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Idaho County’s Election Transparency Tool Draws Attention

The tool, which is called the Ballot Verifier, will give its users free and direct access to every ballot cast in Ada County, Idaho, since 2022, said the Ada County Clerk’s Office in April.

A floating cyan checkmark outlined in cyan appears on the right side of a blue image with many boxes and bits of code floating behind in different shades of blue.
(TNS) — Just weeks after its launch, Ada County’s new online elections transparency tool has drawn national attention, with a prominent technology publication saying that it will give election deniers “exactly what they’ve been asking for.”

The tool, Ballot Verifier, will give users free and direct access to every ballot cast in Ada County since 2022, the Ada County Clerk’s Office said in April.

It replaces onerous — and sometimes expensive — public records requests, according to a county news release. The tool allows voters to verify that ballots are being tabulated correctly by allowing them to view scanned images of each ballot cast.

(The images do not contain voters’ personal information, the Idaho Capital Sun reported.)

Wired, a national tech and politics magazine, on Tuesday celebrated the tool as the height of election transparency.

Adam Friedman, the founder of the company that worked with Ada County to develop the tool, told Wired that a lack of transparency is a key driver for mistrust of electoral processes.

“A lot of the conspiracy theories and divisiveness and toxic rhetoric and mistrust around elections in America goes hand-in-hand with people not being able to see enough and people perceiving voting as being a black-box experience,” he said. “Ballot Verifier is really a way to turn a black box into a glass box.”

The tool will face its first big test in the May 21 primary election. County Clerk Trent Tripple said in April that he expects it will take four to six weeks for data from the election to be uploaded and accessible in Ballot Verifier, the Capital Sun reported.

© 2024 The Idaho Statesman. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.