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Los Angeles County Seeks Proposals for New Election Management System

The new system should be in place before the November 2024 general election, and the contract could last more than 10 years. The registration deadline for a mandatory proposers conference is Monday.

LA County voting.jpg
With Los Angeles County's Voting Solutions for All People system in place, the next step is a new Election Management System. The county issued an RFP for that Monday.
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“The largest and most complex election jurisdiction in the country” is seeking proposals from vendors for a new election management system (EMS) that should be in place for the November 2024 election – under a contract that could stretch to more than 10 years.

In a request for proposals issued Monday, the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s Office (RRCC) is seeking a system that’s seen as the key to managing voter registration and elections in the nation’s most populous county.

“RRCC will be seeking bids from the primary vendors later this year for this solicitation for an EMS that is modern, scalable, secure, and meets the county’s current and future needs,” says the cover document in the RFP. In brief, the county wants a system that can:

CIO Aman Bhullar
  • Provide support for core voter records, elections, petitions, vote by mail, election results, content management and administrative functionality at the scale of Los Angeles County, which has a population of about 10 million.
  • Provide tools that can accommodate self-service reporting and data analytics capabilities.
  • Integrate with the broader infrastructure through a modern API gateway/integration capability that prevents proliferation of point-to-point connections.
  • Support a long-term software life cycle and a path for continuous modernization.

“The county intends to award a contract covering multiple project phases: implementation services followed by a warranty period, followed by maintenance and support services,” the RFP states.

The contract will have an initial term of six years with the option for two additional two-year terms and six month-to-month extensions, for a potential total of 10 years and six months. Any contract award is contingent on certification by the California Secretary of State’s Office as being compliant with VoteCal, the state’s centralized voter registration database.

The RFP is the next big step for the county since it implemented its Voting Solutions for All People (VSAP), which included new applications and technologies.

RRCC’s chief information officer, Aman Bhullar, told Techwire in a recent interview that with VSAP having proven successful, the next step is the larger EMS.

“We are live with VSAP and everything is good,” Bhullar said. “It’s been successful, and in the presidential election, there were absolutely no issues there. We are operationalized, and everything is good.”

He said the EMS is a “parallel” endeavor with VSAP, replacing the “aging, legacy EMS” with a new system in time for the November 2024 general election.

“This is going to be a big project once the implementation starts, once we select the right candidate – the vendor,” Bhullar said. “We are in the market, and the right vendors should come and talk to us.

“We’re calling it ‘New Generation EMS,’” he said. “There is always going to be a third leg – us, the vendor and the secretary of state. It’s going to be a joint collaboration.”

The key services specified in the RFP include, among many others, the following:

  • The prime contractor will handle project management, will manage subcontractors and will report regularly on progress to the county.
  • Proposals should address how the contractor will handle business process analysis, change management, validation of requirements and design.
  • System development and configuration, including reports documenting interface development and configuration. (Because this is a new system, ongoing development is expected to be minimal, county officials say.)
  • Plan, establish and perform system testing, including test plans, sser acceptance test scripts, and establishing test environments.
  • Plan, prepare and conduct data migration in test and production environments safely, with clear audit trails and reports.
  • Plan, specify and deliver “secure service environments” including private cloud services and any mixed computing, storage or on-premises infrastructure needed.
  • Monitor and report service levels, ensuring business continuity and disaster recovery services.

The 52-page RFP also spells out the requirements in a host of other areas, including development of training and user guides, creation of a maintenance and support plan, management of voter records and registration, plans for canvassing and audits, and management of vote-by-mail and signature recognition. The RFP also calls for dashboards to capture, track and manage data with visual representations.

Eventually, Bhullar said, the contractor selected will take over vote center operations and election worker management, which are currently provided by PollChief.

On implementation, the new system is expected to offer self-service reporting and data analytics capabilities; contain a modern API gateway/integration capability that prevents proliferation of point-to-point connections; and support a long-term software life cycle and modernization path.

Key dates for the RFP include:

  • Aug. 23: Registration deadline for mandatory proposers conference
  • Aug. 24: Online proposers conference
  • Aug. 31: Proposers’ questions due
  • Sept. 7: County posts written responses to proposers’ questions
  • Sept. 24: RFP proposals due
  • Dec. 6 to Jan. 28: Vendor finalists’ presentations
  • Feb. 11: Notice of contractor selection
  • May 10: Anticipated contract execution
Dennis Noone is Managing Editor of Techwire. He is a career journalist, having worked as a reporter and editor at small-town newspapers and major metropolitan dailies in California, Nevada, Texas and Virginia, including as an editor with USA Today in Washington, D.C. He lives in the Northern California foothills.