Evolution: Voting by mail. x. UMCA Spring Conference April 16, 2010 Springdale, UT. Panelists. Fay Cope – Springdale Town Clerk Melanie Abplanalp – Washington Co. Election Clerk David Ence – Kanarraville Town Clerk Elaine Harris – Rockville Town Clerk Nancy Leigh – Brian Head Town Clerk
UMCA Spring Conference
April 16, 2010
Municipal clerk vs. County Clerk
Dear Registered Voter,
The Washington County Commissioners are allowing Rockville, and other precincts with less than 500 registered voters, to vote in the upcoming municipal election by mail on a trial basis. Besides the convenience to the voter, voting by mail is a considerable financial savings to the Town.
If you find it convenient to fill out your ballot and cast your vote from your home, you can let the County Commissioners know you would like to retain the right to vote by mail by responding with a strong voter turnout.
Within the next ten days, your ballot will arrive in the mail. DO NOT THROW IT AWAY BY MISTAKE – IT’S THE ONLY WAY YOU’LL BE ABLE TO VOTE IN THE COMING ELECTION. There will be no polling place on Election Day. By-mail voting information on blue paper will be included with your ballot. If you have any questions, call 772-0992.
Elaine M. Harris, Town Clerk
Springdale Town received approval from Washington County Commission to vote by mail in 2009 in order to test how well it works and how much voters like it. They already know that it saves taxpayers a bundle. We want this election year to be very successful – and easy for voters, too.
Watch your mailbox for your ballots soon. Don’t throw them away – it’s the only way you can vote!
Voting by mail takes the place of early voting.
Voting instructions will be included with the ballots. Mailed ballots must be postmarked no later than September 14.
TIME TO VOTE!
Primary Election September 15
Candidates for two (4-year) council seats: (You’ll vote for two people.)
Donna L. Taylor
First: The Election Official may review the voter register and question a voter as to their residency. This can be done by establishing a standard in which residency is identified.
The Election Official notifies the County Clerk of the challenges and the County Clerk sends the voter a letter stating they must provide sufficient evidence that they are a resident of the municipality and will identify a time frame in which they must respond.
In 20A-3-305 paragraph (3) it says “If the election officer (County in this case) determines that the absentee voter is required to show valid voter identification as indicated in the official register, the election officer shall:
(a) issue the voter a provisional ballot in accordance with section 20A-3-105.5;
(b) instruct the voter to include a copy of the voter’s valid voter identification with the returned ballot;
(c) provide the voter clear instructions on how to vote a provisional ballot; and
(d) comply with the requirements of Subsection (2)
The County’s address labels that come to you have all of the same information. They give the voter’s identification #, party affiliation, name and address. They may also include a small box with the letters ID enclosed. If this appears the voter has NOT shown a election official, (County, or State DMV worker) any identification. This voter is REQUIRED by law to show Valid Voter Identification BEFORE the ballot can be counted. If the voter does not comply, then we cannot count their ballot. We (County) issue a provisional Ballot along with the State valid Voter ID requirements and a letter from the County.
Candidate website and information can be found at www.elections.utah.gov. The Candidates have been issued a challenge. By August 20th, 2010 the candidates (if they wish to participate) must submit to the County Clerk’s office some basic information. The State webpage will be ONLINE 8-25-2010. Also there will be a link from the Washington County’s website at www.washco.utah.gov/clerk/electionInfo.php. These 2 sources of information can be linked with your individual web pages or blogs to get into the voters’ homes easily.
Procedure for assembly if supplying return postage:
#1 Person – Supplies needed: Postage stamps, outgoing and return envelopes.
Put postage stamps on both outgoing and return envelopes and pass to #2 person with outgoing envelope on top. Put together quite a few sets (12) and then move to the #4 positions for a while.
#2 Person – Supplies needed: Address labels and ballots.
Record ballot number on last mailing label, place 1st mailing label on outgoing envelope, place second label on return envelope and pass ballot and both envelopes to #3 person.
#3 Person – Supplies needed: Ballot instructions and vote-by-mail notice.
Fold ballot (fold to line below Clerk’s signature so stub is extended) and stuff into that fold the ballot instructions and the vote-by-mail notice on colored paper; stuff that group into the flap of the return envelope and place into the mailing envelope. Pass this packet to the #4 person.
Seal the envelope.
ATTENTION VOTERS IN THE ROCKVILLE
If you fail to follow the instructions that are included with this absentee ballot, you will be unable to vote in this election because there will be No Polling Place for this voting precinct on Election Day.
For your ballot to be counted, your ballot must be mailed and clearly postmarked before Election Day (no later than November 2) or returned in person to the Town Clerk by Friday, October 30, 2009. Don’t wait until Election Day to return your ballot. By law, it won’t be counted. Don’t remove the numbered stub from your ballot. You are in the Rockville Precinct of Washington County. If you have any questions, contact your Town Clerk at 772-0992.
Ballot Register – Receiving the Ballots
(2) The County Clerk shall provide an Official Register Book to each municipality, after the deadline for voter registration has past, and all of the completed voter registration forms are input into VISTA, (Statewide Voter Information System) usually the Monday before the Election Day, thus updating the voter rolls with any newly registered voters.
After the ballots have been mailed, the County Clerk’s office (Washington County) finds that it is easy to track the information from the label sheets, all that needs to be done is for the County to receive either the original label sheets or a copy of them. Hopefully all of the municipalities document the ballot number that is issued to each voter on the label. The County Clerk’s office, can then just quickly scan and enter the ballot number into our VISTA system. Then the County Clerk can send you an Excel spreadsheet so you can quickly see the information for each voter.
The County Clerk will provide you with an Excel ballot register after you have emailed the ballot info from your labels, if you request one. This saves you from having to handwrite your ballot register. This spreadsheet will also be used to track the mailing date of the ballots, date the ballot was returned and any spoiled ballots or re-issued ballots.
After you have everything entered, put a rubber band around that day’s ballots, because the County Clerk needs them in order by date to scan them. The rubber bands make it easy to keep the ballots in order by date in whatever container you’re keeping your ballots.
This container should be kept in a secure place – a safe or a locked cabinet. Never leave ballots in an unsecure situation. If you aren’t going to be there any day, make sure someone puts the ballots that come in the mail in a secure place and that they are kept separate from the ones you’ve processed. (Outside the box, but still locked away.)
Not even half of you have voted! You’re running out of time! If you have already cast your vote, you can righteously bug everyone around you to do the same.
3/5 of a person
Before 1866, the Constitution of the United States deemed anyone who wasn’t a ‘free person’ (read slave) to be 3/5th of a person for the purposes of determining how many legislators a state was allowed. The 14th Amendment of the Constitution, ratified in 1866, guaranteed citizenship to former slaves and changed their status to ‘whole’ persons. It wasn’t until 1870 that the 15th Amendment was ratified, prohibiting states from ‘using a citizen’s race, color or previous status as a slave as a voting qualification.’ (Women were still essentially slaves then [as opposed to former slaves], so this amendment didn’t ensure their right to vote.) Utah wasn’t yet a state when this amendment was ratified.
If you really believe you’re a whole person, prove it. Vote today!
Instructions for Processing and Counting Ballots for Mail-in Election
Items needed to begin:
County register book (voter register)
Excel spreadsheet ballot register (ballot register)
Ballots, used & verified and unused
‘By Mail’ stamp, if used
Several sharp pencils and a pencil sharpener
Two tally sheets
Envelopes for disposition of ballots, total votes cast, ballot stubs, ballots and official election returns
Judges’ pay request
Disposition of ballots report
Total Votes Cast report
Large paper bag or box for ballot envelopes
If poll watchers are present, they must provide affidavits (see appendix)
Discuss with all present the importance of maintaining ballot secrecy and keeping any information about the vote or the results secret until after the polls close. Cell phones are allowed in the room during the count, but they must be turned off. Poll watchers must remain silent and not interfere with the process unless they contest a vote. Explain penalties for violation (see 20A-3-201(c), 20A-5-705, and 20A-5-701). Any poll watchers and judges must agree to these terms or be removed.
Verify that the number of ballot envelopes matches the number of ballots received on the Excel spreadsheet ballot register.
Verify that the number of mailing labels sent equals the number of names listed in the voter register book. If they don’t match, the difference can be determined at this point or it can wait until the tally is complete.
One judge or election official reads the name on the ballot, opens the envelope and either passes it to another judge or removes the ballot only far enough to read the number out loud.
The second judge marks in the voter register book that the person has voted by mail. (Stamp or write ‘By Mail’.)
The third judge marks the ballot register that the ballot has been verified. (Note: it isn’t uncommon for spouses to exchange ballots. If that happens, you can choose to change the numbers on the ballot register and accept the ballots.)
When the registers are marked, the 1st judge initials the stub and removes it from the ballot.
The first judge can then remove the ballot and place it, unopened, in the ballot box. That person should verify that only one ballot was in the envelope and that the envelope is empty when the ballot is cast.
After all ballots are verified and in the ballot box, the tally can begin. Only poll watchers and counting judges should be present for step 5. We believe the election official should step out until the tally is complete. (20A-4-105 (7))
Remove all ballots from the ballot box and count them into stacks of 20.
Verify that the total votes cast in the voter register book equals the total number of ballots. If there is a discrepancy, the ballot envelopes can be used to resolve the difference.
While the other judges tally, if there is a 4th poll worker present, that person can recount the ballot envelopes and place them in a bag with the count on the outside of the bag. This can also be done by the election official outside the counting room. Otherwise, this can be done after the tally.
Two judges will mark tally sheets with pencil while the 3rd reads the votes cast. By separating the ballots into stacks of 20, the tally can be periodically checked to make sure both tally sheets agree. Marking the place in the tallies with a red dot at each pause helps determine the starting place for each reconciliation. (i.e., III.)
If a cast ballot is unmarked or doesn’t have as many votes marked as indicated, it is not considered spoiled and should be counted as a cast ballot. Ballots that have more votes cast than allowed are considered spoiled and are marked ‘spoiled’ on the back. If you can’t reasonably determine the voter intent, consider it a spoiled ballot. Spoiled ballots are accounted for separately from the others, so keep them in a separate stack.
If the judges can’t reconcile a tally, we think it is appropriate only at that time to invite the election official in to help reconcile.
After all the ballots are counted and the tally sheets agree, complete the ‘Total Votes Cast’ report and sign it.
At this point, the election official may be invited back into the count room.
Undeliverable ballots should be so indicated in the voter register book so the county has that information.
Complete the Disposition of ballots using the voter register book, ballot register and ballots. This form was not created for mail-in elections. It will be necessary to write in lines for unreturned ballots, lost ballots, ballots destroyed by the post office, undeliverable ballots or other unforeseen mailed ballots issues. Provisional or spoiled ballots will be accounted for, also. Unmarked ballots are counted in ‘Number of Absent-Voter Ballots received’. Mark the top line, ‘Number of Official Ballots received’ -0- because all ballots are absent voter ballots. All lines referring to Poll Book counts are marked -0- because no poll book is used.
If not done earlier, reconcile any differences between the voter register book and the mailing labels. Hopefully there won’t be a difference, but if there is, the county needs to know.
Place used and unused ballots, stubs, total votes cast report and judges pay request into the appropriate envelopes. Ballot envelopes should be counted and placed in a bag or box and kept with returns.
Complete Poll Worker Pay Voucher.
Deliver all sealed envelopes to town clerk/election official.
Voting was not secret in the US until the mid-1800s. Before that, voters would be sworn in and announce their choices by voice. The secret ballot box was seen as a way to increase voter participation because voters couldn’t be scrutinized or intimidated by how they voted. The secret ballot box has the potential for fraud because there is no direct verification that the voter’s intent was followed. Voting electronically also has that problem. (Source: activoteamerica.com)
Some people are concerned that mail-in-ballots aren’t secret. It’s true that there is a very tiny opportunity for the judges to see your ballot and compare it to your name, but that possibility goes away if you refold your ballot in the same way it’s sent to you. The judges don’t ever unfold the ballots until they are separated from any identifier and all the ballots are put in a ballot box. Besides, those counting judges work fast – they don’t have time to think about who is voting for who. Anyone who would like to see the count should contact a candidate and ask to be appointed a poll watcher.
The Spectrum: Brian Ahern – email@example.com
Lt. Governor: fax – 801-538-1133 or elections@ utah.gov
Melanie Aplanalp: firstname.lastname@example.org
Your email list
Make posters for your three normal posting places
Your webpage if applicable
Other press people who have requested the information
If you know the date and time of the canvass, include that information
NOTE: Your notification should include how many votes each candidate received and clearly state that the results are ‘Uncanvassed Results’. You can include, if you want, your voter turnout information, including total votes cast, any provisional ballots and your return percentages.