Election officials making final preparations - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Election officials making final preparations

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by Jamie Grey

Dubuque (KWWL) -- It's crunch time for many county election officials. On Thursday, Dubuque County tested its ballot machines. Voting equipment will be dropped off to polling places starting Tuesday, but before the delivery, everything is thoroughly checked to make sure there aren't problems on election day.

Deep in the basement of the federal building, Tom O'Neill, the Dubuque County Deputy Commissioner of Elections, spent Thursday making sure everything will work on November 4th. Tom O'Neill had more than 40 machines to check all by the end of the day.

"The basic thing right now is we got to get the equipment tested and ready to go out in the polling places. That entails running a test deck through every machine and printing it out making sure they're reading the results properly," O'Neill said.

After checking a machine, O'Neill tags, locks, and seals the machine.

"As you saw when you came in, it's not the easiest place to get into. There's only one door in, one door out. Only two keys for the door. I have one and the county auditor has the other," O'Neill said.

Voting ballots are also sealed in another building, all to protect the election.

O'Neill expects voter turn-out in Dubuque County this year to beat the record of 82% in 1992.

"Most of us have been working twelve hour days now for a couple weeks. It's coming together, but we're not quite there yet. But we will be by the 4th," O'Neill said.

O'Neill says Dubuque County will almost certainly beat the current record of absentee ballots of 16,000 cast in 2004. O'Neill expects around 20,000 absentee ballots; that's almost a third of all registered voters voting before election day.

Dubuque County election officials say they are fully staffed for poll workers. They are still looking for a few people, especially republicans, to count absentee ballots.

Online Reporter:  Jamie Grey

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