Officials Say Aging Voting Machines Still Meet The Task
Early voters started heading to the polls this weekend, and voters are using the same voting machines that we had back in 2004. How those machines are holding up twelve years later…
It has been 12 years since Nevada started using voting machines for elections. Since 2004, the machines have been used in every primary and general election, every two years.
Early voting is underway, marking the fourth presidential election for the machines. Three Nevada gubernatorial races have also been decided by using the machines. While come voters have voiced concerns about the age of the machines, the Washoe County Registrar says they still have some years left.
"They are only used twice, every other year. So, there's not really a lot of wear and tear on these machines." Luanne Cutler, Washoe County Registrar said.
Julie Hunter voted early, Monday. She says it was harder to decide how to vote than it was to use the machine.
"I reviewed my ballot a few times before I cast my vote," Hunter said. "I think it's probably time to renew some of the machines but I didn't find any troubles with the one I used."
Linda Hultin said she has never had any problems voting, since the machines were implemented.
"I think they work well," Hultin said. "I've never had a problem. I just went to change a vote and I had no trouble fixing what I made a mistake on. So, it worked fine."
The voting machines go through a series of evaluations before they are put to use, including a maintenance checkup by the vendor to make sure they functional. After that, the county begins its own process.
"We actually load the ballot information onto the machines, put them through a complete and rigorous testing process, and then seal them numerous times for security," Cutler said.
Cutler says the machines may be getting older, but she does not question their reliability. Minor issues may arise, but Cutler says they are easily fixed and will not compromise ballots.
"Like any piece of mechanics, there are occasions when something will happen," Cutler said. "Maybe the paper will get wadded up in the printer, little things like that but they're easily repairable."
Cutler says if anyone has a problem with a machine, it is best to stop and ask a poll worker for help.
"We would cancel that ballot and put you on a new machine, but whatever you do, if you feel something is not right, do not cast your ballot because once that's done, we can't do anything to go backwards," Cutler said.
Voting machines are not connected to the internet or to other machines, so they cannot be hacked. The county also uses a stand-alone server that counts the ballots, so it cannot be tampered with from the outside, either.