By writing this blog and detailing the inner workings of the San Mateo County Elections Office, we are hoping to constantly increase the level of openness and transparency of our processes. However, while transparency is a goal, accuracy is a requirement.
This is why we conduct Logic and Accuracy testing of the voting process. Beginning Sept. 16, and scheduled to last approximately two business weeks, L&A testing of the eSlate voting machines and BallotNow paper ballot tabulation machines, will be conducted to verify that everything operates properly both as individual units and as a combined system.
As we’ve explained in previous posts, L&A testing is split into two basic portions. The first portion of L&A tests the accuracy of the eSlate voting system that is used by voters at the two early voting centers (one at 40 Tower Road, San Mateo and the other at 555 County Center, 1st Floor, Redwood City) and at the polls on Election Day.
After the first portion of testing is complete, L&A then focuses on the BallotNow machines – machines that are used to tabulate paper ballots. This part of the L&A process, scheduled to begin next week, consists of marking “test” ballots so that every candidate and contest is voted for at least once in various combinations on the test ballots during this process. A matrix is created to identify all the different combinations of voting to help us to reflect any voting situation that may occur when voters make their choices on Election Day.
The L&A testing process for the November 4 Presidential General Election will require more than 15 staff exclusively dedicated to the testing process.
Chief Elections Officer Warren Slocum stated, “Election processes must be open and transparent in order to instill public confidence. We encourage the participation of observers in the L&A process and we dedicate staff to answer questions that observers may have as they watch the process. We also publish an ‘Election Observer’s Guide’ to educate observers as to the steps involved in various election processes and that publication is also posted on our website, www.shapethefuture.org. The more transparency we can give our processes, the more confidence we hope that people will have in their democracy.”
Want to learn more about the L&A testing process? Give the Elections Office a call at (650) 312-5222. You are also welcome to come and watch; any member of the public is welcome to observe.