Minneapolis demonstrates voting machines to build trust

Published 3:35 pm Friday, October 28, 2022

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MINNEAPOLIS — Election officials in Minnesota’s largest city held a public demonstration of voting machines Friday as part of an effort to maintain public trust and transparency in election systems that have drawn coordinated attacks from former President Donald Trump and others.

Minneapolis Director of Elections and Voter Services Katie Smith showed election judges from around the city how to test the voting equipment: Turn on the tabulator machine, feed the pre-marked set of test ballots into the machine, print off the results and make sure the results exactly match the ballots.

More than two dozen people tested the tabulator machines and assistive voting devices — which help voters zoom in, print and read their ballots with Braille, if needed — at the demonstration at the city’s election and voter services building in northeast Minneapolis.

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Smith said the public accuracy test, which is required under state law, is important because it lets members of the public see their votes are going to be correctly and accurately counted on election night.

Around the country, some voters have expressed skepticism about election systems since Trump and others have falsely claimed that widespread voter fraud led to President Joe Biden being elected in 2020.

They have also spread conspiracy theories that voting machines are unreliable and inaccurate — leading some to request hand-counts of votes, though experts say hand-counted ballots are less accurate and more time consuming than machine-counted ballots. Some have also requested further examination of state electoral systems for potential weaknesses and changes to voter access rules.

After nearly two years, no evidence has shown that voting machines were manipulated to steal the 2020 election or that there was any widespread fraud. A federal judge said this month that Trump signed legal documents after the election that included voter fraud claims he knew were inaccurate.