster than the old system.
State Elections Director Nick Handy was pleased with the vote, and said Secretary Reed will sign the necessary paperwork soon, probably next week. “This has been a very long journey for King County to get a modern, efficient, cost-effective system that is responsive to the needs of one of the largest, most complex voting jurisdictions in America. Our office has been very impressed with the thorough, rigorous testing. Over 1.5 million ballots have been run through the machinery (in tests during) in the last three months, and we are satisfied that this system will be able to handle King County and its 39 cities and over 150 different jurisdictions.”
Handy says the U.S. Election Assistance Commission is expected to release lab test results by June 9 and final certification after that. With the state’s blessings, the new tabulation equipment will be used in the August 18 primary for county executive and other offices in the county. A relieved King County Elections Director Sherril Huff said the old equipment has been used in 63 elections and has outlasted its usefulness. The population boom and “increased complexities” has made the switch even more essential, she says. The equipment was financed with a federal grant.