CHICAGO — For the first time ever, Cook County election returns will be delivered wirelessly from the precincts to the City and County election headquarters soon after the polls close on election night. The new system for tabulating the results utilizes Verizon Wireless' existing network to transmit the results instantly.
The system was tested during the March primaries in six suburban townships and six Chicago wards and resulted in 75% of the votes counted within an hour. Previously, it took three hours to reach that same percentage.
In the past, election judges in each polling place would get in a car and drive the results to 12 receiving stations throughout the city and the county. These numbers were then put into a computer and transmitted via telephone lines to the central office. This entire cumbersome and time-consuming step has been eliminated by the use of Verizon Wireless' network.
The new system will still use punch cards. However, the new individual precinct ballot counters will read the cards, compile the numbers from the precincts, and then wirelessly transmit the results over Verizon Wireless' CDPD (Cellular Digital Packet Data) network after the polls close at 7:00 pm.
"Setting up this system for the City Of Chicago and suburban Cook County was a joint effort between Elections Systems Software and Verizon Wireless," said Bob Merna - director, Wireless Data, Verizon Wireless. "Our CDPD network was chosen for this critical task because of its speed and ability to transmit information in a secured environment."
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with 26.3 million wireless voice and data customers and 3.5 million paging customers. The new coast-to-coast wireless provider was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Bell Atlantic Corp. and GTE Corp - now Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) -- and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). The new company includes the assets of Bell Atlantic Mobile, AirTouch Cellular, GTE Wireless, PrimeCo Personal Communications and AirTouch Paging. The company has a footprint covering nearly 90 percent of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50 and 96 of the top 100 U.S. markets. Verizon Wireless, headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, is 32,000 employees strong. Reporters and editors can find more information about the company in its Media Center on the Web at: http://www.verizonwireless.com/mediacenter/index.shtml