Redo needed for election equipment test

0
1166

Robin Spille, an election data tech and voter registration administrator with the Hancock County Election Office, waits for sample ballots to feed through a tabulation machine during a public test of election equipment on Thursday.

Mitchell Kirk | Daily Reporter

HANCOCK COUNTY – Officials plan to redo a test of election equipment after a vendor resolves an issue discovered during a recent practice run.

The Hancock County Election Board started conducting the legally required public test of election equipment on Thursday ahead of the upcoming general election. During part of the test, completed test ballots were run through one of the county’s vote-counting machines, resulting in a report that board members compared to one already prepared based on the test ballots.

Officials discovered an error concerning Sugar Creek Township Advisory Board candidates, a non-contested race consisting of Republicans Matt Holland, Mark Mattes and Marcia Parker. While the test ballots listed all three candidates, election board member John Apple noticed the report from the machine listed Parker, but Holland twice, and excluded Mattes.

Candidate names are on hardware inserted into the county’s vote-counting machines. The machines’ vendor, Election Systems & Software, determined the erred report resulted from the machine interpreting coding in that hardware incorrectly, and that it was counting Mattes’ votes correctly but listing Holland’s name in his place.

When the hardware was inserted into the county’s electronic report management technology, which is what is used to report final tabulations on election night, the results listed all three Sugar Creek Township Advisory Board candidates’ names correctly, however.

So while the issue ultimately wouldn’t affect election results, officials noted they still need to resolve the matter afflicting the machine with the erred report.

Results from the county’s other vote-counting machines, which are a different model than the one that produced the erred report, listed all three Sugar Creek Township Advisory Board candidates’ names correctly as well.

Speaking with the election board via phone, a representative of Election Systems & Software said the hardware with candidates’ names for all the machines would need to be redone in order to resolve the issue. That left county election officials concerned about conducting a successful public test in time before early voting starts on Oct. 12. With the issue arising late in the afternoon on a Thursday, it also left them concerned about following a state law requiring public meetings to be advertised in a newspaper 48 hours ahead of time, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

Indiana Election Division co-director Angela Nussmeyer advised the board via phone, however, that it could recess the meeting and reconvene at a later date without having to advertise.

The board voted to reconvene to redo the test at 10 a.m. Oct. 10. Election Systems & Software indicated it could resolve the issue with the hardware in time. The test will occur in the basement of the Hancock County Courthouse Annex, 111 American Legion Place, Greenfield.

The county election board is made up of two lawyers – Apple, a Republican; and Bob Bogigian, a Democrat; as well as Hancock County Clerk Lisa Lofgreen, a Republican.

“The public test worked just the way a public test is supposed to work in that we caught the error,” Bogigian said. “That’s the whole idea of it.”

Lofgreen agreed.

“This is the reason for a public test,” she said. “This is why we do it.”

Apple noted the erred report regards candidates among whom there is no competition.

“There’s only three candidates, and all three of them are going to get at least one vote, therefore they’re going to be elected regardless,” he said. “But we’ve got to get it right, especially in this day and age.”

2022 general election early vote centers

Hancock County Annex, 111 American Legion Place, Greenfield

11 a.m.-7 p.m. weekdays Oct. 12-Nov. 4

8 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays, Oct. 29 and Nov. 5

8 a.m.-noon Monday, Nov. 7

Hancock County Public Libraries

Greenfield – 900 W. McKenzie Road, Greenfield

Sugar Creek – 5731 W. U.S. 52, New Palestine

11 a.m.-7 p.m. weekdays Oct. 24-Nov. 4

8 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays, Oct. 29 and Nov. 5

Noon-3 p.m. Sundays, Oct. 30 and Nov. 6

Buck Creek Township Fire Department, 5809 W. Airport Blvd., Greenfield

8 a.m.-2 p.m. weekdays Oct. 24-Nov. 4

8 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays, Oct. 29 and Nov. 5

Brown’s Chapel, 994 N. 600E, Greenfield

8 a.m.-2 p.m. weekdays Oct. 24-Nov. 4

8 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays, Oct. 29 and Nov. 5

Mt. Vernon Administration Building, 1806 W. S.R. 234, Fortville

8 a.m.-2 p.m. weekdays Oct. 24-Nov. 4

8 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays, Oct. 29 and Nov. 5

2022 General Election Day vote centers

6 a.m.-6 p.m. Nov. 8

All of the above locations, plus:

Cross of Grace Church, 3519 S. 600W, Greenfield

Fortville Community Center, 400 W. Church St., Fortville

Nameless Creek Youth Camp, 2675 S. 600E, Greenfield

NineStar North, 2331 E. 600N, Greenfield

McCordsville Town Hall, 6280 W. 800N, McCordsville

Wilkinson Church of Christ, 7293 N. S.R. 109, Wilkinson