North Idaho

Kootenai officials working to ensure fair election

Kootenai officials working to ensure fair election

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - Elections officials in Kootenai County are doing everything they can to ensure a fair election.

Officials performed a logic and accuracy test with their ballot tabulating machines. These tests are done before each election to ensure the public has trust in our election process.

Kootenai County election officials want voters to trust the election process. On Monday, a vote tabulator was put to the test and open to the public.

"We do that to the public for transparency to show that we've done testing and our machines are doing what they're supposed to," said Elections Manager Carrie Phillips.

The Kootenai County Elections office will run two of these Tuesday night. All ballots must be turned in by 8 p.m., then it's a long night of verifying votes.

"I'm really hoping that we're done by 3 a.m. or sooner. But 3 a.m. is what we've been kind of estimating just from what we've seen so far," said Phillips.

Votes that are run through the machine are then separated into three separate bins.

"The top bin is our blanks, or our indeterminate marks, the ballots that can't be read. The middle is for our write-in candidates, and then the bottom is for our ballots that have been processed, they have been counted," explained Phillips.

Votes that can't be counted by the machine are then sent to a duplication board which fills out a duplicated version of the votes onto a fresh ballot that the machine can read.

A separate group also handles tallying votes for legitimate write-in candidates.

Many voters at the Kootenai County Elections office on Monday weren't too worried about a rigged election.

"Not in the least," said Jim Player. "You've got both parties who supposedly are handling the election process at the polls and stuff. And if that's the case, you can't blame both parties."

"I really don't," said Sherri Hamey. "I believe that we have to believe in the system. If it doesn't work this way, then we're just like all the other countries that it doesn't happen."

There are 70 polling locations in Kootenai County, and ballots must be turned in by 8 p.m. Tuesday to be counted.