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Tarrant, Dallas counties to let the public test its voting machines in a push to boost confidence in elections

This Friday, the public was invited to test Tarrant County's voting machines ahead of the Nov. 8 midterm election.

FORT WORTH, Texas —

It’s an open invitation to test Tarrant County’s voting machines. 

This week, officials are acting like voters at the Tarrant County Elections Administration Office. Voting machines are out and officials are conducting accuracy tests on thousands of them.

On Friday, the public had a chance to be a part of the process.  

“It’s a test of accuracy for the system,” said Tarrant Elections administrator Heider Garcia. "I hope it just shows what we’ve been saying, you can’t alter the results of the election,” Garcia said. 

He wants anyone who has questions or doubts surrounding the elections verification process to test it in-person. 

For the first time, Tarrant Elections Office is conducting a so-called unscripted test. On Friday, the public had the opportunity to vote in a test election and watch the count. They’ll be able to run in-person and absentee ballots through voting machines to ensure that every machine counts accurately. 

“I’ve always said it’s important for people to understand that this is a system that they can verify by themselves that it’s doing what it’s supposed to do,” Garcia told WFAA.

To be clear, the unscripted test is not an official vote. 

The county's push to boost trust in the system comes as a result of rising doubt surrounding election integrity, which has grown since the 2020 election, Garcia said. 

Garcia said he answered questions from voters including how the machines work, how the paper gets printed, and what happens if there’s a paper jam.

“What’s been interesting is people have seen the side of the election that they don’t usually deal with, like people who regularly go in person have tried absentees and people who do absentees have done in person,” Garcia said of Friday’s ‘mock election.’ “They’ve been able to see the equivalence between both systems. You end up with a paper trail that has the name of the person or the people you voted for and you can verify that.”

Garcia told WFAA he wants the 1.2 million people eligible to vote in Tarrant County to do it with full confidence in the system. 

“I think it’s a small group of people who don’t have confidence,” Garcia said. “I think the vast majority of people in Tarrant County have confidence in the election system. It just bothers me to have the lingering question floating around, and I like to provide people with evidence and confidence." 

The Dallas County Elections Office wants voters to know they can visit the county’s new vote center and look at the machines, too. This location will serve as a vote center for the first time this upcoming election.  

“We use this location as kind of a test facility. We let people come in and see how they can vote,” Dallas County Elections Communications Manager Nic Solorzano said. “They can put in one of our mock election ballots and roll through, see everything.”

The new vote center, which is located next to the Dallas County Elections Office on Round Table Dr., will be open for early voting and Election Day.

The elections office will also host trainings at the new vote center for the roughly 2,000 to 3,000 poll workers they have. And, in the meantime, anybody can make an appointment to go inside and see the machines.

Click here to make an appointment.

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