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Carbon election board irons out problems, sets training

Published March 20. 2013 05:02PM

Carbon County officials are preparing for the upcoming primary election.

During the monthly meeting of the county election board last week, Lisa Dart, director of the Office of Elections, reported to the board that two issues regarding a voting machine; as well as training for poll workers, have been discussed and mitigated.

In regards to the voting machine that experienced problems during the presidential election, Dart said that Kenneth Leffler, former director of the Office of Elections, was brought in to test the machine for any problems. Leffler has been testing all machines for the elections.

"We tried to vote every way we could think of," Dart told the board, noting that they could not find any problems with voting itself.

She added that the only glitch they could find was if someone voted straight party and then chose a different candidate before casting their vote. In these cases, the votes still showed straight party.

"We shouldn't have any other issues with the upcoming election," Dart added.

Commissioner Wayne Nothstein, chairman, said that besides the one glitch Leffler and Dart found, the only other issue they noticed was a calibration issue so when someone hit the next button, it may have to be hit a second time before it responds.

Nothstein confirmed that Leffler tested the machine in question using every scenario that could be thought of.

He urged voters to take their time in the upcoming election when casting their votes and make sure the candidate they are voting for is highlighted in the review portion of the vote before finalizing the vote.

Commissioners Thomas J. Gerhard and William O'Gurek also weighed in on the subject.

Gerhard said the safest thing to do when voting is to not vote straight party, but rather go through and choose each candidate separately, then review the choices carefully before casting the ballot.

He also thanked Leffler and Dart for their time while working on this problem.

O'Gurek said that it seems that the biggest problem may be the confusion when choosing the method to use to vote, such as straight party. He echoed his colleagues, saying to make sure the X is next to the appropriate person when voting.

"The best advice," O'Gurek said, "is to be patient with it and look at the names that you had intended to vote for and make sure they are recorded properly."

He noted that the board, Leffler and Dart went through the machines about 100 times and couldn't replicate the problem people were having with the machine during the presidential election.

In regards to the training of poll workers, Dart reported that there will be three training sessions scheduled for judges of elections; as well as majority and minority inspectors, to go over the procedures at polling places during elections. Dates will be announced soon.

"We're going to focus on what they need to do in the polling place and anything that deals with the day," she said.

Nothstein said that they are limiting the sessions to the judges and inspectors because of the number or precincts Carbon County has.

The election board then set the pay for those who attend the training sessions. It will be $20 per person.

O'Gurek noted that this will cost the county $3,000, but the board feels it is worth the expense.

"The three of us sat here and said it's important to have the judges of elections and inspectors know their responsibilities," he said, adding "We want to eliminate any confusions and problems. Nobody wants these elections to run as smooth as possible and without chaos as we do. Hopefully we will have more smoothly run precincts on election day."

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