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Voting Equipment Tested for the Coastside Fire Protection District Special Recall Election

Members of the public are encouraged to drop by the County Elections Division to observe the testing of the eSlate voting system equipment for the Recall Election.

In preparation for the Coastside Fire Protection District Special Recall Election on April 9, 2013, the county’s Elections Division began logic and accuracy (L & A) testing of the eSlate voting system equipment on Monday, March 4, at the Elections Division at 40 Tower Road in San Mateo. 

According to Mark Church, Chief Elections Officer & Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder for San Mateo County, the testing will take approximately five days and members of the public are encouraged to drop by the Elections Division to observe the testing process.

Prior to every election, the L & A testing process is performed to ensure that the voting system’s vote counting software works properly, guaranteeing that the vote count will be accurate. 

“L & A testing is absolutely fundamental in the preparation of an election,” explained Church. "The testing provides an added level of confidence in the election results,” he added.

The first phase of the L & A testing process targets the electronic votes cast on the eSlate voting machines. The elections staff uses “test” versions of the English, Spanish and Chinese ballots on the voting machines. During this first phase, the Elections Office ensures that all potential voter choices are tested for accuracy. Conversely, contests not voted upon, voted both yes and no, or choosing either yes or no on the question of recall are also tested. This phase is passed only when there is a perfect match between the test votes cast counts and the predetermined test vote counts.

The second phase of L & A testing will target paper ballot voting. This test is equally rigorous, using the test matrices to mark paper ballots. The paper ballots used for testing are clearly identified as “test” ballots. The votes marked on the paper ballots are recorded by running the ballots through a digital scanner-tabulator that operates with the voting system’s Ballot Now vote counting software. Ballot Now accepts voting marks within the predetermined space on the ballot and records them. 

The L & A test is passed only when there is a perfect match between the test votes cast counts and the predetermined test vote counts. This phase of testing begins after the first phase is completed.

In a separate testing process, every voting machine will be subjected to functional testing in which the elections staff confirms that the machine is loaded with the correct system software and firmware, as certified by the Secretary of State. As well, this testing process will confirm that every dial, button, connector, and other hardware component of the voting machines are operating properly.

After successfully passing all testing processes, 66 eSlate voting machines will be deployed for this election, at approximately 13 polling places on Election Day, and at the voting center. The Voting Center for this election will be located at 40 Tower Road in San Mateo. This site will allow for voting during the 29 days prior to Election Day.

For more information about the April 9, 2013 Coastside Fire Protection District Special Recall Election, go online at www.shapethefuture.org or call 650-312-5222.

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