Protocol mistake forces second test of ballot counting equipment

Protocol mistake forces second test of ballot counting equipment

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The Pima County Elections Office had to run two separate tests on its new ballot counting equipment and software Wednesday after an elections worker made a mistake involving test ballots.

The office had tested the system in full view of the required witnesses from the Democratic and Republican parties and others on Tuesday.

Pima County Elections Director Bran Nelson said they all signed off on the equipment, stating it was accurate.

However, Nelson said, after the witnesses left, an elections worker opened one of the devices to "zero out" the system and remove the test ballot information to make room for real ballots.

Nelson said opening the device without required witnesses was a breach of protocol, but not illegal.

He said he then called the witnesses to return for a second test of the system on Wednesday.

Nelson said the system was again found to be accurate in the second test.

Observers from the Democratic Party and the Republican Party said they were satisfied with the test and how the issue was handled.

Nelson said the ballot counting system is new to Pima County this election.

He said staff has been re-trained on protocols and rules.

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