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Vigo County, Ind., Tests Voting Machines Ahead of Midterms

While the voting machines themselves passed the examination by officials and staff, concerns were raised about how candidate information was displayed on the screen and whether it would favor one candidate over another.

(TNS) — While no members of the public attended, the Vigo County Election Board and county clerk's office on Monday conducted a public test of voting machines that will be used in the Nov. 8 general election.

The equipment passed, although election board President John Kesler, a Democrat appointee, identified one concern with the way some of the races were displayed on voting screens for his precinct.

He identified two countywide races where the screen displayed one of the candidates in a contested race, the Republican candidate, but the voter would have to scroll to the next screen to see the Democratic candidate in that race.

Kesler had concerns that presentation could possibly create an advantage for the Republican candidate.

Ryan Shillito, project manager for RBM Voting, pointed out the ballot could not be printed out until a voter reviewed their voting choices.

The consensus was that poll workers should remind voters to continue scrolling where it says "more" to see if there is more than one candidate for a particular office.

Kesler said that in the future, changes might have to be made to ensure both candidates appear on the same screen.

RBM Voting is an election firm that does project management services and voting equipment servicing. Vigo County uses the Unisyn OpenElect optical scan system for election tabulation and reporting.

Other members of the election board who attended were Brian Garcia and Jerry Arnold, both Republican members of the board.

Early voting starts Oct. 12, when it will be offered at the Vigo County Annex (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and Haute City Center (Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) These locations are also open Saturday Oct. 29 and Nov. 5, and Election Day Nov. 8.

Kesler said he's been involved in such testing for five years.

"So far in my five years, they've always worked (with correct results), so we should be good to go on Election Day," he said.

The public can "absolutely" be assured the process is secure, Kesler said.

The public test is required by law and every county must conduct one, said LeAnna Moore, chief deputy clerk. It must be publicized so anyone can come.

"It's a random pick of machines that will be used at vote centers, and they will test different ballots ... to make sure everything is testing correctly, that machines are all in good working order and that numbers come out correct," Moore said. There are 170 total voting machines, and a certain percentage is tested.

All machines have already been tested to ensure they work properly, Shillito said. Monday's test was for the benefit of the public.

"It's transparency," Shillito said. "It's important that people have the opportunity to come and test the machines and ask questions."

With accusations of voter fraud in the 2000 federal presidential election, Shillito emphasized the rigorous measures taken to ensure election security.

"It's a very secure system," he said, one that is Election Assistance Commission (EAC) certified. It has both federal and state certification.

An EAC certified voting system has been tested by a federally accredited test laboratory and has successfully met the requirements of federal voting system standards and/or guidelines, according to its website.The EAC also supports state and local election officials in their efforts to ensure accurate and secure elections.

More information about voting sites and times can be found at

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