HARRISBURG -- Voting machines for Saline County polling places are ready for the April 4 consolidated election, Saline County Clerk Kim Buchanan says.
Buchanan and deputy clerk Sharon Talandis tested the machine designated for the Raleigh polling place Tuesday morning in the elections office, while county clerk employee Julie Dunn researched participation data from past consolidated elections.
"We have to do this before each election to make sure the equipment is functioning properly," Buchanan said. "It's very unlikely, but there's always a chance a machine might not work right."
As the machine, which tabulates votes electronically, ran through its startup sequence, it printed out a long stream of data that indicated proper function on paper that looked like a receipt or ticker tape.
On Election Day in Saline County, ballots are marked with ink pen by voters, placed in a privacy sleeve and then inserted into the machine. The machine also can alert a voter if he or she has undervoted, for instance in board elections where more than one candidate may receive a vote.
She also noted that several write-in candidates appear on ballots in local races, and reiterated the rules for write-in votes to count.
"They have to write the correct name of the write-in candidate and mark the box for the write-in candidate for it to count," Buchanan said. "Sometimes people forget to do one or the other and then their vote for the write-in candidate won't count."
Buchanan said county voter participation in the 2016 presidential election was 69.6 percent, the highest turnout in several years. She said she hopes the enthusiasm of recent voters carries over into the consolidated election.
Information Dunn retrieved from an elections office database showed 26.49 percent turnout in the April 7, 2015, consolidated election and 26.63 percent turnout in the April 9, 2013 consolidated election.
Buchanan encouraged voters to participate in the election.
"These are your local neighbors and local issues," she said. "People should get out and have their voices heard."