Madison opens voting equipment test to public

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- The City of Madison is prepping for the upcoming election by testing its ballot counting machines.

The City of Madison tested its voting equipment on Saturday.

The Clerk’s Office ran the public event on Saturday. City staff have to check more than 90 tabulators before sending them to every polling station.

“Transparency is key in elections, and we want to make sure the public is aware of the process,” Nikki Perez, a municipal clerk, said.

Clerks first check that the system count is at zero, which according to Perez, means “there are no votes on this machine before it starts testing.”

Then, clerks run “test decks” through to see how tabulators scan and process the ballots. Decks are made up of sample ballots for every candidate and write-in. There are “overvotes” and blank ballots, as well.

Once machines read ballots as they should, clerks give them tamper-evident seals. On election morning, chief inspectors at poling places have to check that the seals’ serial numbers align with what is recorded.

Larry Winkler, soon to serve as a chief inspector, observed the public test.

“I’m here because I have some responsibility on Election Day to know what’s going on and how things are operating,” Winkler said.

He added that he is satisfied by this user-level of testing. ‘These machines are very good,” he said. “These are much more stable, which makes the voting process much easier.”

Any unfinished tests will be completed Monday, February 10, at 2713 E Washington Ave. Madison, WI.