How to Use Los Angeles' New Ballot Marking Device

New ballot marking device will be used for 2020 elections

Starting in 2020, the 5.2 million voters in Los Angeles county will begin seeing a brand new device when they head to the polls later this year to vote in California's primary and general elections. It's called the Voting Solutions for All People, or VSAP, and it aims to make voting for L.A. residents easier, secure, and transparent.

The Ballot-Marking Devices, which will make their debut on March 3 for the California primary, were designed by the Registar-Recorder/County Clerk in response to the previous, aging systems and are meant to make it easier for voters to to customize their voting experience to fit their needs.

Voters can access 13 languages and adjust the touch screen to a comfortable angle as well as change the display settings such as text size and contrast or go through the ballot using the audio headset and control pad. The iPad-like device is attached to a plastic table with privacy dividers to allow voters privacy while they cast their ballot.

Because election security has become such a serious issue for voters, the new ballot marking device will not be connected to the internet or any other kind of network. It can also guide voters through the voting process and give them an easy-to-understand step-by-step instruction on how people can vote for their preferred candidates. The county has even made the code that runs the machines available as an open-source, allowing it to be used or modified by other voting jurisdictions.

Voters can also research their votes at home and make their selections by using the Interactive Sample Ballot, prior to arriving to the vote center. After voters make their selection, they can scan their "Poll Pass" on the device, which will transfer their selections to the ballot.

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