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Madera County voting system set for demonstrations

Madera County has planned a series of four workshops so residents can try out its proposed new voting equipment.

“Our current primary voting system is nearly 30 years old,” said Rebecca Martinez, Madera County clerk-recorder and registrar of voters. “While the current system has served us well, it has gone beyond its useful life and we are at a point where it must be replaced.”

Madera County currently uses polling place and early voting equipment by Hart InterCivic and DFM, according to the state of California.

The county chose Canada-based Dominion Voting Systems Inc. to be its new preferred vendor for a voting system after reviewing submitted proposals earlier this year. The workshops will feature test equipment provided by Dominion for the public to examine.

The workshops will be as follows.

  • 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 25, Madera County Government Center Lobby, 200 W. 4th St., Madera

  • 9-11 a.m. Sept. 26, Chowchilla Civic Center’s council chambers, 130 S. 2nd St., Chowchilla

  • 2-4 p.m. Sept. 26, Madera Ranchos Senior Center, 37330 Berkshire Drive, Madera

  • 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sept. 27, Oakhurst Community Center, 39800 Road 425B, Oakhurst

“Prior to purchasing new equipment, I want voters to have the opportunity to take it for a test drive,” said Martinez. “Elections belong to the people of our county and their input is pivotal to the process.”

The workshops will be structured so people can come and go at any time. Voting on the test machines is expected to take as little as 10-15 minutes, according to Martinez. Both Martinez and company officials will available to answer questions.

Counties that rely on Dominion Voting Systems voting machines include Del Norte, Glenn, Imperial, Napa, Siskiyou and Tehama, according to the state of California. Dominion also owns voting machine companies Premier Election Solutions and Sequoia Voting Systems.

The voting machine market is an oligopoly in the U.S., according to Brenda Reddix-Smalls, a law professor at North Carolina Central University. The limited competition of the market, which is dominated by a few companies, puts governments at a disadvantage when trying to negotiate voting machine pricing, quality, or security.

Like Madera County, Kings County plans to replace its “outdated” machines, which were made by Sequoia Voting Systems. Kings County Clerk-Recorder Kristine Lee told the Hanford Sentinel in August that Dominion Voting Systems’ servers failed during the 2016 election, forcing staff to turn to temporary solutions.

For workshop information, contact the Madera County Elections Division at (800) 435-0509.

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