Southwick testing voting machines to ensure accuracy

50 test ballots filled out and fed through machines

SOUTHWICK, Mass. (WWLP) – More than a week before Election Day, people in Southwick were voting, and ballots were being fed through the machines. Not real ballots, but test ballots, to ensure the machines are accurate come Election Day.

22News went to the office of Town Clerk Michelle Hill to show you how it is done.

Hill said that they randomly filled out 50 ballots differently, so all options had been selected at least once. They also filled-out 11 with write-in candidates to make sure the machine sorted them accurately. She then verified the computer tallied the results properly, before testing each machine a second time.

“I will test all four machines, again only three of them get used at the election, but the fourth one, if anything were to occur to the other one of the three, in order to use that backup machine, I have to have that tested. So, I will test all four, and I do have to send a report to the state,” Hill said.

As for the early election ballots, they are placed in envelopes and sealed by the voter, before they are turned-in. They won’t be opened until election night, after the polls close at 8:00. Then, they will be run through the ballot machines with the others.

While 22News was at Hill’s office, there was a steady stream of people voting early. In just the first three days of voting, 442 people, or 6% of Southwick registered voters, had already cast their ballots.