Early voting is right around the corner and election officials want to make sure you know your vote is safe. Wednesday the public was invited to test out voting equipment at the Bay County Supervisor of Elections Office. Public testing  of election equipment is a day to increase voters confidence ahead of elections.

“If you can’t prove to the public transparency, the public can’t trust you,” said Mark Andersen, Supervisor of Elections. 

Andersen said it can be hard to prove to the public that when a ballot is submitted it’s kept a secret 

“Nobody knows how you voted except you,” said Andersen. 

And he said that is where most people question the process.

“That’s usually what causes the deepest concern because if it’s secret how do you provide transparency and show them that it actually works, well public testing does that,” said Andersen. 

And building trust with voters isn’t the only benefit of the day.

“For the security of the election, just so folks can see that our machines are tested and they’re accurate,” said Nina Ward, Chief Deputy. 

Bay County election officials said security is always a top priority.

“Well there’s always security issues, it’s how you solve them, how you stop them from going into our system,” said Andersen. 

Andersen said breaches are not a worry. 

“We’re always prepared as much as we can be for it were watching for it, our paper ballots protect us and our secondary system that we have,” said Andersen.

Early voting begins August 18th and goes until August 25. This public testing is done each year before the polls open. 

“It’s important for the public to be able to see that we test every piece of equipment so that on election day they can have confidence that their vote is tabulated accurately,” said Ward.