By Pamela Bacon
Have you ever wondered what happens to your ballot when you return it to the Clerk’s Office for an election? Ballots can be processed 15 days before Election Day, but no results are totaled until after 7:00 p.m. Election Night.
- First the ballots are retrieved from secured ballot boxes- either in the office or secure outside drop boxes by two bipartisan election judges.
- The election judges must verify seals, log number of ballots, sign for each seal and document the number of ballots retrieved from the ballot boxes.
- Ballots are then date stamped when received. The election judges must sort the ballots by precinct or style and count the ballots, putting them in bundles of 25 both judges verify and initial the count.
- Then ballot envelopes are scanned in our system as received. The system also counts how many envelopes are scanned and the judges verify the count from the first count as received.
- Each batch of ballot envelopes are signature verified – Signature Verification is when two judges of opposite affiliation compare the signature of the voter to the signature’s that we have on file.
- If the signature matches the ballot envelope moves forward to envelope disassembly.
- If the ballot is rejected during signature verification because it cannot be matched, we are required by law to send a letter to the voter and ask them to verify their signature and provide us with a copy of their identification before we can count that ballot. If we don’t receive any information from the voter about their signature the ballot remains rejected and not counted and we are required by law to turn that information over to the District Attorney for investigation for possible voter fraud.
- After signature verification ballot envelopes are then sealed in to transfer cases, and the number of ballots is logged and signed off by the judges, with dated and timed and placed in the security vault until envelope disassembly can begin.
Envelope disassembly: Processing the ballots to be tabulated in an assembly line format:
- Supply Judges must sign a form to receive the ballots to be processed. They verify the seal, date and time from the log above when the ballots were placed and sealed into the transfer cases after signature verification.
- Supply Judges then open the sealed ballot box and verify the count that was on the log to make sure that the count is the same as it was when sealed.
- Supply Judges then document and track the number of ballots received from the Clerk’s Office for opening and processing. Leaving the ballots in the bundles of 25 as they came in from the Clerk’s Office.
- Supply Judges then have processing judges start disassembling the ballots from the envelopes.
- Judge one; has to verify the count from the supply judges for the batch of ballot envelopes they are disassembling. At no time is the ballot content viewed!
- Judge number one, with the envelopes address label down removes the ballot enclosed in the secrecy sleeve (if no secrecy sleeve one is added) and hands the secrecy sleeve with ballot to Judge two and stacks the envelopes keeping them address label side down. At no time is the ballot content viewed!
- Judge number two, removes the ballot from the secrecy sleeve and hands the ballot to Judge number three. At no time is the ballot content viewed!
- Judge number three, flattens ballot and examines the ballot for tears or any other obvious damage to the ballot, if so it must be duplicated (if it will not go through the tabulation machine.) Judge examines ballot and stacks them into a file folder for the machine judge to pick up with the count of how many are in that bundle.
- Machine Judges count the ballots to make sure how many there are to be processed; shuffles the ballots for voter anonymity; and then places the ballots into ICC Scanner counting machine for pre-tabulation. The machine judge must verify the count for that ballot batch and document the count with a log.
- At the end of each box the Machine Judges and the Supply Judges match totals that were given by the Clerk and Recorder for the number of ballots that were processed for that box of ballots.
- At the end of the day the Machine Judge numbers must match the Supply Judge numbers for ballots processed for the day.
- Then all ballots for that day are locked in a transfer box with a secured numbered seal and placed in the vault.
- The Supply Judge then verifies with the Clerk and Recorder the number of ballots, received and processed for the day.
County Offices will be closed Monday September 7, 2020 in observance of Labor Day.
BallotTrax is a free service for Logan County Voters that allows you to track the status of your ballot online, as well as receive messages by text, phone or email when your ballot has been sent to you and received by our Elections Division. Logan County voters may sign up at votelogancounty.ballottrax.net
The Election and Recording Department can be reached at 522-1544 for voter and election questions or recording information. The Motor Vehicle Department can be reached at 522-1158 for license plates/renewals or titling a vehicle. You can also reach our office by email at firstname.lastname@example.org . Like us on Facebook at Logan County Elections/MotorVehicle/Recording or Twitter @LoganClerkCO