Quick Start Guides
Letter to Election Officials on Quick Start Guides
Quick Start Guide: Absentee Voting and Vote by Mail
Provides information about preparing and mailing absentee ballots. It includes suggestions for keeping a calendar of important dates for voter registration, printing, delivery and mailing ballots to military/overseas and absentee voters. Suggestions are provided on how to determine the number of ballots to print, reviewing outgoing and incoming ballot envelopes, and developing policies and procedures about processing ballots received. Additional tips are provided about tabulations, storage and security of absentee ballots, voter education efforts related to absentee voting and vote-by-mail.
Quick Start Guide: Acceptance Testing
Provides information about acceptance testing, which helps to ensure that newly acquired devices, as well as devices that have left the election official’s control, are functioning properly and configured correctly. The guide includes details about the types of tests performed, how these tests are conducted, and the maintenance of records once they are completed. The Quick Start has a broadly applicable, generic outline for conducting acceptance tests for the most common devices: ballot scanners, touch screen voting stations, and election management systems.
Quick Start Guide: Accessibility
Provides information and suggestions about incorporating accessible accommodations for various physical disabilities into all aspects of administering an election. It includes information about staff and poll worker training, programmatic accommodations, accountability for improving accessibility during election administration and outreach efforts using technology, and long-term care facilities.
Quick Start Guide: Ballot Preparation/Printing and Pre-election Testing
Provides information and steps for preparing and printing ballots including reviewing voting system documentation and procedures for recording the audio ballot, It includes considerations for state laws relating to the order and rotation of candidates’ names as well as headers and font size on the ballot. This guide also provides information about pre-election testing of hardware and developing an internal checklist for an audit trail with suggestions for logic and accuracy testing.
Quick Start Guide: Canvassing and Certifying an Election
Provides information about the purpose of a canvass and methods of accounting for every ballot used during an election. The guide includes suggestions for planning a canvass including distributing tasks and efforts throughout the election cycle, reviewing State and local laws and regulations, developing a timeline, documenting and certifying the election, and developing outreach efforts to the community to provide information about the process.
Quick Start Guide: Central Count Optical Scan Ballots
Provides information about optical scan voting systems and suggestions for administrative practices to consider before implementing a central count optical scan voting system. The guide discusses other considerations about switching to a central count optical scan voting system including voter intent determinations, voter education, blank ballots, over votes and under votes, polling place and central count locations.
Quick Start Guide: Conducting a Recount
Provides information about how Federal, State, and local laws and regulations can differ in the administration of election recounts and contests. The guide includes recommendations regarding the general management of recounts including pre-election planning steps, questions to ask about the process, post-election preparations, and the reporting of outcomes to candidates, media, and other interested parties.
Quick Start Guide: Contingency and Disaster Planning
Provides information about developing policies and procedures for administering an election during a major natural or manmade disaster. The guide discusses assistance at the State and local levels of emergency management, coordination in the event of a shortage of poll workers and/or supplies, and consolidation of polling places. Other topics include technological problems on Election Day and internal operation planning and debriefing sessions following each election.
Quick Start Guide: Developing an Audit Trail
Provides information about developing a formal record or audit trail of certain election components. An audit trail is an essential tool with which administrators can accurately evaluate policies and procedures established to conduct an election. Items such as documenting voting precincts, districts, and voter registration data are the first steps to consider. Tips are provided about developing a master checklist for documentation, validating absentee and early voting paper ballots, and managing supplies, equipment, and deliveries. The guide also covers how to perform a post-election audit.