SANTA ANA, Calif.—Orange County adopted a new ballot drop box technology that instantly tracks voters’ ballot envelopes from the deposit to the tally process, the county registrar of voters announced on Feb. 23.
When a voter drops off a ballot envelope, a secure barcode scanner placed on the ballot box allows the voter to scan the printed barcode located outside the ballot envelope.
Once deposited, the voter receives an SMS text message confirming the status and location of the ballot.
“By providing voters with enhanced visibility on the location of their ballot, I believe this will help to continue boosting voter confidence and improve overall election security,” Neal Kelley, registrar of voters, said in a statement.
Orange County Registrar of Voters is the first to adopt the pilot program technology, a system used typically in the medical industry to track tissue samples.
A spokesperson from the registrar’s office told The Epoch Times that the technology comes after feedback from the county’s registered voter pool indicated that more “tracking abilities” at valid drop-off locations were needed to ensure extra security measures for ballots.
“The registrar’s office always looks for ways to supersede voter expectations,” a spokesperson for the registrar’s office said. “Just because we have a secure election system here doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways that we can continue to layer that security.”
The pilot program includes nine ballot drop boxes throughout the county, and the registrar’s office said voters would have access to each location on its website.
As the fifth largest voting jurisdiction in the United States, the Orange County Registrar of Voters conducts county-wide elections for 1.8 million voters.
Data collected from the 2020 General Election showed Orange County voters cast approximately 1.5 million ballots—an 87.3 percent voter turnout.
Of those ballots, over 260,000 used vote center ballots, whereas 1.2 million used vote-by-mail ballots.
California’s 2021 Gubernatorial Recall Election showed that of the approximate 1.1 million ballots cast by registered Orange County voters, over 129,000 used vote center ballots while about 1 million used vote-by-mail ballots—a 62.9 percent voter turnout.
Once the registrar’s office collects the pilot program’s data from the primary election held on June 7, 2022, the results will determine whether officials will expand the technology across the county.