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Mon Nov 12, 2018, 07:15 PM

Counting ballots and counting votes are NOT the same thing. I have been counting mail in

ballots for a couple of elections at the county level and have asked a lot of questions.

Like any job, you fill out a form: name, address, phone number etc. Unlike many jobs, we had to fill out a form for the NSA (shrugs on why, that was the first year that was needed) . On voting day, we are sequestered and take an oath of office to support and defend the constitution of the US and our state.

I don't know too much about how this is done but....the signatures are verified, counted and then go to the envelope opener thingy. The secrecy envelope is taken out of the signature envelope, counted and sorted into a bag according to precinct. The number of envelopes have been counted and put on a sheet of paper on the outside of the bag and the bag is locked with an identifiable number for just that bag. Every single step is counted and recorded with initials. Including empty envelopes.

This is what I know and do...

3 people to a table. A locked bag is placed on our table. We count all the envelopes. If the number matches the bag number, we continue. If it doesn't, we count it again. If it still does not come out, we get a supervisor. If the count is correct we then take the ballots out of the envelopes. Separate them into pages (pg 1, 2 etc). We then count each page to make sure that number matches the bag. (As I am typing this I am laughing my tail off because sometimes we DO count more than we need too) If the numbers all match, we back bend the crap out of the ballots for them to flow easier through the machine. If there are any that are sticky, too wrinkled or whatever, we put them on the top of the stack so the machine operator can see it may be an issue. If there is an issue they are given to a supervisor and given to another set of people who will duplicate those ballots, stamp it saying duplicate, writing SPOILED on the ballot that had issues. The spoiled ballot goes into an envelope and the good ballot is returned to the machine for counting.

The overseas ballots are handled a bit differently. They are just on a fax sheet and they have to be put onto a regular ballot for the machine. Again, 3 people to a table. One reads the votes, one records them on a ballot and the third verifies that all was done correctly. They then go to the machine.

As far as the machines go... they are NOT connected online. They do NOT show what the vote tally is. It just verifies that the 943 ballots in that precinct is 943 and the vote tally itself is hidden from view from everyone. At the end of the night the machines issue a report and that report is given to the supervisor and then it is called into the SoS office.




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Reply Counting ballots and counting votes are NOT the same thing. I have been counting mail in (Original post)
GemDigger Nov 2018 OP
kentuck Nov 2018 #1
samnsara Nov 2018 #2
GemDigger Nov 2018 #3
Hermit-The-Prog Nov 2018 #4
Takket Nov 2018 #6
fierywoman Nov 2018 #5
GemDigger Nov 2018 #7

Response to GemDigger (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2018, 07:21 PM

1. Thanks for that detailed explanation.

Good info!

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Response to GemDigger (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2018, 07:51 PM

2. years ago i counted votes.. we didnt need to verify ANYTHING..we just counted the...

...number of votes for each candidate with old fashioned pencil and paper and used the old lll/ method. We had 4 people. Two read the name (one verified..one read out loud) and two people recorded the counts using the lll/ method and verified between themselves the correct number. I believe we had 2 ppl from each party but we arent registered to a party. I did it a cpl elections with the same people and we got to know each other. It was a trusting relationship.

Thats when Wash State had polling places...and we were counting at one very rural polling place. It was pretty cool at the end of the night we all had to sign our names swearing to the count and they put our signatures and ballots in a locked strong box and drove them to the county courthouse ( same town).

It was easy peasy and the only time anyone hollered about election irregularities was when someone tried to put a campaign sign too close to the polling...and our chairperson would go out with a tape measure to make sure!

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Response to samnsara (Reply #2)

Mon Nov 12, 2018, 08:03 PM

3. Those little rural voting places are so sweet. That must have been fun.

15 years ago I used to vote at a 1 room schoolhouse. It was almost like a neighborhood block party.

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Response to samnsara (Reply #2)

Mon Nov 12, 2018, 09:24 PM

4. the way it should be

Divide the job into small enough chunks so that people can do it without big stress -- massively parallel processing.

Precincts should be small enough that most people at the polling place know each other as they pass through. Big cities need to break it down a lot more than they do now.

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Response to Hermit-The-Prog (Reply #4)

Mon Nov 12, 2018, 10:37 PM

6. Problem is rethugs jam too many persons

Into urban precincts on purpose to suppress the vote. Some people give up on the line and overwhelmed poll workers and counting machines are more likely to make mistakes to code done Dem votes somewhere.

We need major legislation to clean up our messy elections.

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Response to GemDigger (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2018, 10:29 PM

5. Thank you for explaining this!

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Response to fierywoman (Reply #5)

Mon Nov 12, 2018, 11:28 PM

7. You're welcome.

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