POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY, Iowa – Several days are spent testing the voting machines in Pottawattamie County prior to the midterm elections.
The testing procedure is free and accessible to the general public.
Paul Pate, the secretary of state of Iowa, said, “Iowans have one of the highest voter turnouts in the nation, but we want to ensure they understand the entire process.”
All forty voting machines are being examined to ensure that they function properly. Each vote tabulator is subjected to an accuracy test.
Melvyn Houser, Auditor & Commissioner of Elections, explains, “We just want to make sure that the machine has been cleared of any previous votes, so they have to clear it out, make sure it’s all zeroed out, and print out a receipt to ensure that there are zero votes in that machine.”
Then, they will run a series of pre-marked test ballots through the machine to ensure its accuracy.
“At that time, if something has to be rectified, they have the time to do it. However, these voting machines are also designed to ensure voter success. Suppose you improperly filled out the ballot, double-voted, or voted for two candidates for the same office. “The system will notify you before you leave the polling area so you may correct the error,” explains Pate.
It is also verified with a receipt. Although similar, the testing procedure in Douglas County differs slightly.
“The only significant difference is that they have a central vote, which means that they count all the votes at one central site as opposed to having a system like this in each location,” explains Pate.
Voters in Iowa should be aware that the regulations have changed slightly this year. A measure passed by Governor Reynolds in 2021 reduced the number of days for early voting from 29 to 20. It also stipulates that the majority of mail-in ballots must be received by the end of polls on election day.
“If you’re going to work absentee, you’ll need time to do the work. Pate states that the mail system does not offer overnight service.
Testing all of these equipment will take around one week. Priority number one for election auditors is transparency with voters.
“It scans the ballots like a loaf of bread at the supermarket; it’s a UPC symbol,” Houser explains.
“They do not have an internet connection. The fact that we have an audit method to compare the results of the paper ballot and the tabulator are all safety measures, according to Pate.
If you have any questions regarding voting in the upcoming election, you should contact your local auditor’s office.
Voters in Iowa should visit voterready.iowa.gov.