EXCLUSIVE: How Bedford County election officials are preparing for Super Tuesday

Local News

BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) – Super Tuesday is almost here, and election officials in Bedford County are feeling the rush as they prepare for voters.

“Most citizens think about voting one to two days a year. Many don’t understand that it’s a full, year-round process of planning and preparing,” says Barbara Gunter, General Registrar and Director of Elections for Bedford County.

WFXR News got an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at the county’s climate-controlled storage area, where voting equipment and supplies are stored.

Bedford County storage unit for election supplies.

Gunter says election day is a busy time and requires many materials:

  • A voting machine.
  • Voting supply bags that contain electronic poll books, laptops, printers, and scanners used for check-in.
  • Office supply bags that contain pens, pencils, signage, voter forms, envelopes, and boxes.

A top priority for election officials across Southwest Virginia is making sure ballots are safe, secure, and protected. Gunter says there are already security measures in place to protect equipment used on election day.

“There are so many measures in place. Of course, all the access to the facilities where we store is secured with keys and there’s a very limited distribution of those keys. Even myself, when I come into this room, have a log that I have to record when I came in, when I left, and why I was here,” says Gunter.

Seals with numbers are also placed on all equipment after they’ve been tested and programmed for each election.

On Friday, Feb. 28, teams of volunteers from various Bedford County departments including Solid Waste Collection and Parks and Recreation loaded up rented deliver trucks with voting machines and delivered them to their 32 polling precincts.

This weekend, election officials were also busy re-testing and programming additional equipment, many of which couldn’t be done until after absentee voting ended on Feb. 29.

Although they’ve seen no problems so far, there are back-up plans in place for their election equipment.

We have additional machines that can be brought in to that polling place to replace a piece of equipment that is not functioning correctly. We do the same thing with our electronic poll books, and then you always have a paper poll book back-up option as well,” says Gunter.

Monday morning, chief election officers will collect final election supplies at the county’s storage area and will return them back to the facility once voting is over.

Gunter says election preparation is a huge community effort.

“It’s such a huge effort for every locality to coordinate all the pieces that have to come together. From your facilities, your delivery teams, your pick-up teams, your 250 workers in Bedford County that work each of the polling locations, and there’s just a lot of folks that come together to make elections happen,” says Gunter.

On Super Tuesday elections are over, voting equipment and supplies will be stored back in the county’s storage area, where they are cleaned and checked once a month.

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