Lee County elections office ensures voting machines are accurate

Voting machines for early voting and Election Day are being tested in Lee County Monday. It’s a long-term process to make sure machines are working properly.

“We don’t want any glitches during the election,” said Tommy Doyle, Lee County’s supervisor of elections. “We’re always gonna be ready for something.”

The canvassing board for Lee County elections, those in charge of the count, are also ensuring voting machines are functioning properly.

To test voting machines, unofficial pre-marked ballots are fed through them.

Doyle said that once the unofficial ballots are tallied, “We close the pool, and it prints out a tape with all the votes on those tapes, and those are reconciled with the election report.”

Poll tapes, which look like long receipts, must add up to pre-determined results. If that happens, a voting machine is functioning properly.

Anyone can sit and watch voting machine testing alongside the elections supervisor, and it’s critical the count is right every time.

Monday, Doyle found out there was more work to do to test voting machines accuracy. Things started out great for the election office, some hiccups were caught, which is why the process is taken seriously.

“We want to get it right for these machines,” Doyle said. “We’ve been testing these machines for months. This is a combination of months of work.”

Testing began at 9 a.m. and went on for hours. Mock ballots were tallied for a number of races, and one race couldn’t be tallied quite right.

That’s why Lee County Supervisor of Elections Office and the canvassing board run these tests, and it’s also why the test run proved to be negative for all involved.

“We’ve been testing these machines for months. This is a combination of months of work, and it’s very disappointing that this test has to be rescheduled,” Doyle explained.

Doyle said he had no choice but to schedule a second test run. One race on the mock ballots just didn’t add up as it should.

“I think it is human error,” Doyle said. “These ballots have been run through these machines many times, and sometimes that causes a problem too. So we’ll get a fresh test deck ready. And I’m confident that it’s going to come out correct.”

The canvassing board counted the mock ballots by hand when a discrepancy showed up with the voting machines. The ballots were run through machines again and again. Doyle said he’d rather do that ow and pinpoint the problem than on have issues on election day.

“I want to make sure we get it right, especially going into this election,” Doyle said.

The canvassing board and elections office will get a fresh start 9 a.m. Thursday when it tests the machines for early voting, mail-in ballots and those at the precincts on election day. If that test day is considered a success, the official count of mail-in ballots already received in Lee County will begin.

Reporter:Anika Henanger
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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