Advanced RFID Technology to Improve Post-Election Results

The complexities in the execution of a successful election cycle are significant. With hundreds or thousands of assets are being deployed to hundreds of polling site locations and precincts, the stakes are extremely high. High stakes mean relying on election systems and software that are accurate and secure.

Election assets need to be accounted for during the deployment, and most importantly, during the post-election recovery. Critical assets like voted ballots and thumb drives or media drives that contain votes need to be tracked with a complete chain of custody at every handoff during election night returns. As such, it is imperative that an election system provides accuracy, a chain of custody, and accountability in the deployment and recovery of these assets.

The challenge lies in finding a method in which a large-scale election operation can handle critical and non-critical assets, and Wireless Data Systems, Inc. (WDS) has proven advanced RFID technology to be a sound solution.

Arming Asset Security with RFID

The sheer volume and velocity of the recovery cycle can be chaotic. Vehicles are pulling up to offload equipment that has been retrieved from the polling sites. These assets typically have barcode labels with a unique identifier (Asset ID). Election personnel and staff are responsible for scanning the barcodes on all of these assets as they are returned to the warehouse. Due to the sheer volume of some large-scale election operations, it is not uncommon for many of them to slip by the scanning team without being accounted for. This results in numbers not adding up in the system’s post-election reconciliation utility.

A well-designed system with the latest RFID technology can improve this area significantly. At WDS, we understand this accuracy issue and, as a result, we are starting to deploy RFID scanning or reading stations to capture these assets automatically. First, the assets have Passive RFID Tags assigned and related in the system’s asset profile module. Then, as they pass through our system’s RFID Antenna fields, the RFID tags are being read at a high velocity. In real-time, the system is checking the status of the Asset read and flagging it as “Returned”.

Utilizing a hybrid of RFID and Barcode technologies enables large-scale election operations to add a new level of automated data capture and detail to the assets travels from deployment to recovery.

Understanding and Respect for Limitations with RFID Technology

The RFID technology is subject to the physical environment where the RF part of the RFID equation can fail. Due to these environmental factors, there are a certain number of tags that will not activate or read as they pass through the antenna field. It is imperative to have an understanding of these limitations and work with the client environment to overcome them.

In some cases, the best design is to put multiple tags on the assets, while in other cases multiple antennas will increase the read probability. And ultimately, a final process allows staff to physically locate and scan the asset’s barcode to complete the post-election reconciliation. The bottom line is our TSX™ RFID system supports several approaches, processes, and configurations to deliver the final result of capturing 100% of the assets expected…as all properly designed and implemented systems should.

Complete Control with Customizable Election Software

While barcode scanning is sufficient in many respects, the reality is that election night chaos requires a more universal solution. The TSX™ RFID System is an efficient and effective way to provide accuracy, a chain of custody, and accountability in the deployment and recovery of these assets.

Contact Us today to learn more about our RFID Technology.