College Football Reporter/Columnist

Bob Asmussen is a college football reporter and columnist for The News-Gazette. His email is asmussen@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@BobAsmussen).

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Voting machines became a hot topic of conversation before and after the 2020 presidential election.

Wondering how they work in Champaign County? Well, you have a chance to see for yourself.

At noon Feb. 12, the Champaign County Clerk’s Office will conduct a public test of the election tabulation equipment. The test will be held at the Election Supply Building, 500 Art Bartell Road, U, down the street from the Brookens Administrative Center.

“This is something we have to do for every election,” county Clerk Aaron Ammons said. “We test the voting equipment itself, the counting procedure, making sure it is reading all the ballots.”

The test is open to both political parties, members of the media and the public.

Because of COVID-19, space is limited. Masks are required, and social-distancing rules will be followed.

Ammons said he expects the test will take about an hour.

“We try to create every scenario that could exist to make sure the machine is reading appropriately and counting the ballots and counting the marks the way they are supposed to,” he said.

For past tests he has been involved with, Ammons said candidates and media members came to watch. The numbers of observers have usually been low.

Champaign County uses Election Systems & Software, a 41-year-old company based in Omaha, Neb.

It has installed statewide systems across the country, including Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska in the Midwest.

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