DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The Montgomery County Board of Elections invited the public to view the testing of voting machines Wednesday morning.
Deputy director of the Board, Sarah Greathouse, said in the state of Ohio, public testing of the machines has been required for at least a decade. However, following fraud accusations around last year’s presidential election, she said it was especially important for voters to see exactly how the testing process works. That involves scanning pre-made ballots to ensure results from the machines match up accurately with the expected outcome.
“So what we’re doing first is we’re testing the central scan system to make sure that everything that we expect to happen, happens,” said Greathouse. “We start with a test deck because it’s an odd year election. We have about 4,000 ballots…that we have to scan through the system. It tests every contest, every candidate [and] every ballot position because we rotate candidates on the ballot.”
The central count system is located at the Board of Elections and is used to tabulate mail-in and absentee ballots. Following testing for the central scanners, the precinct scanners were checked.
“We will run the same test ballots through the precinct count scanners — we call them the DS-200s or the Submit scanners,” Greathouse said. “That’s where every voter puts their ballot on Election Day.”
While the testing process is long and rigorous, staff at the BOE said hiccups still happen. However, trained staff and poll workers are equipped to handle those situations without interfering with election results.
“In any process where you have humans you have human error. But what we have is we have checks and balances,” said Greathouse. “In Ohio, we’re a bipartisan team, we always have two people in every room if there are live ballots. In this room for instance, we do have ballots that have been returned. This room will always be occupied by at least one Democrat and one Republican, because we are here to make sure that everything happens. But frankly, when it’s election time, it’s not even about the politics, it’s about the voter. While that may be just one ballot of 230,000 for us, that is 100 percent of a person’s vote, and we take that very seriously,” she said.
Jeff Rezabeck, director of the Board of Elections, said if Montgomery County residents want to take a hands-on approach to democracy, they can sign up to help voters by working at polling locations on Election Day.
“We have over 180 precincts…Even though we have multiple precincts in a polling location, you have to have a Republican and Democrat — two each— at each one of those [precincts]. So that’s why it adds up to that 1,440 amount. You need 720 Republicans, 720 Democrats,” he said.
Most importantly, Rezabeck said, even in an odd-year election, he hopes to see a large number of residents turn out to cast their ballots.
“It is affecting your pocketbook directly, and affects your local races and your local politicians — the ones that you’re close to, the ones that you’re seeing in your grocery stores every day, the ones that you’re seeing at your kid’s school. Those are the people that are making the decisions about your life.”
To sign up to become a poll worker, click here.
To learn more about Montgomery County candidates, click here.