Constituency officials test voting machines ahead of general election

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) – Thousands of ballots are entering voting machines even before early voting begins.

“For this election, we will be testing 22 voting machines and that includes the one we will be using on the early voting site,” said Sara LaVere, director of the Brunswick County Electoral Council.

Each machine counts ballots of all kinds to ensure the final count is correct. The machine used for the advance poll alone will read over 1,000 ballots.

“What we will have is a stack of tests with a predetermined number of votes for each candidate,” said Butch Johnson, computer technician for the election. “We’ll read them through the tabs themselves and once we close those tabs we’ll check that the predetermined number is what we’re reading. “

To be prepared for every situation, some ballots have too many options filled in to test the machine’s ability to warn the voter of the error. The voter can choose to discard the ballot and fill out a new one or submit the ballot as is. If the voter submits it as is, the race with the error will not be counted.

Once the test is complete, the machines are reset and stored until polling day.

“It’s something we’ve always done so I feel very confident about safety,” Johnson said. “The County of Brunswick takes great pride in the security of the elections.”

“Statewide, all election offices are trying to be more transparent so that people can feel comfortable with the process and get to know all the things we do to make sure that “There is a certain integrity in the electoral process,” said LaVère.

Brunswick County invites the public to watch the process live throughout this week:

The process of testing the machine is just one of many steps to ensure a safe election.

“After the election, we do a lot of audits to make sure the number of people who have registered is the same or exactly the same as the number of ballots cast,” LaVere said. “If we can’t match that, we’re doing research to determine what it is and it’s usually an administrative error on the part of a precinct official.”

Brunswick County has never had a problem with a ballot mis-counting machine. A constituency official said he started volunteering on the electoral board six years ago after experiencing electoral integrity issues himself, intending to ensure the elections proceed correctly. After seeing all the precautions taken behind the scenes, he says the system is safer than he could have imagined.

Copyright 2021 WECT. All rights reserved.

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