On Friday morning, Monroe County’s election equipment was put through its paces at the old Johnson Hardware building at 7th and Madison streets in downtown Bloomington, aka Election Central.
When the tallies were totalled up, from the test decks that had been fed through the three regular ballot scanners and one high-speed machine, they added up to the numbers they were supposed to.
Attending the test were all three election board members: Monroe County clerk Nicole Browne, Donovan Garletts and David Henry.
B&L IT Services is a contractor the county uses for logistics and technical support in connection with elections, including the upcoming city primary on May 2.
As B&L’s Bob White told the board, when he put a stack of printouts on the table: “These are the results we got. They were the expected results—if you compare them, they all match.”
Monroe County’s voting equipment is manufactured by Hart InterCivic. Early in-person voting starts on April 4.
Bloomington voters will be electing party nominees for mayor, clerk, and nine city council seats. Ellettsville voters will elect party nominees for clerk/treasurer and town council.
The test conducted on Thursday morning is required to be done under state election law. At least 5 percent of the machines have to be tested, which works out to three machines from Monroe County’s inventory of 50.
White told The B Square that to pick the machines to be tested, he starts with a randomized list of machine serial numbers that is provided by the state’s Voting System Technical Oversight Program (VSTOP). He picks the first three machines on the list.
Working at Election Central on Thursday morning were election staff, who were processing applications for mailed absentee ballots and sending out the ballots. One of the checks they do for any application is to make sure the voter has picked one of the legal reasons for voting absentee by mail:
- I have a specific, reasonable expectation being absent from the county on Election Day during the entire twelve (12) hours that the polls are open.
- I will be confined to my residence, a health care facility, or a hospital due to illness or injury during the entire twelve (12) hours that the polls are open.
- I will be caring for an individual confined to a private residence due to illness or injury during the entire twelve (12) hours that the polls are open.
- I am a voter with disabilities. NOTE: If you are unable to mark the ballot or sign the ballot security envelope, you must contact the county election board to process your application.
- I am a voter at least sixty-five (65) years of age.
- I will have official election duties outside of my voting precinct.
- I am scheduled to work at my regular place of employment during the entire twelve (12) hours that the polls are open.
- I am unable to vote at the polls in person due to observance of a religious discipline or religious holiday during the entire twelve (12) hours the polls are open.
- I am a voter eligible to vote under the “fail-safe” procedures in IC 3-10-11 or 3-10-12.
- I am a member of the Indiana National Guard deployed or on assignment in Indiana or a public safety officer.
- I am a serious sex offender (as defined in IC 35-42-4-14(a).
- I am prevented from voting due to the unavailability of transportation to the polls.
Another check that’s performed is to compare the signature on the absentee ballot application with other signatures from the same voter that are on file. The signature on the applications doesn’t have to be a perfect match, but has to be similar enough to be plausibly written by the same person.
The secretary of state’s website has information on how to apply to vote absentee by mail.
In-person early voting starts on April 4 at the election operations building at 3rd and Walnut streets (former NAPA building).