Jackson Co. elections office tests ballot machines ahead of election

MEDFORD, Ore. – As we get closer to election day, Jackson County has begun testing it’s voting tabulation machines.

Today, they gave us an inside look on what goes on during this important test.

Election day is fast approaching and the Jackson County Elections Office is preparing for the big day.

Oregon law requires that equipment used to count ballots must be tested for accuracy at least one week before the election.

The “logic and accuracy test,” as it’s called, also allows one Republican and one Democrat to view the tally.

“We take every ballot style that we have during this election and we make sure where you’re marking, those little bubbles, that the vote tally system is reading those accurately and correctly,” Jackson County clerk Chris Walker said. “Based on the logic programmed into that for the election.”

Walker said another test will run Thursday the same day the official ballot tally begins.

And while results start coming out on election night, election results aren’t certified in Oregon until 27 days after November 8.

As of Monday night, Jackson County has received 21% of all ballots.

Those ballots go through a verification process before being put through the tally machine.

“Behind us, you can see that these ballots have gone through sorting, signature verification and now they are prepared for those two-person bi-partisan election boards to come in, remove those ballot materials in a very secure, safe matter,” Walker said.

Walker said the percentage of ballots received this year is slightly down compared to 2018’s midterm election at this time.

However, the 2020 presidential election saw a 40% turnout a week away from election day.

According to Walker, although its difficult to compare a midterm to a presidential election, she said this year people have been urged to submit their votes closer to election day.

But, she encourages people to vote early, as it takes time to verify each ballot carefully.

“I want to remind voters, that if you wait until the last couple of days to vote, it’s going to take us more time, because whether you vote the first day you get your ballot or election day to get your ballot, they still have to go through all the checks and balances,” Walker said.

Voters have until 8 p.m. on Tuesday, November 8t to drop their ballots off at official ballot boxes.

New this year for those voting by mail, you have until election day to send in your ballot as long as it is postmarked by November 8.

NBC5 News reporter Zachary Larsen grew up in Surprise, Arizona. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. At ASU, Zack interned at Arizona Sports 98.7FM and Softball America. During his Junior year, Zack joined the ASU Sports Bureau. He covered the Fiesta Bowl, the Phoenix Open and major basketball tournaments. Zack enjoys working out, creative writing, music, and rooting for his ASU Sun Devils.
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