MIAMI (CBSMiam) – With early in-person voting in the presidential primaries right around the corner, election departments in Miami-Dade and Broward are testing their equipment.
The goal is to have no issues when early voting begins on March 2nd in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties. Broward begins its early voting period on March 7th.
The test starts with a predetermined test vote.
Election department workers fill out ballots for certain winners, for overvotes – where you vote for more than one candidate, and undervotes – where you vote for no candidates.
They then run ballots through the machines and tally the votes.
Once complete these tests must match exactly the winners, overvotes, and undervotes they set up beforehand.
At Broward’s voting equipment center in Lauderhill, 62 voting machines were tested and everything seemed to be fine. Those machines represent about two percent of the total number of machines that will be used county-wide.
Broward Commissioner Michael Udine, who serves on the county’s Canvassing Board which was present for the testing, said he has confidence that Broward can get it right this time after the troubling 2018 midterm election.
“We’ve added more machines, the county commission appropriated more dollars so that there could be more counting machines. We have upgraded the type of machines they are using, they’ve gone now to the 4G which is the next level of technology, which is better. They’ve strengthened the virtual private network for counting. They’ve done some different things on how they are going to tabulate it and they’ve made some efficiency improvements. So far I saw that for the last two elections, but they were much smaller, so this is one of the bigger elections now that we are going to have and I’m anxious to see the upgrades, I’m anxious to see the better flow of getting this information out correctly and getting this information out in a timely fashion,” he said.
In recent years, cybersecurity and Russia hacking has been a concern.
“We’ve spent a significant amount of resources in hardening our cyber security posture and our physical security posture. We are very lucky because we have an entire department dedicated to that here in the county, so we are doing everything that we can to make sure that we are ready. The most important thing that I can tell our voters is that we vote on a paper ballot here in the State of Florida, so that is something that is un-hackable. At the end of an election, in any event that we ever have to go back to that paper record, we have it,” said Christina White, the Supervisor of Elections in Miami-Dade.
Important Dates For Campaign 2020
EARLY VOTING for the presidential primaries:
Miami-Dade Early Voting runs March 2 – 15.
Broward Early Voting runs March 7 – 15.
Monroe County Early Voting runs March 2- 15.
March 17: Presidential primaries plus municipal elections in Surfside, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Lighthouse Point, Pembroke Pines, and Pompano Beach.
July 20: Last day to register to vote or change political party affiliation for the general election primary on Aug. 18.
Aug. 8-15: Early voting begins for the general election primary.
Aug. 18: General election primary.
Oct. 5: Last day to register to vote or change political party affiliation for the general election.
Oct. 24-31: Early voting for the general election.
Nov. 3: Election Day 2020. Includes presidential, congressional and state legislative elections, state constitutional amendments and local races.