Two candidates said their fears were put to rest Monday after a tour and explanation of Davis County's computerized ballot-counting procedures.
William "Dub" Lawrence raised the issue of election fraud in the counting process last week, saying he feared tampering with ballots or the computer could cost him the election. Lawrence is challenging incumbent County Commissioner Harold Tippetts in the Republican primary today.To allay their fears, County Clerk Glen E. Saunders invited each party to send a representative to the courthouse Monday for a briefing on how ballots are handled and to observe a test run of the county's computerized vote counting.
"I'll live with the results Tuesday night," Lawrence said after spending more than an hour reviewing the process.
But he also said he's glad he raised the question, pointing out it resulted in some procedural changes that will be put in place during the vote count after the polls close.
Observers will be allowed into a limited area of the computer room to watch the ballots being run and outside telephone lines into the county's computer, as well as terminals in other parts of the courthouse, will be disconnected.
Ella Anderson, the Democratic candidate for county clerk, also walked through the briefing and said afterwards she is also basically satisfied with the county's procedures and security checks.
The party representatives were told how ballots are sealed into boxes at the polling site by the election judges, delivered to the courthouse, and the security precautions that are taken when the boxes are opened.
Procedures for handling spoiled or mutilated ballots, as well as the computer program used to tally votes, was explained by county election and computer officials.
The discussion between Lawrence and Craig Howe, the county's data base administrator and system programmer, became a little heated at one point when Lawrence questioned whether the computer programmers or operators would tamper with the system.
That, Howe said, impugned his personal integrity and that of his staff. Lawrence said after the tour he is impressed with the professionalism and integrity of the county's computer staff.
"I had some questions before, but now I have none about the integrity of the people operating the computer system - and that's the key to it," Lawrence said.