Smart Cards

Overview

VotingWorks uses smart cards to configure and operate precinct equipment. It's the same technology as the chip in your credit card, but instead used to enable administrators and poll workers to configure the equipment and operate the polls. There are two types of cards: Admin Cards and Poll Worker Cards:

Admin and Poll Worker Cards

Admin Cards

Admin Cards enable election administrators to configure precinct equipment including:

  • Configuring the equipment for a specific precinct

  • Configuring VxMarks with the list of contests and candidates

  • Toggling between Test mode and Live Election mode for L&A

  • Updating settings like date and time

Because Admin Cards allow you to configure and unconfigure a machine for an election, they are only used by election administrators and should be kept in a secure location.

Poll Worker Cards

Poll Worker Cards enable poll workers to manage a precinct election day including:

  • Opening the polls

  • Printing reports

  • Closing the polls

  • Exporting precinct results

Every precinct will need at least one Poll Worker Card in order to operate the polls.

Managing Cards

For each election, you will encode the smart cards specifically for that election. Smart cards can be encoded quickly and easily with VxAdmin, under the Cards tab:

You will use the HID Omnikey Card Reader provided with VxAdmin. To get started, plug it the card reader into a USB port of the VxAdmin laptop.

Encoding Admin Cards

Insert the smart card labelled "Admin" into the card reader facing toward you. Push the card all the way into the slot, stopping when you feel it tap the bottom of the card reader:

Admin Smart Card in Smart Card Reader

Admin Cards are encrypted for security to prevent anyone from editing or overwriting the correct election data. When reusing a previously programmed Admin Card, you must first Override Write Protection on the card.

Under the Card tab in VxAdmin, select Encode Admin Card:

Programming an Admin Card will take several seconds during which the lights on the card reader will flash and the screen will show the following:

After the message is gone, the card is programmed.

Encoding Poll Worker Cards

Insert the smart card labelled "Poll Worker" into the card reader facing toward you. Push the card all the way into the slot, stopping when you feel it tap the bottom of the card reader:

Poll Worker Smart Card in Smart Card Reader

Under the Card Tab in VxAdmin, select Encode Poll Worker Card:

VxAdmin will show that it is currently "Programming Card..." briefly. The light on the card reader will blink green and red. For a Poll Worker Card, this process will take less a second or less:

After the message is gone, the card is programmed.

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