Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
From left, Madera County District Attorney Sally O. Moreno, Recorder and Registrar of Voters Rebecca Martinez, Sheriff Jay Varney, County Counsel Regina A. Garza, and The Madera Tribune’s Tami Jo Nix participate in test of the county’s new voting system.
The time is running out to vote in the Consolidated Presidential Primary on Tuesday. On Friday, Madera County Clerk, Recorder and Register of Voters Rebecca Martinez and her elections deputy Stephanie Sibley hosted a non-partisan election panel in her offices in the Government Center.
The purpose of this panel was to view the new voting system used to count ballots. The machines look like large copy machines with multi-page feeders on the top. The voted ballots are fed into the machine, scanned, counted and recorded.
This election cycle has introduced new features to facilitate ease of voting for the electorate. Every registered voter in Madera County received a ballot by mail based on his or her residence and party affiliation. Also, postage prepaid ballot return envelopes are included with each ballot.
The public need only to fill out their ballots, sign the envelope, drop it in the mailbox and have it postmarked by 8 p.m. on Election Day. The counting machines can only read ballots marked with blue or black ink. Pencils or other colors of ink are not visible to the counters.
Unregistered voters who wish to participate in this election can register and vote until 8 p.m. on Election Day at the clerk’s office at the Madera County Government Center, 200 West 4th St. Ballots may also be left at any of the vote centers throughout the county. A drive-thru ballot box is in the driveway in front of the building across from the government parking garage. To ascertain which Voter Center is most conveniently located, one may call 6757721 or toll-free (800) 435-0509.
After reviewing the ballots, citizen panel members marked faux ballots that ran at rapid speed through the scanners to be counted. The purpose of the panel was to familiarize its members with the procedures and protocols that will be used on election night. After the fake ballots were counted, the panel members each signed the report articulating the test was made and the machines’ counters reset to zero.
Sitting in on the panel were Madera County District Attorney Sally O. Moreno, County Counsel Regina A. Garza, Sheriff Jay Varney and The Madera Tribune’s Tami Jo Nix. Representatives from the Republican and Democratic parties were invited to attend but were not in attendance.