Preparing for Tuesday’s election
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Coosa County EMA Director Sheldon Hutcherson assists with testing the voting machines for Coosa County. Photo by Christa Jennings
Beth Stroud, recording clerk and elections manager, helps test the ExpressVote Voting Assistance machines to ensure they work properly ahead of Tuesday’s general election. Photo by Christa Jennings
Marked ballots, thumb drives and other material are laid out for use in testing the voting machines. Photos by Christa Jennings
Voting machines waiting to be tested. Photo by Christa Jennings
By Christa Jennings
Senior Staff Writer
With the election drawing near, preparations have been made over the past few weeks and months to appoint and train poll workers, handle absentee voting, prepare sample ballots, and more, including one crucial part of the voting preparation process – testing the machines.
Last Thursday, October 27, staff with the probate judge’s office, deputies, EMA Director Sheldon Hutcherson, and Judge of Probate Richard Dean gathered in the E-911 building to undergo the testing process for the machines.
This included the DS 200 Tabulating machines and the ExpressVote Voting Assistance machines. The latter can be used by anyone and has special properties to assist voters, such as headphones, a touchscreen, a keypad, and more.
Those assisting with the testing booted up each machine and logged into it, made sure it was properly set up, fed marked ballots through it – or in the case of the ExpressVote machines used the touchscreen, and reviewed the results to be sure each machine was working properly.
After being tested and confirmed to be in proper working order, each machine was then sealed, not to be open again until Tuesday’s election.
There were 14 being tested for each type of machine, making 28 total machines to be tested. One of each machine will be available at each polling location.
With the ExpressVote machines, once the voter makes their selections and confirms them at the end, the machine then prints out the selections, unlike the standard marked ballot. That print-out is then fed through the tabulation machine to be added to the total results.
The machines are also set so that they only work with the machine at the same precinct, meaning a print-out from the ExpressVote machine could not be taken and entered at another precinct.
Judge Dean said that it takes approximately five hours to complete the testing process for all of the county’s machines. They were then sealed and secured for delivery to the proper voting facility.
Machines are tested prior to each election to help ensure the accuracy and integrity of the elections.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday for the general election.