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Ada County completes successful test of ballot tabulation equipment ahead of Nov. 8 election

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Ada County elections technical specialist Danny Brown scans test ballots during a test of elections equipment Nov. 3 at the Ada County Election’s Office. (Clark Corbin/Idaho Capital Sun)

Ada County elections officials completed a successful test of their ballot tabulation equipment during a public test and demonstration Thursday afternoon in Boise.

Thursday’s logic and accuracy test was one of the final big tests of the elections equipment leading up to Tuesday’s general election in Idaho. During the test, elections officials scanned and counted 432 test ballots using the same equipment and software that will be used to count the votes after polls close Tuesday. The test was one of several tests conducted, and altogether, Ada County elections officials have tested and counted 3,000 ballots, they said.

Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane, elections director Saul Seyler, elections technical specialist Danny Brown and office administrator Guillermo Velasco demonstrated to the public and news reporters how ballots are scanned and tabulated and how elections reports are generated. Elections officials told the public the rooms where they count and store the ballots are continuously monitored by cameras, and the streams are broadcast online for the public to watch live at any time. Elections officials also said none of the equipment used to tabulate the ballots is connected to the internet or an outside server.

In front of the public, Seyler, Brown and Velasco deliberately scanned test ballots where the ballots had been left blank, as well as ballots where more than one candidate was chosen in races where voters are only allowed to vote for one candidate. In each case, the scanner flagged the ballot and flagged the appropriate issue.

At the end of the roughly 45-minute demonstration, Brown and Seyler ran a report for all 432 test ballots that confirmed the counts of each of the test ballots.

“This tells us we have had a successful (logic and accuracy) test today,” Seyler said. “This is what we expected.”

During the demonstration, elections officials used clearly marked test ballots that were a different color than the ballots voters will receive on Election Day and were made specifically for testing the elections systems.

Polls will be open for in person voting across Idaho from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. local time on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Voters may visit the Idaho Secretary of State’s website www.voteidaho.gov to find out if they are registered to vote, double check the location of their polling place and find out which legislative and congressional districts they live in. Due to the 2021 redistricting process, many Idahoans will have a new polling place or live in a new legislative or congressional district for the first time in 10 years, even though they did not move.

Eligible voters who are not yet registered to vote may register at their polling place before they cast their ballot Tuesday. To register at the polls on Election Day, voters must prove their identity and residency. According to Idaho law, acceptable forms of identification for proving identity and residency include:

  • An Idaho issued driver’s license or state identification card.
  • Any document that contains a valid address in the precinct together with a photo identification card.
  • A current, valid student photo ID card from an Idaho college or Idaho postsecondary institution, accompanied with a current student fee statement that lists a valid address in the precinct.
The Idaho Capital Sun is a nonprofit news organization delivering accountability reporting on state government, politics and policy in the Gem state. As longtime Idahoans ourselves, we understand the challenges and opportunities facing Idaho. We provide in-depth reporting on legislative and state policy, health care, tax policy, the environment, Idaho’s explosive population growth and more. Our mission is relentless investigative journalism that sheds light on how decisions in Boise and beyond are made and how they affect everyday Idahoans. We aim to tell untold stories and provide data, context and analysis on the issues that matter most throughout the state. The Capital Sun is part of States Newsroom, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit supported by grants and a coalition of donors and readers. We retain full editorial independence.