Tag Archives: Ballot Tracking

Strengthening Election Systems with Ballot Order Tracking

The election systems industry depends on processes that are manual, repetitive, and filled with data entry. The ability to automate and streamline these processes, however, can drastically enhance any election process.

From planning properly before an election to ensuring a smooth process on voting day to securing all ballots once the precincts close, a robust software solution is critical throughout every phase in the election cycle.

Wireless Data Systems, Inc. (WDS) prides itself on building ground-up solutions that not only solve existing problems but foresee and avoid future challenges. Building election systems that wrap technology around election processes took a similar route as all of our software modules: we took a unique need to enhance and upgrade a process by learning the business and then using technology to improve as much as possible.

When we sat down with an election department it became clear that a custom module was necessary to meet their needs. After having looked for years for a solution to their election system woes, WDS designed a robust, customized solution unlike anything available before – TSX™ Elections.

Let’s break down our robust and feature-rich election system in detail.

Unmatched Accuracy for Ballot Ordering

WDS built an impressive ballot ordering suite by designing a grid format with columns for various quantities of ballots and accounting for registered and inactive voters. To further enhance accuracy, the system is able to utilize historical data to improve ballot ordering estimates.

Based on previous general, primary, and special election turnout, the system recommends ballot quantities for voters in that precinct. From there, users can increase or decrease the numbers by a percentage that makes sense. Plus, users are able to click on each line on the grid and change the quantity to account for variable factors, such as an anticipated increase in turnout due to a rally at a certain location.

In sum, the system looks at voters per precinct and calculates those numbers. Then, the user can apply things like historical data or percentage bumps based on precinct-specific variances.

The ability to manipulate the grid involves a series of what-if scenarios. By inputting and saving a number of ballot need scenarios, ascertaining exactly what to order becomes easy and accurate. Once a calculation and format is agreed upon, with the click of a button two files are generated:

  1. Excel file with all of the page styles needed per precinct
  2. Excel spreadsheet that has the ballot style sheets collated into finished ballots

Ballot page styles serve as a critical component to ballot ordering to ensure that the order entry module calculated how many pages and which style sheets were needed per precinct. With so many precinct-specific variable factors, TSX™ Elections is built to handle even the most complex scenarios.

Ballot Chain of Custody

The value of proper security in elections goes without saying. As such, TSX™ Elections was designed to incorporate an extensive chain of custody solution. Real-time validation of ballots, supplies, and equipment offers a level of peace of mind that is vital during election season.

Once the collated, sorted ballot packet comes off of the print line and is boxed, the barcode label is applied to the box. This barcode comes equipped with an intelligent number that includes all pertinent information about the ballots inside – event ID, election ID, precinct, party affiliation, and the total number of ballots.

As an option, the barcode may be scanned at the vendor site to be communicated to the TSX™ system to create an advanced shipping notice of the ballots heading to the election warehouse. Then, once they arrive at the warehouse the barcodes are scanned again. While 2-stage scanning is not always possible when performed, it safeguards the ballot tracking and confirms a smooth process from printing to storage.

Tracking the ballots through their entire lifecycle and chain of custody is imperative to the election cycle. TSX™ Elections features:

  • Real-time GPS mapping and visibility of ballots
  • Browser-based and scalable mobile applications
  • On-premise or on cloud
  • Customizable election systems to fit any elections department

In addition to meticulously tracking ballots, the TSX™ Elections system has the capacity to handle the additional ballots needed for the closing of registration for the election. Taking the estimated number of ballots ordered and comparing it to the registered voter counts, the system is able to alert management if more ballots will be needed for Election Day. Using the software, the user can select the style of ballot by precinct and party affiliation and order the quantity to add on to the current stock in the warehouse.

Enriched outbound tracking of the ballots is accomplished via GPS tracking. TSX™ Elections uses GPS coordinates, a smartphone application, geofencing, and breadcrumbs to make sure that the truck routes are verified and secure. Being able to track the delivery of the election ballots in real-time is essential to guaranteeing the polling sites have the right number of ballots needed for the expected voter turnout at that precinct.

Finally, it is important to note that the TSX™ Elections system is fully equipped to handle post-election compliance inquiries and auditing.

Enhanced Election Night Protection

Tracking voted ballots is never more important than it is post-election. When the polling sites close, all ballots (voted, unused, spoiled, and provisional) are handled with unmatched protection. The following retrieval process makes TSX™ Elections unlike anything else of its kind:

  1. Critical assets (ballots…plus thumb drives, signature documents, etc.) are picked up
  2. GPS satellite captures the driver’s cell phone location every 10 seconds to create the virtual breadcrumb trail
  3. Critical assets are delivered to the collection center or designated facility
  4. Critical assets are scanned at the collection center as they are received
  5. Everything is monitored and updated in real-time on the Election Night Dashboard, which can be accessed anywhere via the web

The Election Night Dashboard offers an easy-to-read interface providing management with real-time updates to allow for proactive responses as opposed to reactive emergencies. With fast and accurate tracking, retrieval, and storage of voted ballots, TSX™ Elections is ideal for easy retrieval for audits and/or recounts.

The TSX™ Elections system even offers real-time proof of pickup, retrieval, and storage for non-critical assets like chairs, tables, and laptops. While this is certainly not as critical as the ballots, thumb drives, and signature documents, it is still important to have proof that everything shipped out is returned.

Accountability, chain of custody, accuracy, and security are imperative components throughout each phase of the election cycle. TSX™ Elections provides that and more for elections departments both large and small.

Contact Us Today 

Stay tuned for a future article about the supply chain model for all election assets and materials.


Leveraging GPS Asset Tracking

Most of us use GPS in some form or another every day. Whether it be navigating to your destination or tracking your rideshare, the Global Positioning System has enhanced our lives. However, many organizations are not utilizing GPS asset tracking to their maximum benefit.

GPS powers vehicle location and in-vehicle navigation systems that are widely used throughout the world today. By combining GPS position technology with systems that can display geographic information or with systems that can automatically transmit data to display screens or computers, a new dimension in transportation and GPS asset tracking is realized.

In addition to longitude, latitude, and altitude that we are familiar with. (GPS provides a critical fourth dimension – time. Each GPS satellite contains multiple atomic clocks that provide very precise time data to GPS signals. GPS receivers decode these signals, effectively synchronizing each receiver to the atomic clocks. This enables users to determine the time to within 100 billionths of a second, without the cost of owning and operating atomic clocks.

Precise time is crucial to a variety of economic activities around the world. Communication systems, electrical power grids, and financial networks all rely on precision timing for synchronization and operational efficiency. The free availability of GPS time has enabled cost savings for companies that depend on precise time and has led to significant advances in capability.

Precise Location + Precise Time = Cost & Security Advantages

WDS is leveraging GPS technologies into our TSX™ systems and mobile applications. With accuracy down to 10 centimeters and precise atomic time, you will be able to track where and when critical assets have been transported, delivered, and transacted. For additional security, integrate geofencing and be alerted when an asset is moved beyond an authorized location.

WDS recently launched a Proof of Delivery (POD) mobile application for Elections. With this app, elections departments can track critical polling assets, ballots, and election-night dependencies in real-time. The app supports full integration into TSX™ Elections or can be used as a standalone app for smaller elections operations.

With the continuous modernization of GPS, we can expect even more beneficial features to come. WDS is committed to GPS technologies and will continue to provide the best-in-class solutions that benefit our customers.

Benefits of Election Systems & Software

The ability to effectively manage your election infrastructure throughout the election cycle is absolutely critical. Over the last several years, the industry has seen a tremendous transformation in supply chain and logistics technology. Essential components like easy asset tracking and seamless system integration lay the foundation for effective election infrastructure. With Wireless Data Systems (WDS), we have proudly become the nation’s leader in software and hardware solutions with TSX™ Election Supply Chain.

The reality is that it is easy to feel uncomfortable about accountability when critical items from an election cycle are at remote locations, in transit to and from a remote location, and the chain of custody is passing between multiple personnel. Luckily, TSX™ Election Solutions is able to fill all of those invisible gaps with complete real-time visibility. TSX™ Election Solutions

From the moment the critical items leave the four walls of your facility, TSX™ Election Solutions is reporting back individual sightings and transactions as your staff members move through their tasks. When the assets and/or items are delivered to the polling sites, the TSX™ Election Solutions module validates the correct location and updates in the location of the items in real-time.

The TSX™ Election Solutions dashboard provides the following information:

  • Immediate visibility with the user that executed the delivery
  • The items involved in the delivery
  • The exact date/time of the transaction

In addition to TSX™ Election Solutions tracking “everything” leaving the main facilities and their current field locations, specific items may be flagged in the system as “Critical”. The ability to flag items in the system plays an enormous role in security and efficiency. On Election Night, when the polling sites close, these critical items are high priority for the system and management dashboards are on alert for critical item sightings and validation.

The ENR (Election Night Receiving) module and the Election Night Dashboard work together to update the system in real-time when they are moved from the polling site to the election night collection centers. In many scenarios, the election night collection centers are strategically located facilities manned with the department’s staff. The department staff may be charged with the accounting for the successful delivery of the “Critical” items. These “Critical” times often include:

  • Voted ballots
  • Thumb or media drives
  • Tabulators
  • Signature documents or forms

As the highest priority assets and items are accounted for, the TSX™ Election Night Dashboard displays real-time updates for each polling site/precinct combination. This technology is unmatched, making for revolutionary strides in election infrastructure solutions.

Finally, post-election night, or concurrently on election night, the non-critical assets, items, and materials expected back to your main facility are retrieved via the TSX™ POP (Proof of Pickup). As with all aspects of the TSX™ Election Solutions, the POP transactions are recorded in real-time and automatically update dashboards. To complete the accountability and full chain-of-custody cycle, the WAR (Warehouse Asset Recovery) module is used by the warehouse staff to receive the items from the POP teams back into the main facility.

From start to finish, WDS provides superior election systems infrastructure management. The complete chain of custody of your assets paired with real-time visibility throughout the election cycle keeps your election-critical items completely secure

Ballot and Asset Chain of Custody: The Foundation for Election Security, Recounts, and Audits

Much of the discussion around election security has been focused – and justly so – on cybersecurity. From electronic voting machines to jump drives and even communications, cybercrime is a real threat to democracy. Efforts to address cybercrime hacking is only part of a complete election security program. The program should also include systems and protocols for handling election assets, particularly ballots.

In addition to cybersecurity, the key to election securityTSX™ Elections Supply Chain, timely election conclusion, and smooth audits and recounts is leveraging technology through systematic ballot and asset tracking, backed by chain of custody visibility, and process management enforcement.


Physical assets are potential access points to cybersecurity; therefore, security and protection of these physical elements (voting systems, ballots, memory devices, etc.) remains critical to maintaining a secure, but open election process.

According to The U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC), physical election security refers “to standards, procedures, and actions taken to protect voting systems and related facilities and equipment from natural and environmental hazards, tampering, vandalism, and theft.” (Election Management Guidelines Chapter 3: Physical Security. EAC.)

A physical security approach should begin with a collective review of each county’s current elections procedures and processes. This includes chain-of-custody procedures and inventory control/asset management. Every touch-point should be reviewed to ensure ballots and assets are secured and tracked throughout the entire election cycle.

The review will likely identify potential gaps where chain of custody, oversight, and human error can lead to a security breach. These gaps should be addressed with a combination of physical security tactics (access, cameras, tamper-proof seals, etc.), documented policies and procedures, and an elections-specific system to help manage, control, and provide visibility to every election-critical asset and process.


At the conclusion of an election, ballots should be validated and properly secured. Election equipment must be accounted for, sealed, and returned. If using thumb drives, it is critical these are properly processed to ensure a timely and accurate tabulation. Every county should have a systematic way to know when these assets are returned from voting precincts in real-time. A dashboard is an ideal way for elections administrators – and even secretaries of state offices – to track and identify any precincts with issues or delayed results.

Closely managing the supply chain and logistics of voted ballots and tabulation data, will not only encourage public trust, but also ensure an efficient uneventful post-election. This includes initial results tabulation reporting and post-election audits and recounts.

As the US population is expected to grow by 15-20 million by the year 2025, there will be roughly 250,000,000 people of voting age. A constantly growing population increases strain on current elections now in resources and technology to help manage election conclusion.


Close elections may require tabulated ballots to be efficiently and accurately recounted. The requirements for accurate election results demand that ballots are in the correct location at the proper time, without questions to their authenticity. If questions arise, it is important to have complete chain of custody history for ballots, tabulators, and all critical assets.

In the 2018 General, Florida was faced with a statewide recount. Miami-Dade, the state’s largest county, was able to quickly conduct a timely and successful recount due largely to accurate and accessible data stored by a system that accounted for every ballot, its location, and full chain of custody history.


According to the EAC, election officials should maintain an accurate inventory including the following:

• Voting devices (including thumb drives)
• Administrator and ballot activation devices
• Seal envelopes
• Voter registration (poll) lists
• Election result tapes and printouts
• Field supervisor and rover reports
• Poll worker daily logs
• Reconciliation reports
• Audit data
• Voting Equipment Delivery Sheets

This is an extensive list that necessitates the use of technology to manage and store data. For example, consider the average ballot can be handled by over 20 different people through the lifespan from ballot printing through the election and ultimately stored and retrieved for audits.

Every movement should be tracked and logged. The log data must be accessible to help address any issues in a timely fashion.


Even if every county in your state has implemented the EAC’s best-practices, physical elections security will still fail without process management enforcement. Consider the following inherent challenges constantly faced by election departments:

• Ensuring bipartisan, 2-deep teams at every ballot touch-point
• Managing turnover in warehouse, transportation, and other logistical staff
• Recruiting and training poll workers where poll worker population remains skewed toward older Americans

Enforcement of physical security processes requires diligent effort on behalf of the entire election department. The most-effective way to keep everyone on task is to implement a system that will make it easy – even for the newly hired or physically challenged personnel – to follow correct procedures. An elections-specific system will ensure the appropriate and correct number of individuals complete every process task while maintaining a log of every transaction. If a process is not completed per policy, the system sends notifications so that parties can remedy or mitigate the situation in a timely manner. A properly implemented system can prevent a process failure from becoming a security breach.

Lastly, an elections-specific system will assist with contingency policies as a result of elections disruptions such as voter turnout variances, equipment failures, and even natural disasters. A real-world example is having a voting machine go down at one precinct. This can quickly have a domino effect throughout other precincts if there is no systematic way to repair or replace it on the fly. Every county should have a system in place that would notify, locate, and reroute the appropriate personnel and equipment to mitigate the impact of the unforeseen.

Visibility into every aspect of the election cycle is critical to security. Having a comprehensive set of procedures is only the first step of protection. In order to maintain public trust, every procedure must be validated. Every ballot and physical asset movement must be tracked and logged. That data must be available in real-time and readily accessible to address issues and any resulting media or citizen inquiries.

Challenges in knowing the location and integrity of ballots and critical assets at any point in time can be avoided through planning and use of systems designed specifically for election logistics and security. A statewide implementation of such a system can help standardize and enforce processes, save in administrative costs, and most importantly, improve overall elections security.

Department of Elections Security

Department of Elections infrastructure is complex and often logistically challenging. As such, security and protection are of the utmost importance in relation to both hardware and software solutions. At Wireless Data Systems (WDS), we are consistently on the cutting-edge of technology advancements, ensuring that our clients are equipped to handle data in the most efficient, secure, and effective manner. With this in mind, we are thrilled to announce the new assets upgrade for security!

When a department of elections is charged with upgrading its equipment for enhanced security and protection, there is a significant effort in receiving the new assets into the department’s accounting systems and operations environment (i.e. warehouse, spoke warehouses, staging facility, etc.). That’s where we come in…

Superior Advancement in Elections Security with TSX™

Our TSX™ Election Solutions products provide a fast and secure method for receiving assets from the manufacturer, tagging them with permanent Asset Tags, and recording the new Tag Number and Equipment Serial Number(s) quickly and accurately. In addition, the solution supports multiple Serial Numbers associated with a single asset where parent-child assemblies for a primary asset and accessories or cases.

For example, let’s say that we are talking about a tabulator machine with a stand and protective cover/case or outer carrying cases for EVIDs, one case, and multiple EVIDs. TSX™ provides a workforce with the tools and processes to ingest new assets with speed, security, and accuracy. These features are crucial in the process of protecting and securing assets during pre-election activities, Early Voting, and Election Day activities.

TSX™ Elections offers a complete real-time tracking system for election departments of all sizes. Some of the most prominent elements of the system include:

  • Automation of ballot ordering
  • Tracking of receiving activity
  • Storage of all inventory and assets during pre-election activities
  • The direction of picking and transferring Absentee, Early Voting, and Election Day Ballots
  • Management of Precinct Assignment for assets and supplies

With the ability to validate the loading of ballots, supplies, and equipment into delivery vehicles heading to polling sites in real-time, there is truly no superior elections supply chain solution for Departments of Elections.

The Power of Data Visibility

Wireless Data Systems (WDS) is driven by the revolutionary complexity of data management. At our core, we make sure that our clients are able to make the most out of their data, keeping flexibility, scalability, and profitability at the forefront of all that we do for them. Whether we are working with a standalone system or a complex supply chain, we handle each and every client with the same dedication to speed, accuracy, and security.

Are you ready to increase efficiencies while lowering costs? Contact our Boca Raton office today to learn more!