County tests voting machines

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 9, 2014


With the primary runoff election now less than a week away, county officials are ready to distribute voting machines after gathering yesterday to check their functionality.

County Maintenance Supervisor Kevin Kennedy said the 32 voting machines are tested before each election to ensure they are working correctly.

“We have 32 all together, but two machines are spares,” Kennedy said. “We have 26 precincts, but we have three (machines) in Andalusia and two in Opp.”

Also present for Tuesday’s test run was Covington County Probate Judge Ben Bowden, Circuit Clerk Amy Jones and Chief Deputy David Anderson, all of whom certified the results of the test run.

Kennedy said the testing is open to the public, which he said he believes would be encouraged by the machines’ reliability.

“We run some sample ballots to certify that each machine counts ballots correctly,” Kennedy said. “They catch over-voted ballots and the machine will not take them. They also catch empty ballots and won’t take those.”

In addition to catching simple mistakes, both Kennedy and Bowden said the machines also make voter tampering nearly impossible.

“No system built by humans is 100 percent, but it would take someone getting to Kevin, to all four of us and to someone at the polling places (to get it past the machines),” Bowden said.

“And there is no issue of hacking,” Kennedy added. “A lot of people worry about that, but there is not any network that they are hooked up to. I can’t see them every being compromised.”

The primary runoff election will be held countywide Tues., July 15, with polling places open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.