Ala. Admin. Code r. 307-X-1-.04 - Testing Of Precinct Ballot Counters

(1) The probate judge shall have each precinct ballot counter tested to ascertain that it will accurately count the votes cast for all official and all measures. Each counter shall be publicly tested before each election in which it is to be used. The date of the public test shall be as close as is practical to the date of the election and not more than fourteen (14) days [required by § 17-24-9 ] before the election. Public notice of the time and place of the test shall be given.
(2) Test ballots are to be marked as such and shall be marked so that each candidate and each position on each amendment or other proposition shall receive at least two (2) votes. There shall be at least one over-vote in each race. In general elections, some of the ballots shall be voted straight ticket and others split ticket; and there shall be at least one write-in vote for each contested office. To facilitate the testing of precinct counters, duplicate sets of test ballots may be prepared. These duplicate test ballots may be validated either by hand counting or by counting on a piece of equipment that has correctly tabulated the original test ballots. The test ballots shall be hand counted and the results recorded and retained.
(3) At the time appointed for the public test, the probate judge and the county chairman of each party having candidates in the election, or their authorized representatives, shall meet and shall collectively prepare a sufficient number of test ballots. Party chairman may choose to waive their right to mark ballots and accept in lieu thereof ballots marked by the Probate Judge or his or her designee. Each piece of equipment shall be tested using the test ballots, and the results shall be compared with the record of the hand count. The manufacturer's prescribed test procedure may be substituted for the procedure outlined in this paragraph upon written approval by the Electronic Voting Committee.
(4) As an alternative to the public testing of all precinct counters, the following procedure may be used. The probate judge or his designee shall test each counter prior to the public test and shall see that the cause of any discrepancies are corrected. Representatives of candidates and parties participating in the election may attend this test. The test materials and printed output of this test shall be attached to the counters, which shall subsequently be assembled for the public test. At the public test a sample of counters shall be selected for retesting by drawing lots. At least one counter shall be selected and tested for each ballot configuration. Each candidate in a primary and each party in a general election may select an additional machine representing each ballot type for public testing. If any precinct counter fails to produce a completely accurate count, all counters using the same ballot configuration shall be tested.
(5) The causes of any discrepancies shall be corrected before the equipment is sealed and certified ready for the election. Immediately after each piece of equipment has correctly tabulated the test ballots, the operator shall clear the machine, setting all counters to zero and making the machine ready for use on election day. Then the equipment shall be sealed by the probate judge or his representative and certified ready for use.
(6) Where memory packs and memory pack tabulators are used, these devices shall be tested along with the precinct counters. The data from each memory pack shall be read into the tabulator, and the total shall be compared with a total that is hand tabulated from the printed output of the precinct counters for at least one countywide office, which is to be selected at the time of the test by a random procedure. Candidates for other offices, or their representatives, shall be permitted to audit the test totals for their offices if they so desire. The causes of any discrepancies shall be corrected before the equipment is sealed and certified ready for use. After the test, all test materials (including the results of the hand count, the test ballots, and the printed output from each counter) shall be sealed in a box or envelope and given to the sheriff to be maintained unopened for use in the event of contests.
(7) All proceedings of the public test, from the beginning of the test to the conclusion of the same, shall be open to the public.

Author: Charles E. Grainger, Jr.


Ala. Admin. Code r. 307-X-1-.04
New Rule: Filed February 10, 1998; effective March 17, 1998. Amended: Filed February 7, 2002; effective March 14, 2002.

Statutory Authority: Code of Ala. 1975, § 17-24-7(b).

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