Silicon Engines was chosen by Election Systems & Software (ES&S), headquartered in Omaha,
Nebraska, to serve as a key electronic hardware and embedded firmware design resource on the ExpressVote® Voting System. This project, and Silicon Engines’ role, was confidential until the engineering was complete, federal certification achieved, and the product released to production—in time for the 2014 elections.
ES&S and Silicon Engines - Partners in Development
ES&S chose Silicon Engines to assist with the development of the ExpressVote Voting System’s electronic components because of their reputation for innovative design services and because of Silicon Engines’ previous work on ES&S’s AutoMARK system for voters with special needs. Over 43,000 AutoMARK machines were manufactured and marketed by ES&S.
Testing, Testing, Testing
Based on this experience, Silicon Engines understood that each voting machine would be checked for functionality, accessibility and security capabilities by an independent lab under the authority of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC). “Coming into this project, our engineers knew that the ExpressVote was going to be put through rigorous inspection and testing, including a close look at every single line of code,” said Kerry Berland, President of Silicon Engines. “Most of our projects require some sort of certification by an outside agency, so we were ready when ES&S asked us to lead the electronic design on the ExpressVote.”
Thinking Inside the Box
Bringing their experience with deep embedded hardware and software to the project, Silicon Engines’ engineers worked with ES&S to define design requirements, and recommended low-cost, 32-bit ARM Cortex M3 processors from STMicroelectronics on circuit boards custom-designed for real-time printing and scanning tasks, helping ES&S realize a cost savings that would be difficult to achieve if buying scanning and printing circuit boards from outside-suppliers. This engineering approach was enabled by software engineers at Silicon Engines who wrote the image processing, print head control, and motor drive firmware from scratch.
Silicon Engines is proud to have been able to help ES&S, the largest manufacturer of voting machines in the United States, bring the innovative ExpressVote to the voters of the United States.