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Clerk confident voting machine problems fixed

by Jeff Haldiman | July 22, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.
Jackie Beal, right, and Wilma Smith feed ballots through the machines to make sure each one tested accurately. Next to Beal is Michele Derlerth of the clerk's office.

Heading into the Aug. 2 primary, Cole County Clerk Steve Korsmeyer said he was confident that recent problems caught in voting machines had been resolved and would not affect the upcoming election.

On Thursday, the regular pre-election tests of the voting machines took place in the Cole County Commission chambers with representatives of the local Republican and Democratic parties observing, as is required by law.

Korsmeyer said they ran 300 ballots through the machines.

"We had a lot of ballots to do because there are so many candidates running in this election," Korsmeyer said. "Each candidate has to have at least one vote to show they can be properly picked up by the machines."

Korsmeyer said Unisyn, the maker of the county's voting machines, came in a couple of weeks ago with an update to all the software in the 29 voting machines. This was after they did an audit of the one problem machine which showed "close ballot" was entered twice when closing the election at the end of the day on the April 5 municipal election.

The problem was with software used at Our Savior's Lutheran Church on Southwest Boulevard where residents of Ward 4, Precinct 1, cast their ballots.

After they got the machine back to the clerk's office to count the votes, staff found the scanner had doubled the ballot count and the votes for each race. To address the problem, election staff used the absentee voting machine in the clerk's office to scan the ballots for Ward 4, Precinct 1, and that machine got the count correct.

Korsmeyer said they also believe they've addressed the programming error found earlier this month with their poll pads. Poll pads are used in place of paper poll books to check in voters, see whether they have already received or voted a mail ballot and direct them to their correct polling place if they are in the wrong location.

Staff found some voters who voted absentee in the Jefferson Township Committee Woman race had received incorrect ballots. The ballot assignment was wrong when the poll pads were programmed by the county's supplier, KNOWiNK.

As of Thursday, 162 absentee ballots had been cast in the clerk's office.

The Cole County Clerk's Office will be open from 8 a.m.-noon Saturday, July 30, for those wishing to vote absentee in the Aug. 2 primary election.

The deadline to cast an absentee ballot in the office is 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 1.

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