Election Management Guidelines
EMG Chapter 16: Provisional Ballots
HAVA establishes a voter’s right to cast a fail-safe, or provisional, ballot in Federal elections. Voters cast provisional ballots for a variety of reasons, and many States have created various additional requirements for fail-safe ballots. This chapter discusses how States have developed statewide standards for processing provisional ballots including how standards direct local election officials and/or election boards to count provisional ballots in a uniform manner. This chapter will guide an election official through creating internal elections office procedures for provisional ballots from form design through final certification.
EMG Chapter 17: Technology in Elections
Voting technology has changed substantially over the years. New voting options provide accessibility, security, and privacy for the voter. This chapter aims to provide information on innovative uses for technology in the elections office and the voting process including tips on managing cost, maintenance, and replacement of technology.
EMG Chapter 18: Elections Office Administration
The elections office is often the smallest agency in local government until Election Day, when it often becomes the largest. Managing an elections office, however, can be a full-time job with some of the most complex responsibilities expected of a public servant. This chapter aims to help election officials implement the most efficient processes for managing an elections office.
EMG Chapter 19: Accessibility
Every day, election officials work to make elections more accessible to the public. More than ever before, newly accessible voting machines have facilitated independent voting for voters with disabilities. This chapter also includes information about voting in long-term care facilities with examples of ways to improve accessibility and to incorporate these good practices into all aspects of election administration.
EMG Chapter 2: System Security
This chapter reviews the factors election officials might consider to enhance voting system security. The discussion includes software security related to installation, monitoring, networking, and transmitting results. It also includes a section about possible policies and procedures for promoting system security among elections office staff, vendor personnel, and the public, as well as tips on password maintenance.
EMG Chapter 3: Physical Security
This chapter references the standards, procedures, and actions election officials might take to protect voting systems and related facilities and equipment from natural and environmental hazards, tampering, vandalism, and theft. This chapter includes sections about conducting a security review, issues with paper ballots, personnel, voting equipment, and peripheral devices. It also highlights potential security concerns at various points during the election process.
EMG Chapter 4: Acceptance Testing
Acceptance testing of voting systems is perhaps the most important function that local election officials conduct in order to ensure the security and accuracy of their elections. This chapter covers acceptance testing for optical scan ballot counters, touch screen voting stations, and end-to-end voting. Additionally, a sample of how to conduct touch screen acceptance testing procedures is provided.
EMG Chapter 5: Ballot Building
Easily understood ballots are important for a successful election. This chapter discusses issues common to all types of ballots (paper-based and electronic) and highlights specific considerations for touch screen ballots, optical scan ballots, and audio ballots. It concludes with information about testing and validating of the ballots before use in an election.
EMG Chapter 6: Pre-Election and Parallel Testing
This chapter reviews pre-election Logic and Accuracy (L&A) testing, which is the act of testing every ballot style and every component of the voting system prior to the election. The chapter also includes sections about parallel testing before and during Election Day and post-election testing for election officials to consider. Testing helps to ensure that elections are administered in a fair, accurate, and transparent manner.
EMG Chapter 7: Absentee Voting and Vote by Mail
Ballots are cast by mail in every State. However, the management of absentee voting and vote by mail varies through the nation based on State law. Differences relate to State laws, rules and regulations that control which voters can request a ballot by mail. This chapter provides information including and specific procedures on ballot preparation, mailing, reception, processing, storage, and security.