DuPage Leads the Nation with New Voting Systems

New practices like “Vote Anywhere” and the Hart InterCivic voting equipment are revolutionizing voting in DuPage County.


Mariyam Syed

Candidate and citizens at DuPage Voter Expo.

Mariyam Syed, Staff Writer

The November 2022 election in DuPage County will be more accessible and efficient than ever before, thanks to two new major changes to how people cast their ballots. Candidates and community members at the Oct. 23 DuPage Voter Expo encouraged people to vote and personally experience these voting system updates.

Voting scanner. (Photo by Mariyam Syed)

Over 30 candidates running for various offices across the DuPage area showed up to meet their constituents. The event hosted forum discussions between opposing candidates to answer citizen’s questions. One special feature at the expo was the new Hart InterCivic Verity paper voting system. This equipment processes every kind of ballot, whether it’s a mail-in, early vote or an ADA-accommodation ballot. It’s approved by DuPage County to meet the best security standards.

Melissa Nachman of the League of Women Voters described how the Verity paper voting system works. 

It starts with election judges who gather the voter’s information and print a fitting receipt and ballot, in both Spanish and English. “Then we scan the receipt from the poll-pad.” Nachman said. “We have poll-pads to check in the voter and ballot searching by precinct. The voter goes to their booth before the ballot is cast.”

Sample ballot goes into scanner. (Photo by Mariyam Syed)

Nachman also talked about how the new system has ADA accommodations for people with disabilities. There are touch lighters and text-to-speech tools that allow them to electronically mark their ballot.

“With our new equipment, that electronically marked ballot now prints a paper ballot, and it is cast into the ballot box just like a paper ballot,” Nachman said. At the end of Election Day, all the ballots are stored on one chip. 

The new equipment is also more instructive if voters make a mistake. After their ballot slides inside, the large screen tells the voter if they made unclear marks, overvoted or left blanks. The voter can choose to spoil the ballot and revote, so it will be ejected from the machine. Otherwise, they can cast the ballot as is.

This election cycle has been instrumental in making the voting process convenient and inclusive, with the “Vote Anywhere” initiative. DuPage County Clerk Jean Kaczmarek announced the opening of 22 early voting sites. These sites are open Oct. 24 until Election Day.  This means that DuPage voters can go to any voting site in the county on Election Day. Their ballots will be printed on-demand, no matter what district they’re from.

“Having been a [election] judge, I will tell you, in the past there’s always people that come in at the last minute, and you’re like ‘Oh, no you’re in the wrong place,’” Nachman said. “For those voters in the past, we had to vote them provisionally. But now we won’t have to do that. They’ll be able to vote, and that’ll be great.”

During the forum, DuPage County Clerk candidates, Jean Kaczmarek and Evelyn Sanguinetti, discussed how vital it is to encourage voters through these initiatives. In the spring 2022 primary election, it was estimated that 60% of eligible citizens did exercise their vote. The candidates hope to see voter turnout numbers increasing.

(Photo by Mariyam Syed)

Creating familiarity between the community and candidates is an important step to encourage voting. Events like the DuPage Voter Expo serve this necessary purpose. With the “Vote Anywhere” initiative taking off, Jackie Williamson, a candidate for Representative of Illinois District 47, encouraged voters to recognize the weight of their vote.

“The services and actions by the leaders who end up in local offices are a lot more impactful on your everyday life,” Williamson said. “It’s worthwhile to dig into their presence and their records, to understand who you’ve got writing the laws, affecting the things that happen in your town.”

A great resource to help voters understand the ballot is the Illinois Voter Guide website. By entering their full address and language, they will be presented with a comprehensive voter guide. It lists the candidates of every office that they may vote for. There’s also a section about statewide referendums for proposed laws and policies that will be on the ballot. With these tools, voters won’t be unaware when they enter the voting booth on Election Day. College of DuPage will host an early voting site in the Institutional Resource Center building in the southwest area of campus.