Friday, May 14, 2010

Pollbook 101

To Aspen Election Commission
I have clipped some sections from Title 1, and created a paper demonstration of how a pollbook works.

If you follow these procedures you should be on firm ground. You will have anonymous ballots and be able to consider release of same to the public. If you start afresh, I suggest that you use a public forum to do so, because of side effects that you might not personally know about. Off-hand I am unaware of anything in Title 31 that would prevent you from adopting these recommendations.

I believe that there is an advantage to maintaining a pollbook as a sequential list of the electors who were issued ballots.

Each row of the list should contain the row number, the name/voter_ID of the elector, and the serial number on the ballot stub that was issued to the elector. Space needs to be provided for issuing replacement ballots (up to three).

• When a person is determined to be an eligible elector they are admitted to the voting area.

• When a ballot is issued, the row is completed by the issuing judge.

• Before the ballot is cast, the stub containing the serial number, is removed and retained as an election record.

• When the ballot box is opened, the ballots are shuffled.

• Before the ballots are copied, a new unique identifier is recorded on the original ballot. This identifier will appear in any copies and can be used to (a) specifically identify the original ballot, and (2) appear as a field in Cast Vote Records.

This procedure preserves the data needed to audit the election AND it strictly preserves voter privacy by using an anonymous ballot.

The sequential pollbook has advantages:

1. It supports the needs of GOTV pollwatchers. Electronic pollbooks do not. Use of the registration list as a pollbook requires that the pollwatcher flip through the registration list to locate “their” voters.

2. In larger counties, or vote centers, or other multi-precinct polling locations, it reduces the amount of searching by pollwatchers for “their voters”. Presently pollwatchers are limited.

3. It supports the needs of election officials (including the canvass board) to promptly audit the election. One can tell immediately how many voters voted (for example), and how many ballots were issued.

4. It facilitates preparation and verification of vote history records that record which electors voted using which voting method.

Imagine the following pollbook.

See how easy it is to know how many ballots are supposed to be in the Ballot Box.

Also, this makes it easy to determine the number of spoiled and unused ballots.

The use of ballot stubs does not require that the ballots be issued in sequence number order.

Some counties do have voters sign the registration book. But, this is inconvenient for both the poll watchers and the officials. And, it is error prone to count the voters – especially when one considers the provisional, emergency, etc. special cases. Some electors names are not in the registration book.

Polling Location ABC Ballot Styles: S01 S02


1 ........Mike LaBonte..... 70851........S01-0001

2 ........Marilyn Marks..... 8020156...S01-0002...S01-0005

3 ........Harvie Branscomb.643201....S01-0003

4 ........Al Kolwicz ...........5572463 ..S01-0004

5........ Elizabeth Milas.....20744432 .S02-0001

6.........Bob Leatherman ..8012247... S01-0006

7 ........Ward Hauenstein 77443322...S02-0002

Following is a selective set of items from the CRS. I think that it nearly supports my recommendation for maintaining sequential list for a pollbook.

The “post-cast” ballot shuffling and numbering recommendation is something that is not directly required in current law, but would help. To my knowledge, there is nothing in Title 1 that would disallow either. Shuffling would help achieve the required anonymity, so I think that it would survive debate. Post-cast numbering would help achieve a more vigorous post election audit, so I think that it would survive debate.

Selections from TITLE 1 C.R.S.

1-1-104. Definitions.

(27) "Pollbook" means the list of eligible electors who are permitted to vote at a polling place or by mail ballot in an election conducted under this code.

(36) "Registration book" means the original elector registration records for each county retained and stored by one of the following methods:

(a) On registration records by precinct in bound books arranged alphabetically for all active and all inactive registrations with all withdrawn and canceled registrations kept in separate bound books or on film; or

(b) On film and computer with access to the registration records available both alphabetically and by precinct. The system shall have the capability to print out active and inactive registration records, to retain the voting history for each active and inactive registration by surname, and to film completed voter signature forms by precinct for each election. Computer lists of registration records shall be furnished for use at the precinct polling places on election days.

1-7-109. Judges to keep pollbooks. (1) The election judges shall keep a pollbook which shall contain one column headed "names of voters" and one column headed "number on ballot". The name and the number on the ballot of each eligible elector voting shall be entered successively under the appropriate headings in the pollbook.

1-7-302. Electors given only one ballot. Election judges shall give to each eligible elector a single ballot, which shall be separated from the stub by tearing or cutting along the perforated or dotted line. The election judge having charge of the ballots shall endorse his or her initials on the duplicate stub.

Another election judge shall enter the date and the number of the ballot on the registration record of the eligible elector before delivering the ballot to the eligible elector. The election judge having charge of the pollbook shall write the name of the eligible elector and the number of the ballot on the pollbook.

1-7-305. Counting by counting judges.

(3) When an exchange of ballot boxes is made as described in subsection (2) of this section, the receiving judges shall sign and furnish to the counting judges a statement showing the number of ballots that are to be found in each ballot box as indicated by the pollbooks. The counting judges shall then count ballots in the manner prescribed in section 1-7-307.

1-7-307. Method of counting paper ballots. (1) The election judges shall first count the number of ballots in the box. If the ballots are found to exceed the number of names entered on each of the pollbooks, the election judges shall then examine the official endorsements. If, in the unanimous opinion of the judges, any of the ballots in excess of the number on the pollbooks are deemed not to bear the proper official endorsement, they shall be put into a separate pile and into a separate record, and a return of the votes in those ballots shall be made under the heading "excess ballots". When the ballots and the pollbooks agree, the judges shall proceed to count the votes.

1-7-502. Elector given only one ballot or ballot card. An election judge shall give to each eligible elector only one ballot or ballot card, which shall be removed from the package by tearing it along the perforated line below the stub. The election judge having charge of the pollbook shall write the name of the eligible elector and the number of the ballot or ballot card upon the pollbook.

1-7-505. Close of polls - count and seals in electronic voting.

(2) In precincts in which voting is on a ballot or ballot card, election judges shall prepare a return in
duplicate showing the number of eligible electors, as indicated by the pollbook, who have voted in the
precinct, the number of official ballots or ballot cards received, and the number of spoiled and unused
ballots or ballot cards returned. The original copy of the return shall be deposited in the metal or durable plastic transfer box, along with all voted and spoiled ballots. The transfer box shall then be sealed in such a way as to prevent tampering with the box or its contents. The designated election official shall provide a numbered seal. The duplicate copy of the return shall be mailed at the nearest post office or post-office box to the designated election official by an election judge other than the one who delivers the transfer box to the designated counting center. For partisan elections, two election judges of different political affiliations, as provided in section 1-6-109.5, shall deliver the sealed transfer box to the counting center designated by the county clerk and recorder.

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