Ballot Counters Tested, Ready

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Meridian city clerk Ed Skipper supervises municipal elections. Voters will go to the polls Tuesday, May 3 for primary races.

He explained the test procedure for voting machines, or ballot counters, and the reasons for it.

"You just want to make sure that they've been programmed properly and that they count the ballots accurately," Skipper said.

The testing is required by state law. Skipper said the machines are checked and double checked.

Each machine holds an electronic pack that actually tabulates the votes. The test ballots are run through the machines to be certain the tabulator, the electronic memory within each one, is correct and accurate. This testing is the last step before the machines are taken to the polling places.

"Once they're tested, if it reads accurately, then they will be placed in the machines and sealed and then the machine will be transported to the voting precinct for the May 3 primary," said Skipper.

Skipper pointed out the actual testing involves pre-marked ballots that reflect different possibilities, such as voting for the individual candidates, casting write-in votes, over votes and others.

"The real ballots are packaged together. There's like a stub with a number on it, so these are test ballots, so they're not part of the package that we get for the regular ballots," said the clerk.

With the machines tested and ready, the only remaining question is how many voters will turn out to use them.