The DS850 is a high-speed, digital scan ballot tabulator designed for use by election officials at a central count facility. The DS850 can scan and count up to 300 ballots per minute. It uses digital cameras and imaging systems to read the front and back of each ballot, evaluate the result, and sort each ballot into the appropriate tray based on the result to maintain continuous scanning and tabulating.
Multiple criteria can be used to segregate ballots for review, including overvotes, crossover votes and blank ballots. Depending on the situation, ballots segregated in this fashion may not be counted and may need to be remade by the election inspectors.
Election officials use a 14-inch touchscreen display to program these features of the DS850. While processing ballots, the DS850 prints a continuous audit log to a dedicated audit log printer. Reports are printed from a second connected printer. The DS850 saves voter selections and ballot images to an internal hard disk and exports results to a USB flash drive for processing with the Election Reporting Manager (ERM).
In 2016, with EVS 184.108.40.206, ES&S introduced the DS450, a mid-range digital scan ballot tabulator designed for use as a central count scanner by medium-size jurisdictions the same functionality as the DS850. While the DS850 scans 300 ballots per minute, with 3 output bins for sorting physical ballots, the DS450 scans 75 ballots per minute with the same real time sorting functionality as the DS850. The DS450 can accommodate a variety of different length ballots and can process between 60 and 90 ballots per minute, depending on the size of the ballot. The DS450 uses technology similar to the DS200 to image both sides of the ballot and identify properly marked votes.
While processing ballots, the DS450 prints a continuous audit log to a dedicated audit log printer. Reports are printed from a second printer. The DS450 saves voter selections and ballot images to an internal hard disk and exports results to a USB flash drive for processing with the Election Reporting Manager (ERM). The DS450 has some additional features including LED lights on the outstack bins that can offer a visual cue to central counting station personnel when a certain ballots need to be adjudicated or rescanned for various purposes. The DS450 is capable of scanning both traditional paper ballots and the cast vote records generated by the ExpressVote and ExpressVote XL.
In 2021, ES&S introduced the DS950, another large, high-speed scanner. The DS950 is marketed as requiring less adjudication of ballots, reducing ballot misfeeds, and only accepting certified and approved USB flash drives.
ES&S DS850 demonstration video
Michael Anderson, Lebanon County PA Voter Registrar, discusses the ES&S DS450
ES&S EVS 220.127.116.11 Memorandum, Wisconsin Election Commission (2017)
Vulnerability & Security Assessment Report Election Systems & Software’s Unity 18.104.22.168, prepared for the California Secretary of State (2016)
ES&S Voting System 22.214.171.124 System Overview, Election Systems & Software for the Colorado Secretary of State (2015)
Report on the Examination of ES&S EVS 126.96.36.199 Voting System, Washington Secretary of State (2014)
Election Systems & Software was founded in 1979 as American Information Systems Inc. (AIS), it merged with Business Records Corp. the following year and changed its name to ES&S. It is now a subsidiary of McCarthy Group, LLC, and McCarthy Capital. As of 2007 it was the largest manufacturer of voting machines in the United States, claiming customers in 1,700 localities. As of 2007 it had approximately 350 employees; 2005 revenues were $117 million. ES&S announced its purchase of AutoMARK Technical Systems on January 28, 2008.