Eagle County testing all of its voting machines | VailDaily.com

Eagle County testing all of its voting machines

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado
Lauren Glendenning | lglendenning@vaildaily.comJoe Suther, front, and Kathy Heicher help test Eagle County's electronic voting machines Tuesday morning in Eagle. Suther and Heicher will be helping Eagle County Clerk and Recorder Teak Simonton test election procedures throughout the week.

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – With 66 electronic voting machines and a clerk and recorder who is a perfectionist, it’s obvious why Eagle County is testing its election processes every day this week to make sure Election Day runs smoothly.

Clerk and Recorder Teak Simonton is testing machines and other election methods, with help from some county employees as well as one representative each from both the Republican and Democratic parties, until the end of the day Friday.

Eagle County does more than what the state of Colorado requires, Simonton said, because she wants to feel confident there won’t be any problems once Election Day arrives. The state only requires about 20 percent of the machines to be tested, while Eagle County is testing all 66 of its machines.

“I feel so much more confident by Election Day knowing all the machines are functioning properly,” Simonton said. “We’ve created a test ballot to vote for every position in every precinct at every polling place – I want to eliminate as much potential for an issue to come up.”

Simonton and the other testers spent Tuesday morning test-voting, marking every single candidate on each ballot to make sure the machines were reading votes correctly.

There are several more tests Simonton and her crew will perform throughout the week, including hand count tests as well as tests on early voting machines.

With several ballot styles for the various precincts in Eagle County, the testing team has a lot of tedious work ahead.

Kathy Heicher, who is the testing representative for the Democratic Party, said she doesn’t see how anyone could question the county’s voting system after seeing what goes on during testing. She also learned that voting can be a hassle.

“We’re learning that a really smart voter would vote at home – it’s a long ballot,” Heicher said.

Joe Suther, the testing representative for the Republican Party, and Heicher were both asked to help test the voting process in Eagle County on behalf of their respective political parties.

“It’s great to see the process from this side of it,” Suther said.

They’re also learning the ballot is long this year – longer than people may think before hitting the polls on Nov. 2. This year’s ballot includes several state races and local races, as well as both local and state-wide ballot initiatives. The wording describing the ballot questions isn’t short, either.

“Study the Blue Book,” Heicher said. “Come prepared; have a list with you.”

All voters should have received the 2010 State Ballot Information Booklet, or Blue Book, in the mail by now. The book offers explanations for the various statewide initiatives, but lacks any information on state or local candidates.

Simonton said those looking for more information can go to the county’s website, at http://www.eaglecounty.us, and click on

Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or lglendenning@vaildaily.com.

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