Vote by Mail

VBM Automation Software

Fluence Automation offers affordable, practical solutions based on our advanced sorting platforms, that solve many of the most difficult mail ballot processing challenges. Unlike others, we design, build, and support our systems, and therefore control the long-term product direction.

Our solutions deliver valuable capabilities, developed over years of working with county officials, built on platforms proven through decades of heavy-duty production mail processing.

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  • Consolidate multiple steps into fewer automated steps, including tab removal
  • Efficiently handle high volumes on peak election days at throughputs from 18,000 to 45,000/ hour
  • With a two – pass operation, it is possible to sort to 196 separations with a 16-bin sorter
  • Various concurrent validations – ID validation, duplicate checks, thickness, double feeds, etc.
  • Item level tracking with easy lookup for processing history, with images for each run, designed for detailed investigation
  • Efficient image review with tiered access rights, for initial and subsequent verification
  • Detailed audit log captures all key processing steps and status changes
  • Automation of manual tasks reduces amount of temporary staffing needed
  • Fewer manual tasks reduces training needs, structured process supports quick learning
  • System generated reports simplifies tallying, monitoring and other processing
  • One of the widest and well-run nationwide service networks available today
  • Local service supported by specialized remote support
  • Extensive experience maintaining 24 X 7 production equipment
  • Protects investment and maximizes performance


First Pass

• Feed ballot envelopes 

• System automatically: 

  • Verifies barcode ID, confirming current election
  • Checks for thickness and doubles*
  • Detects duplicates within & across batches
  • Detects and removes tab*
  • Automatically verifies signature* 
  • Prints date and time stamp*
  • Sorts based on precincts, ballot styles, other parameters 
  • Diverts challenges & verification failures


Review Images

• Operator reviews 1 up to 4 scanned images at a time

• Review the signature only or complete envelope 

• Initial review by Reviewer role

• Subsequent reviews by Supervisor or Admin roles

• Select from among configurable drop-down choices for specific conditions



• Re-run previously run ballots if necessary without impacting counts

• Re-run challenges after they are cured, to sort into the correct groups prior to Fine Sort

• Detect duplicates within the batch for accurate counts tracking


Fine Sort

• Sort ballots to desired separation level (precinct/ ballot style/other) 

• Operator feeds individual groups of ballots

• Selectively open only accepted ballots*

• Detect duplicates within and across all Fine Sort batches

Note: *indicates optional features


• Summary dashboard of all batches delivers quick overview of overall processing status

• Advanced lookup options provide full processing history by ID and current status

• Duplicate resolution feature includes hyperlinks to images for further investigation

• Freeform Notes field for each batch simplifies communication with broader team

• Tiered access rights may be configured for each process step

• Multiple export options available to suit individual process needs

• Audit log may be exported at any time

• User configurable features support workflow changes without code changes/ custom software versions


Doubles Detector

• Useful for diverting envelopes that maybe stuck together, ensuring all pieces are correctly handled

• Image-based detection of double edges identifies true double-feed conditions


Thickness Detector

• Useful for diverting envelopes with more than the expected number of ballots

• Laser based thickness detector identifies differences down to one sheet of paper

• User-configurable thresholds


Inkjet Printer

• Print date, time and custom message on the envelope with no loss in throughput

• Minimal maintenance and easy cartridge replacement

• Optional continuous inkjet for very high volume applications


Inline Opener

• Inline opening without content damage

• Ultra-fine depth adjustment

• Selective opening allows both good and challenged envelopes to be fed with only good envelopes opened

• Includes dust collector to minimize dust and efficiently collect paper chips


Inline Tab Remover

• Detect and remove privacy tabs at up to 8,000/hr (for 1” x 3” tabs), concurrent with sorting

• Ergonomic collection of removed tabs

• Advanced laser technology cuts single layer of paper, without damaging contents (Class 1 laser product)