Driving County Roads

An on line journal sharing my views. The content reflects my background as a rural person employed in agriculture and as a retired elected official of local government.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

ELECTION INTEGRITY

I was a member of the canvassing board for Nicollet County. We met a week ago to certify election results. The process is VERY prescriptive and our group (two from the Auditor/Treasurer's office, one representing Court Administration, one representing cities, and two county commissioners) were thorough in our judgments and completely satisfied that there were no fraudulent attempts to manipulate votes.

There have been questions concerning the accuracy of the machines that are used at each precinct. These machines read each ballot that is placed in them and then keep a tabulation of the ballots. The question posed is, "have the machines been tampered with so the count is weighted one way or another?" This scenario is highly unlikely. The machines are tested before the election. This is an open, transparent process with public invited to watch and question. Machines are kept under lock and key in county facilities. On election day when machines are at the precincts, they are again tested. Part of the process is to run a test tape before voting begins. The tape is checked to make sure all offices and questions that apply to that precinct are listed on the tape. Each voting possibility must register zero. This "zero test tape" is then turned in at the end of the day. The machines start out at zero and record only the votes from the ballots placed in the machine that day.

Do the machines read accurately? Part of the canvassing process is an audit of two randomly chosen precincts in the county. In 2010, the hand counted precincts chosen were North Mankato 5-A and Granby township. After hand counting all of the ballots for all of the positions and questions in these two precincts, NO ERROR was found. The numbers corresponded perfectly with the numbers shown on the tapes run at the end of voting on November 2. Observers of this process were representing: Democrats, Republicans, and Minnesota Citizens for Election Integrity. end

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