February 18, 2020

Pima County election equipment gets OK from state

The state is testing ballot-counting machines and software in every county ahead of the presidential preference election.

elections test Janine Petty, deputy state elections director, performs logic and accuracy tests on Pima County's vote tabulation machines on Feb. 18, ahead of the 2020 presidential preference election.
Christopher Conover/AZPM

Officials from the Arizona Secretary of State's office gave Pima County the green light to conduct the March presidential preference election.

The state officials were in Pima County Tuesday to test ballot-counting machines and software ahead of the March 17 election.

The tests are performed in every county before every statewide election.

"We are checking the machines, we are making sure that they are accurate —that the calibrations are good and, obviously, that the totals that we brought with us today, the predetermined results, match how we vote today," said Janine Petty, deputy state elections director.

All of Pima County’s machines passed. If one does fail, there are backups.

"We're probably going to use four of our high-speed counters [for the March election] but we are going to test six of them today so that if one of those four goes down we will be able to put in one of the two we have remaining," said Brad Nelson, Director of Pima County elections.

The test by the state is the second accuracy test. Before the state arrives, every machine is tested by county officials. They are also audited during the election.

"We need to make sure that the tabulation equipment works the way it is supposed to work, that the winners that are declared are truly the winners of that particular election," Nelson explained.

The testing before each election is open to the public and is also streamed online.

Feb. 18 is the last day register for the March 17 presidential preference election. Only Democrats are allowed to vote in that election.

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