We had some callers from Carbon County, Montana call into the radio show here recently. They expressed concerns about the electronic voting machines produced by ES&S, and said the seals on the machines used by the county had been broken. (That's my summary of the calls based on my recollection anyway)

So what's the official story? I reached out to Carbon County Elections Administrator Crystal Roascio. She tells us that problems were discovered with the machines, and a recertification is on the way. A public process will also allow for concerned citizens to take part.

Roascio: During the public test that is required by MCA 13-17-212 on May 12, 2022, it was brought to our attention that the warranty label on the side our DS200 tabulating machines had been damaged. After speaking with the SOS office, ES&S and the certified tech for Montana, it has been found that this damage happened shortly after we received the machines in October 2019. Our machines needed maintenance due to the higher altitude and the tech did not have labels to replace the ones that were damaged. We currently have a request into ES&S to get a statement from them. After we were made aware of the issue, I spoke with ES&S and they offered two new machines. After meeting with the County Commissioners and the Clerk and Recorder, we decided to keep our current machines. These tabulators have passed every public test that has been performed. There has also been a post-election audit conducted for both the 2020 Primary and General Elections. The counts were correct on both.

The Carbon County Elections Office also says they have scheduled a re-certification of the machines. A public test will take place on Wednesday, May 25, 2022 at 1:00pm in the Carbon County Administration Building. Roascio says, "these public tests are and have always been open to the public and we encourage the public to attend."

On Wednesday, I spotted an article from a newer publication called the Western Montana News thanks to one of our Twitter followers. Here's an excerpt from their report:

After elections officials opened the outer protective case containing the DS200 machines, Chip Bennett, a citizen in attendance, walked up to the machine and noticed that both warranty seals on either side of each of the County’s DS200 tabulation machines were broken. Bennett, who has nearly 40 years of computer consulting experience (10 years with Digital Equipment Corporation and 28 years operating his own computer consulting company), approached the county commissioners and the election administrator to inquire about the broken seals.

Separately, critics of the ES&S voting machines and their use in the 2020 elections were already scheduled to host a forum featuring Mark Cook who has been very active in these discussions down in Nevada. We've had a couple callers mention this meeting as well. Here's the details.

Carbon County Commissioners
Election Machine Expert, Mark Cook
ES&S Machines
Monday, May 23, 6 p.m.
Red Lodge Fairgrounds, Grewell Building
Contact: Mary, 861-3715, Pat, 962-3383

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