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Elections officials conduct machine test ahead of school board vote

Elections officials conduct machine test ahead of school board vote
Elections officials conduct machine test ahead of school board vote
Posted at 4:56 PM, May 01, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-01 20:04:49-04

GREAT FALLS — Cascade County elections officials conducted a public test of their tabulating machines on Wednesday, May 1, 2024, at the Montana ExpoPark Exhibition Hall.

The machines will be used for next week's Great Falls Public School board of trustees election.

It was the first public test for new elections administrator Terry Thompson, who took control of the department in February.

Her staff demonstrated how the machines work, how reports are generated and how election judges oversee the process to ensure accuracy.

Her staff even threw some curveballs at the machine, by submitting sample ballots with incorrectly filled in or formatted selections.



Ballots with discrepancies will be sorted out by the machine and subject to hand verification by the election judges on site.

Everything worked as it was supposed to, satisfying the GFPS officials, lawmakers, and citizens in attendance.

Thompson believes the attendees left the test with a high degree of confidence that next week's election will run successfully.

“I think it's great that people wanted to come today and see what it was about and and gain some trust with all the different things going on with elections around the country,” Thompson said. “There's not a lot of trust in the process. And so seeing these tabulator machines and how they actually worked and verifying that the counts and the candidates were right is extremely important.”

Thompson and her staff will begin preparing ballots for counting on Monday morning and encourage voters to drop off their ballots at the elections office or the Expo Park before polls close at 8 p.m. on Tuesday.