Observed Election Equipment Test Today

Today, the Winnebago County Republican Party requested I be their official observer at a legally required test of election tabulating machines that were used in the April 9th general election.  

The county clerk's office selected 6 precincts out of the county to be "retabulated" as a test of the equipment.  This test used the same tabulator was was used the night of the election to re-tabulart the test precincts and compare the results.

On the surface things went very smoothly and all the results were confirmed to be accurate.  As an observer I was only able to witness the actions of the workers and hear their report.  I was not able to personally inspect and compare the result tapes to the election night tapes.  I have absolutely no reason to think there was any problem.  Just pointing out that I didn't actually see the tapes.

I am concerned, however, that the re-tabulation test was done on the same machine that counted the original results.  My understanding was that this is a requirement, but I think it is a bad idea.  I think a fresh machine that hasn't been in the field should be used for the test.  In my way of thinking, if a machine made a mistake on election night, then the same machine with the same deck of ballots would make the same mistake during the re-tabularion test.  After all the tabulator is a computer.  The same hardware with the same software with the same input should produce the same results every time.  Even if those results are wrong.

Well, that's my thoughts on the election tabulation test.  Your comments are welcome below.

 

Comments

A Facebook user commented...

"Just my thoughts... shouldn't this be done BEFORE the election? Also shouldn't the test be done with a known 'control' sample and not the potential 'unknown sample' that was tested the first time. So the only thing that was confirmed is the either the tabulator got it right or it got it wrong. The test did NOT validate accuracy IMHO."

Actually, there is a test done before the election. A sample of machines that will be used are selected to tabulate a "control deck." The tabulation of the control deck is compared to what the control deck is known to contain.

That, however, doesn't change my opinion on the conduct of the post-election test procedure.

 

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