Voting Machines Pass Test


In the runup to the Nov. 2 election – and every municipal election – the town’s Dominion voting machines have to be set up and then tested to verify their proper operation. And that testing has to be open to the public. According to Acting Town Clerk Nancy  Danello, in the past, the public has rarely bothered to come. But this year was different. On Wednesday afternoon, the public came, though still in relatively small numbers. The "crowds"  consisted of under a dozen adult voters and three home-schooled children getting a lesson in civics.

The testing was under the operational control of Danello. With Franklin Police present, the machines were put through their paces by the town’s five appointed election wardens, Mary Beth D’Errico, Joanne Shanahan, Joanne Mercer, Barbara Kelly, and Jill Verrochi and other staff and volunteers. A stack of 50 sample ballots, identical with those that will be used on Nov. 2 and each marked as a voter might do, were fed into each of the machines in succession. Notations were made of how the machine handled improperly completed ballots (for example where a voter needed to choose one candidate but instead chose two) as well as the accuracy of the totals as counted by the machine and by the humans present.

Danello explained that in an actual election, a problematic ballot would have been rejected by the machine and the voter would have been given a chance to complete another ballot, while the problem ballot would be marked as “spoiled.”

A member of the public, Jackie Maciel of Chestnut Street, was asked to witness the recorded totals and reports. Maciel said she was also told that the machines recently were given a software update.

The whole testing process took about two hours and when it was completed, all the machines were secured in the town vault for storage until the election.

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