Davison Co. auditor tries to avoid repeat errorsOffice busy testing vote-counting machines following June 5 miscount.
By: Ross Dolan, The Daily Republic
Davison County Auditor Susan Kiepke said her office is as prepared as it can be for Tuesday’s election.
“We’ve just been testing and re-testing, and we’re hoping the ballots will go through like they’re supposed to,” Kiepke said.
She’s doing everything in her power, she said, to avoid a repeat of the miscount that happened during the June 5 primary election. Errors in the count were discovered the day after the election, and a subsequent investigation by the Secretary of State’s Office showed that, due to operator error, the scanner counted more than 400 ballots twice. The problem inflated vote totals but did not affect the outcome of any races.
“There was a ‘zero totals’ report that should have been run that night that I didn’t know about,” Kiepke said. “The display showed the total from the previous ballots was cleared, but it wasn’t.”
Zero totals reports will be run Tuesday to make sure there isn’t a repeat of the problem, she said.
“We’ve done lots of test runs, using multiple ballots and test packs,” Kiepke said. “We’ve run ballots through the scanner upside down, folded — any way we could think of to make the machine work and to not work — and all test runs have come out OK.”
Kiepke said she has also requested the presence of an Election Systems and Software technician for Election Night. ES&S is the Omaha-based manufacturer of the voting machine used by the county.
She has hired an additional absentee ballot counting board to handle the ever-increasing number of absentee ballots.
As of Wednesday, 1,784 absentee ballots had been requested, and all but 126 ballots had been returned. Voters may vote using absentee ballots until 3 p.m. on Election Day, Kiepke said.
“All I can to do is to move forward and try to make this election as close to perfect as possible,” she said, “but I don’t think it’s possible to foresee every potential error. Things happen.”