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Front Page » May 9, 2006 » Local News » Diebold works to recertify voting machines
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Diebold works to recertify voting machines

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Dave Bogden and John Tultz work to recertify the Diebold election machines..

Diebold Election Systems is back in the county to recertify the election machines. They began work on May 2. The machines will be used in the upcoming June primary election. Bryan Simpson from Diebold said, "We are testing for a combination of things. We are making sure nothing has been added or removed from the machines and they are as they came from the factory.

"The machines are all new equipment, but contain different revisions. We've completed 15 machines so far and it is a long process from beginning to end. We will be here until Thursday. We are also fixing anything we find along the way. Everything has been fine so far. Over the past few months we have been out in the counties in Utah, training and helping with machines. We are just doing it all here in Emery County at one time. One of the big issues the former county clerk had was the amount of memory the machines have. We have been erasing the operating system software and reinstalling everything on these machines.

"When voting takes place a vote is stored in three different places. On two different memory cards and also on a paper printout," said Simpson.

When asked about the cords for the machine which was something Bruce Funk had noted as a problem, Simpson explained that the cords if pulled roughly could pull out some internal parts, but in normal handling this wouldn't be an issue.

John Tultz from Suffield Township in Ohio is among those working on the machines. He is part of a retrofit team. "I have had the opportunity to know these machines pretty well. They are good machines. Machines like these were used in the Ohio election last November and the machines were well received. Most of the folks were apprehensive at first voting on the new machines, but they found it was nice and easy. They were well received. Sometimes people are apprehensive in trying new things. But they found it quite enjoyable," said Tultz.

Aaron Rhodes is also part of the retrofit team and is from Canton, Ohio and has much experience in preparing the voting machines. Dave Bogden from Ohio is also on the team.

Matt Henderson is the regional technician from the Salt Lake office and is overseeing the recertification of the Emery County machines.

Emery County information and technology department head, Jeff Guymon has also been involved in the recertification process. The county and Diebold have a contract for the recertification work. The county is paying $1,260 per day per technician. The county is responsible for these fees incurred in the the recertification process. Commissioner Ira Hatch said the county might ask the state of Utah to help out with the Help America Vote Act funds if possible.

Brenda Dugmore, clerk/auditor said she along with Jeff Guymon from the IT department will going to Diebold training on May 22, the week long training will be the first the newly appointed clerk/auditor has been to. The IT department has been to all of the trainings held previously. The training will be in Sanpete County and will include other surrounding counties. The Emery County election judges will be trained the first part of June. In early June the clerk's office will be going to each of the communities with the voting machines and county people will have the opportunity to practice voting with the new machines. "We have had a machine set-up in the office and at first the people are apprehensive to touch them, but once they touch them they are quite favorable. quite a few people have been in to try the machine.

"We have to work with these machines and we want things to go as smoothly as possible. Mostly it's just the fear of the unknown, but we have full confidence in our IT department. The primary election is June 27 and we will need to be ready by June 12 for any early voting. Anyone can come into the clerk's office and vote early if they want to. If they early vote then they can't vote on the regular primary election day. After our training we will set the dates for the election judge's training. Some of the counties have contracted for their judges training. If we need to bring someone in we will, otherwise we will do it ourselves," said Dugmore.

Guymon said, "Diebold has completed the logic and accuracy tests and two of the machines didn't pass their criteria and they have been sent back for minor repairs. After the repairs they will be shipped back. I am quite comfortable with the machines."

Guymon also said voting machines will be set-up the first part of June in the communities for practice voting.

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