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Duval County voting equipment passes public test

Voters arrive to drop off mail-in ballots
Voters arrive to drop off mail-in ballots

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There are a lot of eyes watching the presidential election to make sure that all eligible votes are counted. A normal step in election voting scrutiny took place Friday in Duval County as the Supervisor of Elections Office held a public test of voting equipment to make sure the machines are processing and counting votes correctly.

The logic and accuracy test is required by the state before any election.

In this random test of voting equipment, the ballots are fed into tabulating machines. These are the machines that voters will feed ballots into at precedents all around Jacksonville.

As part of the test, some ballots have been marked incorrectly, such as votes for one than one person in a race. Other ballots are blank. The idea is to see if the machines catch the mistakes.

The test was open to the public and there were observers watching and questioning the process. Some observers were members of a local political group, Indivisible Mandarin

“I am very concerned about the election integrity,” said Gloria Einstein, a Democrat and a member of Indivisible Mandarin.

“I think everyone is trying to do their best, but I think there’s still an issue of trust," Gitchel said.

City Councilwoman Joyce Morgan and other members of Duval County’s Election Canvassing Board were also observing the test. The canvassing board is called on to make decisions regarding the election process and questionable ballots.

Morgan was the only African-American observing the test, which she raised as a concern.

“Because everything that I do, I’m always looking for equity and I’m always looking for fairness," Morgan said. “That’s why I really wanted to do this -- because I wanted to make sure that City Council was represented totally, not just by the majority.”

As for the test itself, Election Supervisor Mike Hogan said there were no problems and the machines are working correctly.

While only a few of the machines were tested Friday, Hogan said he knows they all work correctly.

"All of the machines have already been tested by my staff, all 299. The statutes require that we do a random selection, and we do more than we have to,” Hogan said of Friday’s test.

The real test of the machines will be election day when there’s an expected record turnout.

About the Author:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.