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Voting Equipment and Tabulation System

Cuyahoga County employs a voting equipment and tabulation system that uses a combination of electronic and paper technology. Ballots are marked by voters, then scanned to have the votes tabulated. Retaining physical paper ballots provides an additional measure of security that is visible, reliable, and preferred by our voters. Our goal is always to provide accurate and verifiable election results.

Summary of January 2020 Voting Equipment Public Demonstration

Current System

Cuyahoga County implemented voting and tabulation equipment provided by vendor Election Systems & Software (ES&S) initially in 2009. The equipment has been well-maintained, and hardware and software upgrades have been implemented when feasible to better provide a secure and efficient voting experience from start to finish. Our current system utilizes optical scanners, high-speed digital scanners, ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) voting units, and election management system software, all purchased from ES&S.


DS200 optical scanners and AutoMARK ADA voting units
are used at polling locations on Election Day

  • Cuyahoga County owns 1,200 DS200 scanners and 635 AutoMARK units


DS850 high-speed digital scanners
are used for scanning
vote-by-mail and provisional ballots

  • Cuyahoga County owns 5 DS850 scanners


Electionware election management system
is used to create secure election databases,
create and tabulate ballots, program voting equipment, and generate election reports


How secure is this system?

ES&S voting systems are independently tested for integrity and security by federally accredited labs. The equipment they provide is certified by the federal Election Assistance Commission and by the State of Ohio, in accordance with Section 3506.05 of the Ohio Revised Code and the certification standards adopted by the Ohio Board of Voting Machine Examiners.

ES&S has partnered with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to develop and distribute industry best practices with regard to election security.

The hardware and software of the voting system is protected from cyber and physical tampering:

  • The election management system is never connected to the internet
  • Voting units are never connected to the internet or to each other
  • Unique encryption keys prevent manipulation of program and election data

Click here to learn more about our vendor Election Systems & Software.



This legislation, passed in 2018, allocates funding to all 88 Ohio counties for the purchase of voting systems. This is an opportunity for Cuyahoga County to compare voting systems certified in the state of Ohio and to review which options are best suited for our unique election situations and diverse voting population. Our DS200 voting units are reaching the end of their recommended shelf life, and our AutoMARK units have become obsolete. With the funding provided by Senate Bill 135, we will be able to update and / or replace voting and tabulation equipment as necessary to improve both overall election management and voter experience.

Click here to learn more about Ohio Senate Bill 135.

Related News Articles

®     Ohio lawmakers OK $114.5 million for new voting machines

Voting Equipment and Tabulation System Acquisition


In 2018, Ohio House of Representatives passed legislation (Senate Bill 135) that provides funding for the purchase of voting systems by all Ohio counties. Counties will receive a base allocation determined by the Secretary of State, and an additional allocation based upon the number of registered voters in the county. Following this funding formula, Cuyahoga County Board of Elections will be receiving approximately $10.4M for the acquisition of new voting and tabulation equipment.

The Department of Administrative Services (DAS)solicited pricing from tabulation vendors and released bid requirements based on input from the Secretary of State (SOS) and the Voting Machine Acquisition Advisory Committee (a bipartisan committee of state and local officials).

Certified Voting Systems / Vendors

Cuyahoga County strives to be a national leader in election administration, and we are eager to take advantage of this opportunity to provide our voters with the most up-to-date and efficient voting systems. Our goal is to obtain the best in election software and security, tailored to meet the needs of our unique county, and to improve the voting experience from start to finish with updated equipment.

Before undertaking the updating / implementation of voting systems, the Board of Elections must determine which vendor can best meet the needs of our diverse voting population.

Currently there are five (5) tabulation systems certified for use in the state of Ohio:

Vendor Demonstration Day | December 2017

Cuyahoga County Board of Elections hosted an Election Equipment Vendor Demonstration on Wednesday, December 6th, with multiple counties throughout northeast Ohio invited to participate. Each of the five participating vendors were allotted one hour to provide a brief presentation followed by a Q&A session.

Information Survey | October 2018

In October 2018, we supplied each vendor with a survey to aid in our review process. Responses were received from three (3) vendors: Clear Ballot, Elections Systems and Software, and Hart InterCivic.

Tabulation Equipment Survey


Individual Vendor Demonstrations | January 2019

The three (3) tabulation system vendors were invited to Cuyahoga County in January to demonstrate the functionality of their products. Demonstrations took place Tuesday, January 15th through Thursday, January 17th. Each vendor had one full day to present their tabulation system (hardware and software). A link to the video of each vendor’s presentation is provided below.

The morning portion of the vendor’s demonstration was open to the public. This session covered an overview of the company, a security presentation, and a physical demonstration of the polling location ballot scanners and the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) voting equipment to be used on Election Day.

The afternoon portion focused on the software and election setup of the tabulation systems. This session was closed to the public to allow senior management staff to evaluate the systems and ask detailed / system-specific questions as they pertain to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.

Demonstration Videos 

Elections Systems and Software (ES&S) 
Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Hart InterCivic 
Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Clear Ballot
Thursday, January, 17, 2019

Additional Question Survey | April 2019

After the individual vendor demonstrations the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections Staff had additional questions for the three vendors that participated; ES&S, Hart InterCivic and Clear Ballot.  An Additional Information Survey was created that consisted of twenty five general questions that each vendor was asked with extra questions that were vendor specific asked to get more detailed information about each system. 

Hart InterCivic Survey

Clear Ballot Survey

ES&S Survey

Individual Private Vendor Demonstrations | June 2019

The three (3) tabulation system vendors were invited back to Cuyahoga County in June for a demonstration on election coding, election set-up & break down, and the unique features of each vendor’s scanner, ADA and central count equipment.  A testing plan was created and sent to each vendor.  The mock gubernatorial primary election was created for testing; it included multiple scenarios and situations such as multiple-candidate contests, multiple vote-for options in a single contest, write-in options, lengthy ballot issues and instances of contests with no valid candidates. The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections provided the parameters and all necessary data to create the election.  Vendors were asked to work with our Information Systems Department to translate the data into the formats used by their election management system. 
Each of the three (3) vendor simulations included: coding all necessary ballot styles; performing basic logic and accuracy testing of equipment; performing early voting/vote-by-mail scanning; and simulating election night through uploading media, adjudicating remake and write-in votes, generating reports and creating web uploads of results.
The vendors each had approximately four (4) days to present their equipment to Board of Election staff that in turn were able to operate and “test drive” the equipment in a work place environment.  Many operational questions and issues were addressed within these hands on demonstrations.  

Early In-Person Voting Demonstrations | January 2020

About the Event
The event was set up like an open house and featured three equipment vendors. Guests were able to try out the equipment by voting sample ballots in a mock election that simulated the Early In-Person Voting process. This included the use of ballot optical scanners and ADA ballot-marking devices. The three equipment vendors included Clear Ballot, Elections Systems and Software (ES&S), and Hart InterCivic.

Event Attendees
Approximately 70 people attended the open house, representing more than 20 different organizations. The event was well attended by persons with disabilities, advocacy groups and the Board’s community partners. Also in attendance were employees from the Board of Elections and representatives from the Ohio Secretary of State’s office.

Attendees were invited to complete a brief survey for each vendor. The surveys asked participants to rate their experience using the ADA ballot-marking and ballot-scanning devices. The Board received insightful feedback from the ADA community regarding the ballot marking devices. The voter advocacy groups had good interaction with the equipment vendors and Board of Elections staff. Several people commented on how they found it educational, and were very grateful that we invited them into the acquisition process and listened to their concerns. Additionally, it gave the Board’s staff another opportunity to interact with the equipment vendors, ask questions and contemplate how the equipment will suit the election needs of Cuyahoga County.