Two representatives of the Republican Party and two representatives of the Democratic Party in Elbert County met with Elections Manager Rhonda Braun and Elbert County Clerk and Recorder Dallas …
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Two representatives of the Republican Party and two representatives of the Democratic Party in Elbert County met with Elections Manager Rhonda Braun and Elbert County Clerk and Recorder Dallas Schroeder on Oct. 3 with one goal in mind — to trick the county’s voting machines.
Jim Duvall and Tracy Ducharme, Democrats, and Gary Mayfield and Danny Willcox, Republicans, brought with them 25 test ballots, which they had filled out with varying degrees of accuracy. Ballots were run through the voting machines to test for logic and accuracy ahead of the upcoming November election.
“My staff and I have already been running test ballots through,” said Braun, who has been the elections manager in Elbert County for more than five years. “We’ve done all the funky things ahead of time.”
Legally Braun has to test the machines before and after each election, and test runs are a good way to spot any problems, such as the ballots not feeding through the scanner as smoothly as they should, which happened to Willcox and Duvall Oct. 3.
According to Braun, there are nearly 20,000 registered voters in Elbert County, and each individual vote has to be processed meticulously. As ballots are received, they are date stamped, bundled into batches of 25, and their signature tabs removed. Ballots from property owners who may have several addresses, ballots from other counties and envelopes with no signatures are removed from the batches, and election staffers contact the senders.
Ballots not diverted to staff are scanned into the state voter registration system, then the signature is compared on every envelope to the voter signature in record. Ballot envelopes are then opened, which, according to Braun, is very serious business, as staff have to avoid damaging or tearing the ballot in any way. Opened ballots are then hand-numbered for scanning, and put into new batches of 25. Ballots are scanned, and must be kept in order for auditing purposes.
During the test run, as during an actual election, an adjudication report is generated identifying any problems with the ballots that have not been caught visually, such as a person “over-voting,” or voting for more than the allowable number of candidates. Mistakes made on the ballot, such as crossing out one choice and filling in another, are also caught during this process.
Both parties who submitted test ballots received tally sheets, which they compared to the ballots and mistakes they submitted on the ballots. The tally sheets were accurate, and the verdict was that the voting machines are good to go for the 2019 coordinated election.
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