Tag Archives: Election Supply Chain

WDS Upgrades Its Election Supply Chain & Election Security Solutions

Nearly 140 million Americans voted in the 2016 election. While much of the attention regarding elections focuses on candidates and their platforms, the reality is that the election system itself is a robust and impressive methodology. In both function and form, the election security process starts and ends with election equipment and software.

Wireless Data Systems, Inc. (WDS) provides the unmatched, high-quality inventory management and software tracking system to some of the largest elections departments in the state of Florida. Trusting WDS with election supply chain and security means placing massive value in their ability to handle the election assets flawlessly in each stage of the process.

From election preparation to organizing field operations and securing pickup to securing media returns, relying on WDS systems and technology underlines how critical accuracy and security are in the election process. Knowing where election assets and ballots are at all times is imperative.

With this in mind, WDS has made some groundbreaking improvements and additions to our election supply chain and security, most notably:

  • Allocation Module upgrades
  • Quality Assurance Module
  • GPS Assisted Proof of Delivery

Over the last 15 years, the modules within our system are continually updated and upgraded to meet the needs and demands of the changing elections cycles. Let’s take an in-depth look at some of our latest developments.

Allocation Module Upgrades

Built-in 2018, the WDS Allocation Module was developed to allow users to determine how many assets to allocate based upon the number of registered voters at each polling site. The original system put in place utilized mathematical formulas (managed by the user) to calculate how many of each item is needed per polling location based on the registered voter count.

Dynamic Technology Improvements

Beginning last December, the Allocation Module was given a critical upgrade to make the system dynamic – letting users add and remove assets freely. In doing so, it allows the system usability for any elections department, including addressing the early voting needs which happen separately from Election Day. Early voting is a much simpler process but still incorporates dynamic changes.

In addition, modifications to the Allocation Module include inventory validation based on the allocation and an enhanced label printing process to accommodate the ever-changing list of items.

As requirements change, new and more secure equipment becomes necessary. The objective of WDS is to provide users with the tools to grow and change without being reliant on us. Our feature-rich system allows for a seamless process before, during, and after Election Day.

Quality Assurance Module

Quality assurance is vital in virtually every industry, but when it comes to elections, this feature is indispensable. With this in mind, WDS has launched the Quality Assurance Module. Providing a list of items in need of quality assurance (QA) prior to being sent to the polling locations, these lists are created based upon the allocation needs mentioned above.

Within the process of QA, many validations occur to ensure that the right items are being scanned, packed, and prepared for the polling site. The checklist portion of the module is a dynamic feature that allows the client to add and remove checklist items as their equipment and requirements change. This feature gives our clients the necessary independence that keeps running efficiently and smoothly on their end.

In addition, the QA Module has a damaged item section, so if an item does not make it through QA, it is rejected and isolated to be addressed before being released. It is important to remember that the Quality Assurance Module works downstream from Allocation Module, meaning the Allocation Module is feeding the QA data to keep systems accurate and secure.

The main goal here is to take numbers from Allocation Module and put them in real-world format (the checklist), which allows users to scan and assign assets in the real world against the allocation. All of the WDS checklist features are customizable. With a dynamic checklist, all QA measures can be modified as the user sees fit.

The Quality Assurance Module has added a deeper and essential level of accuracy, safeguarding critical assets and ensuring a well-organized overall process.

GPS Assisted Proof of Delivery

WDS prides itself on placing a major emphasis on security, accountability, and efficiency. With this in mind, we have launched the landmark GPS Assisted Proof of Delivery. A mobile application that can be easily installed on a smartphone, the GPS Assisted Proof of Delivery serves to create unmatched tracking capabilities for all of your assets. The system comes equipped with two essential features:

  1. Geofence Technology
  2. Breadcrumb Tracking

GPS Assisted Proof of Delivery works to verify that the assets being scanned are assigned to the correct precinct.

Geofence Technology

The geofence technology is a Google Maps API where the user types the desired address into the system, saves it, and then that address is bounced against Google Maps to determine the longitude and latitude for the specific location. From there, the user can customize the specific location to an impressive degree of precision, i.e. the back of the building or a particular parking lot. Using the mobile app upon delivery, when the asset serial number scanned is outside of the geofence, an alert is sent out as an extra security measure.

Breadcrumb Tracking

The breadcrumb tracking functionality is essential to the accuracy and security of all assets. Opening the app and hitting start when a user leaves the warehouse with an asset, breadcrumb tracking is enabled. At this moment, it begins taking the GPS location of the phone every few seconds as the user drives through the city. With the intention of ensuring that the user is taking the assets to the polling site, breadcrumb tracking allows for an unmatched chain of custody where it would otherwise be unavailable.

Being able to confirm that the asset is being moved along the right route, without lengthy stops along the way, greatly reduces security concerns.

The Value of GPS Assisted Proof of Delivery

GPS Assisted Proof of Delivery sets geofences that determine the acceptable drop-off location. Once in route, breadcrumb tracking is enabled to pinpoint the exact location of critical assets (such as media, ballots, etc.) at all times. Once at the drop-off location, the application will validate that the user is within the geofence when scanning items. If outside of the geofence, a photo may be taken to compensate for GPS accuracy. In addition, there is always validation that the item was assigned to the location regardless of GPS location.

As such, geofence technology and breadcrumb tracking work in conjunction to create a uniform, fail-safe election security operation before, during, and after Election Day.

The Future of Election Security Solutions and Beyond

It is important to note that our systems do not directly interact with a voter, but they ensure that the polling sites have the right equipment. No voter data or ballot data is stored within our system, yet we are constantly aware of the physical asset security our systems are responsible for.

At WDS, we not only build adaptable applications for our clients, but we also maintain a high standard for adaptability within our company. The various systems mentioned above can easily be tweaked and modified for other industries. For example, the GPS Assisted Proof of Delivery can be utilized for any company that delivers items to their clients. They can ensure that the right item gets dropped off at the right location and we can send a notification when it is dropped off.

In addition, the Allocation Module could potentially be utilized in construction where various sized/types of jobs need varying amounts of inventory allocated to them. The Quality Assurance Module could be utilized in any manufacturing and packing operation. From technology to innovation, we continue to improve upon and develop our dynamic solutions.

Applying technology and innovation to system management means building application solutions that meet evolving needs. At WDS, we have mastered the ability to create solutions for one industry and then fine-tune those solutions to work across another industry. In doing so, we have proven time and time again that our clients benefit greatly from having our hands in developing and perfecting their hardware and software solutions.

2020 Election System Roadmap

Polling Site Reconciliation Module

Expected Completion Date: September 2020

This module is meant to further close the physical security gap within the Election Cycle. All steps occur at the polling site on Election Day, and they are done by the polling site staff. The module will allow additional validation of assets and ballots before polls open and once polls close. Both of these points in the cycle are critical security points to ensure ballots and equipment are all accounted for and have not been tampered with since being delivered.

GPS Assisted Critical Asset Retrieval on Election Night

Expected Completion Date: December 2020

Voted ballots and ballot media (thumb drives from ballot tabulators) are the most critical assets to an election operation. WDS can help ensure their security is by tracking their location while they are being driven back from the polling site. This new mobile application will have loading validation to ensure all expected ballots are loaded, and breadcrumb tracking functionality (like our GPS Assisted POD App) in order to track the user’s cell phone en route back to the collection center. Finally, it will work in conjunction with our Election Night Dashboard to provide a graphical look into where the critical assets are on Election Night.

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.