Why it takes so long to count the vote!
On building new pools for DHS and the City

The June 5th election vote continues!

By M E Gladis

On Friday of the week after election night an interim report was made of about 10,000 VBM scanned ballots. Let me inform you that one or two pairs of processors set up in the scan area at tables for duplication of the ballots that cause certain trouble for the scanners. The scanned ballots go vertically into clear plastic bags with labels of batch and initialing by two staff, usually a scanner and a support staff.

Then there are voters who mark two spots on a one choice office, over voting. That results in no vote because no one in the office can say what the voters true intention was on that office. There are undervotes when two or more choices are available for the office and only one vote is marked. That vote is qualified and counted. There are stray marks that interrupt the scanning process. All these issues must all be reconciled.

Next there is the Write-in. News to me: a valid write-in candidate must register with the Secretary of State (SOS) office and list the name(s) by which the candidate is known. In order to write in a candidate a voter must fill in the write- in box and clearly enter the validated candidate’s name. No random non- registered name is counted.

When a voter blacks in one candidate and then blacks in the box for the write-in candidate box but does not enter a name, that vote is not counted because none of the staff are mind readers.

Before the final count and verification staff will process the remaining VBM ballots, the approximately 2200 Provisional ballots and after those the 113 Conditional Voter Registration(CVR) ballots made at the Elections counter from May 22nd to June 5th. Most of them came in on June 5th. Now voters may turn in their VBM ballot at other counties polling sites. So if work or other travel takes them out of county on election day the other counties have eight days after election day to find

and send to the proper county any ballots they received from outside counties. Yolo County received a VBM ballot of a Los Angeles County voter.

Pink Provisional ballot envelopes have rules for the voter and the poll worker.
Poll workers must give a provisional ballot to anyone who wants to vote and is not so noted on the voter roster at that polling place. Poll workers must not have the voter sign the roster. Poll workers must not cross out VBM and write in a number in the voter roster. Poll workers must not draw a line through the voters name on the roster. Some poll workers violated all these rules which caused several of the staff to interrupt the processing to retrieve the poll roster and check for a pattern of mis-step by poll workers.

For example, if a poll worker had the provisional voter sign the voter roster, at the wand station that signature on the roster would have been entered by wand into the system as though that person voted at the polling site.This provisional voter would not have a ballot from the polls on election night. So the staff must go through the process of rectifying this voter’s record. And then qualifying the provisional voter’s envelope.

This action requires more research on the staff who process the provisional ballot envelopes. If there are several envelopes from one con that the system indicates they have voted already, the staff must find the voter roster and find out if there is a pattern as described above. There were many. Hurrah for astute staff looking for every vote to count.

On the pink Provisional envelope if the voter filled in all the information on the pink envelope and the poll worker messed up the vote is counted. If on the other hand the voter filled out the info on the pink envelope and neglected to sign it, that vote is disqualified. There are instructions on the envelope which is the duty of the voter to read. Signature is required. That is how the staff check that it is youvoting.YoumustfillinavalidYoloCountyaddress. Out-of-countyis disqualified.

No voter may newly register at a polling place. If you are already registered to vote in Yolo County and you have a new address you may update your address on a voter registration card (VRC) at the polling location.
A newly registered voter filling out a VRC will be registered for the upcoming election, this time, in November.

After the 15 days before election day, this time after May 21st, the last day to mail in a VRC, an unregistered voter in most counties must go into the election department. For Yolo County it is in Woodland at 625 Court St. Basement-05 between 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

On election day the hours are 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Five counties including Sacramento have voting centers at which their voters may newly register and vote. These centers must have the means to be connected to the elections voting system in order to print a ballot for any area. A Sacramento friend told me the centers were open for two weeks.

Any member of the public is encouraged to observe the count at the election department. A public observer must sign in and wear a name badge. A public observer may not touch any qualified ballot before or after scanning. Yet the unqualified ballots may be inspected as long as a staff is with you at the table. One of the other observers, my close friend, did just that, while later there were more disqualified provisional envelopes added to the tray. She then tallied the reason for disqualifications. Andstaffmentioned,bylaw,noonemayopentheseenvelopes.

Reasons for disqualification: no ballot enclosed(11), out of county address(5), already VBM(3), cancelled (by voter or other county notifying Yolo)(36), mismatch signature(32), registered after deadline(8), No signature(97), 75 of which had not one mark on the pink envelope! 39 from con 3 which was the total number they submitted!! That situation will be investigated and I will let you know when I am advised. And 15 unmarked pink envelopes from con 29!

{ Let me repeat: No voter may newly register at a polling place.[see paragraph above].} Not already registered to vote (143) and this number includes four who had a name change (perhaps married or divorced).

The 113 votes at the counter of the election department were processed without a hitch.

After these votes are qualified they then go to the ballot processors who work in pairs. We were fortunate to have a workforce that worked well together, was dedicated to counting every vote and was diligent and somewhat well rested. The staff were open to feedback from each other and from observers. Remember all staff save everything related to the June 5th primary election process. These voter materials are in labeled boxes with lids or in sealed labeled clear plastic bags to be stored until April 2020 when they will be confidentially shredded.

After I read the colorful card at the counter about a staff to contact for poll working, I spoke with that staff about role playing in class and using songs to go with the steps of poll working. I believe poll workers have busy lives and training is many days preceding the election day. There is opportunity for confusion of material covered and forgetting the learning because it is not repeated or practiced. I wonder if so many poll staff do not show up due to self-questioning their own competence.

I plan to poll work next election in Esparto where they have trouble recruiting poll workers. This election there were 50 poll worker in reserve. So many poll workers no-showed that the elections department used all 50 and scrambled to find others. At the last minute some people went to work the polls who had no experience or training. :( !

Get engaged as a well informed poll worker :) !
Take the training with a friend and discuss it with that friend often between training and election day. Remember there is a book with poll work directions on site election day. Review it at down times. Be prepared to do the right process to help shorten the time it takes to count the vote.

And voters, please, as the instructions note, tear off the 1/2” strip at the top of the voting ballot cards. Also please fold the ballot along the established creases to slip it in the envelope to mail or drop-off. These steps would also shorten the time it takes to count the vote!


Nora Oldwin

Thank you, M E for this! Very necessary information even for those of us who think we know what we need to know- double thank you for going, observing, and then bringing it back through this piece.

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