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STAR-Vote - A Change of Plans

STAR-Vote ‐ A Change of Plans

Official Release
(September 28, 2017 Austin, TX)



Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir issued the below press release on September 28, 2017.
Additional information can be found in this Final Report (Click for Final Report).





Travis County Seal star vote header









Contact: Ginny Ballard
Telephone: 512-854-4177
Email: elections@traviscountytx.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 28, 2017





STAR-Vote ‐ A Change of Plans


Believing there was not enough security built into most voting systems, Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir collaborated with a group of experts in computer science, cryptography and computer security, statistics, and human factor engineering to build a better voting system, and from here the design for STAR-Vote was born. This collaboration brought together different opinions and ideas in search of common ground and scientifically grounded solutions to resolve concerns about electronic voting. STAR-Vote (Secure, Transparent, Auditable, Reliable) was designed to offer the speed and accuracy of electronic voting and its advantages for voters with disabilities, combined with a paper trail for recount purposes.

In collaboration with the experts above as well as the County Clerk?s Election Study Group, Travis County officials developed a list of system requirements and architecture. This led to a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking entities to build STAR-Vote for use as Travis County?s next voting system. The RFP was issued in late 2016 and proposals were submitted by prospective vendors earlier this year.

The proposals received in response to the STAR-Vote RFP were not sufficient to build a complete voting system. Because of this, we are currently unable to pursue building STAR-Vote, and the Travis County Commissioners? Court, on September 26, 2017, voted to reject all proposals for this project. However, Travis County still needs a new voting system, and there are two points in selecting Travis County?s next voting system that are non-negotiable:

 1.) We must have a voter-verified, paper trail for audit and recount purposes, and
 2.) We must have better security, to include robust support for 3rd party verification of results and better post-election audits.

Though we are unable to advance STAR-Vote at this time, this system is a model from which Travis County and those interested in elections would substantially benefit. At the same time, the investment made by Travis County since 2012 has produced benefits. In studying election security while developing the STAR-Vote requirements, we identified several security features that we could incorporate into our current voting process in tandem with the eSlate system currently in use in Travis County. We look forward to further leveraging the lessons learned into a new election system for Travis County that is state-of-the-art, secure, and accessible.

We are prepared to move forward immediately to continue the process of acquiring a new voting system for Travis County, using a more traditional vendor-based model. In October, we will be releasing a new RFP, using some of the lessons that have been learned from STAR-Vote, and including requirements for enhanced security features and a voter-verified paper trail. All factors will be taken into consideration to acquire and implement the best voting system for Travis County voters.

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Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir will discuss the outcome of the STAR-Vote RFP as well as details on the next steps for acquiring a new voting system in Travis County at the October 3, 2017 meeting of the Travis County Commissioners? Court. She will be available for further comment after that presentation.

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