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Five EMG Chapters

Comment  Creator  Last Modified 

Chapter 12: Building Community Partnerships

·        Page 3 (Intergovernmental) – encourage State participation in emergency operations as State level coordination can improve resources and communication.

·        Page 5 (Poll workers):

o       Add suggestion to consider public perception if business or organization participating in "Adopt a Polling Place" program is also active politically (either supporting candidate or known for its support of an issue).  This can be overcome but a jurisdiction developing a program should consider this issue.

o       In discussion about using high school students, suggest adding parenthetical reference to labor laws since an election official may not automatically think of labor laws when reading the phrase "jurisdiction’s code and regulations."  Also, suggest offering pollworker training sessions at the high school or college if there are a sufficient number of interested students.

·        Page 6 (Polling Places and Vote Centers) – add suggestion to consider public perception if facility is known for its political activities.  Also suggest contacting state election office to see if there are any federal funds available under § 101 or §261 of the Help America Vote Act to improve accessibility of a polling place.

·        Page 8 (Managing Partnerships) – In the 7th bullet, replace comma with period at the end of the bullet.


nbainestrella 09/09/2009 10:27 AM

Chapter 13: Canvassing and Certifying an Election

·        Page 10 – why distinguish between "absentee" and "uniformed and overseas citizen ballots" when UOCAVA ballots are absentee ballots? 

·        Page 12 (Observers) – recommend having a form that all observers must use if they are want to challenge or discuss an issue they observed with an election official.  This helps  manage the canvass and means that observers  challenging an action of the canvassing board or raising an issue must document their issue.

·        Page 13 (Preparing for the Canvass) – In the 9th bullet, add "or" after the semi-colon.

·        Page 13-15 (Conducting the Canvass):

o       There is no discussion or "best practices" about the actual counting of ballots. For example, include suggestions on how to open ballot envelopes that have identifying information on the envelopes to preserve the secrecy of the ballot, whether there should be a bi-partisan team feeding ballots into the scanner, etc.  If "process" in the opening sentence of the provisional and challenged ballot paragraph means "count," suggest changing to "count."  "Process" may mean the review of the provisional ballots to determine whether they should be counted or not.

o       While canvasses are governed by State law and the document includes that caveat, the suggested canvass process is very specific in light of that caveat.  For example, the audit described on page 14 and presenting the reconciliation may or may not be part of the actual canvass but may instead be part of the pre-canvass activities and post-canvass reconciliation.  As it is written (i.e., using the verb "will" (instead of "should")), however, it gives the impression that this is the way a canvass must be conducted.  Suggest creating a new section titled "Canvass Reconciliations and Verifications" and move the audit text to this section with a statement that these activities should be done but leave open whether they should be done during the canvass or when preparing for the canvass.  Ultimately, it’s more important that it be done, not when it is done.

·        Page 15 (Certifying the Election):

o       Similar to the comments about the audit, reconciliation may or may not be done as part of the public canvass.  Suggest creating a new section titled "Canvass Reconciliations and Verifications" and move the reconciliation text and bullets to this section with a statement that these activities should be done but leave open whether they should be done during the canvass or when preparing for the canvass.

o       In the 4th paragraph, it seems to imply that the canvass documentation is part of the certification documentation.  This may or may not be the case; if the canvass is different from the certification, there will be two sets of documents – canvass documentation and certification documentation.  Suggest adding new section on "Documentation" and include information about both canvass documentation and certification documentation.

o       "Documenting the Canvass" – is this a subheading under "Certifying the Election" or a heading like "Certifying the Election"?  Because the canvass process is likely a different process than certification, it should be of the same weight and size as "Certifying the Election." 

§         As noted above, should be entitled "Documentation" and include both canvassing and certification.

§         Suggest including reference to State law governing open meetings.  To the extent that canvassing and certification are open meetings under a State’s open meeting law, the law may specify how notice of the meeting must be given and the types of records (i.e., minutes) that must be created and maintained.

§         Suggest adding sentence about how election materials must be stored for 22 months pursuant to federal law.

nbainestrella 09/09/2009 10:28 AM

Chapter 14: Communicating with the Public

·        Page 19 (Information for Voters) – Add a period between the 5th and 6th sentences.

·        Page 20 (Developing Communication Methods):

o       Suggest adding a footnote with an example of a sentence written in active voice and a sentence written in passive voice.

o       For consistency, remove periods at end of the 3rd and 9th bullets. 

·        Page 21 (Official Election Office Website) – suggest testing the accessibility of website.  State or county agency that serves individuals with disabilities may offer a free review of an election office’s website.



nbainestrella 09/09/2009 12:05 PM

Chapter 16: Provisional Ballots

·        Chapter currently only addresses provisional voting on election day.  Include mention of provisional voting during early voting, even if just an acknowledgement that the recommendation apply to provisional voting during early voting.

·        Where appropriate, suggest incorporating the voter registration application into the provisional ballot application.  This means that an election official does not need to send a voter registration application to a provisional voter who was not registered to vote on election day.  The election official can just process the voter registration portion of the application in anticipation of the next election.

·        Page 36 – In the 1st sentence of the 4th paragraph, use double quotes (not single quotes) around "jurisdiction."

·        Page 37:

o       The introductory phrase in footnote 20 does not relate to sentence to which it refers.  The lead-in language in the footnote should be something like: For more information about provisional voting in the states, . . . .

o       In the 5th bullet, add "and" at the end.

o       In the paragraph after the bullets, delete "weeks" in the last sentence.  Certification does not always occur "weeks" after an election.  In Maryland, it usually occurs within 8 or 10 days after an election.

o       In the last paragraph, replace semi-colon with comma.

·        Page 38:

o       In the last sentence above the note for the LA County provisional ballot envelope, add "Election officials should also" before "incorporate clear guidelines on issuing provisional ballots into any poll worker training guidelines."

o       In the paragraph under the LA County provisional ballot envelope, for consistency purposes, the citation to HAVA should be a footnote and the reference should be to the United States Code.  See footnote 42.

o       Testing Materials, Policies and Procedures – While it is important to understand the amount of time it takes for a voter to complete the provisional voting process, the focus should be on the successful completion of the provisional voting process, rather than the speed.

o       Suggested rewrite of the first sentence of the paragraph below the numbered paragraphs:  If required by law, election officials may include representatives from the political parties with candidates on the ballot.

·        Page 39 (Pollworker Training): The paragraph above the 2nd "note/tip" box includes the following sentence:  Once the poll workers have attempted to help a voter cast a traditional ballot, it is important that poll workers understand that they must issue the voter a provisional ballot if requested.  (Emphasis added.)  It should not be incumbent upon the voter to request a provisional ballot; the poll worker must offer and issue a provisional ballot if the voter meets the criteria for a provisional ballot.

·        Page 40 (Election Day Administration): Is "cast" the right verb in the 3rd sentence in the 3rd paragraph?

·        Page 41 (Collecting Provisional Ballots): In the 3rd sentence of the 2nd paragraph, it is recommended that the poll workers reconcile the number of provisional voter signatures with the number of sealed provisional ballot envelopes.  If the provisional ballots are deposited into a locked ballot box/bag, the poll workers cannot perform this reconciliation.  If want to provide specifics (rather than just recommending reconciliations), suggest adding "or number of provisional ballots issued less any spoiled ballots."

·        Page 42: In the 2nd paragraph, there is a recommendation to sort by reason the ballots were cast.  What are the reasons for making this recommendation?  In Maryland, we recommend sorting by precinct (enables them to find more quickly a provisional ballot and if there is a close election, the canvassing board can start with the precincts in the district with the close election) then within each precinct, accepted in full, accepted in part, or rejected.  It might be more useful to list the various ways of sorting (by precinct, by reason issued, etc) and the advantages and disadvantages of each way.

·        Page 43:

o       At the end of the 1st sentence in the 1st paragraph, suggest adding "or count them on a separate unit or memory card."  It is not necessary to wait to count them as long as the results from these ballots can be removed from the results if the order is overturned.

o       In the last sentence of the 1st paragraph, suggest adding "counted and" before "secured." 


nbainestrella 09/09/2009 10:29 AM

Chapter 15: Conducting a Recount

·        Page 27:

o       The last sentence of the opening paragraph implies that election results are not certified if an election is close.  Certification is the step that makes election results final; recounts (at least in Maryland) cannot start until certification occurs.  Suggest removing last sentence.

o       The last sentence of the 2nd paragraph presumes that the public is uncertain about election results.  If there is empirical support for this statement, add citation; if not, remove sentence. 

·        Page 28 (Timelines) – the word "recount" is missing in the sentence before the "Note/Tip" box.

·        Page 29 (Staff):

o       There is no recognition of a recount on a DRE.

o       Are provisional ballots included in "Poll Ballot Sorting Teams" or should they be listed separately?  What about ballots voted during early voting?  Are they included in "Poll Ballot Sorting Teams"?

o       Should there be additional text after "Security"?

·        Page 30 (Cost) – consider including vendor support costs to list of costs to consider

·        Pages 31-32 (Materials for the Public):

o       In the 5th paragraph, add a period 2nd and 3rd sentences.  (page 31)

o       In the 6th sentence, the "I" in "information" should be lower case. (page 31)

o       In the list of questions to include in a FAQ document, include questions about handling of memory cards for DREs.  Also add question mark at the end of the 10th bullet. (page 32)

·        Page 32 (Conducting the Recount) – In previous chapters, the word "contest" (rather than "race") was used.   For consistency purposes, the same word should be used.

·        Page 33 – Under 1st "Note/Tip" box, replace "will" with "should."  Since these are recommendations, "should" is more appropriate.

nbainestrella 09/09/2009 12:05 PM

Chapter 15: Conducting a recount.

Page 28 Last paragraph before Timelines: I think the election official must also consider Communications. The last sentence on page 32 mentions to explain when the public can expect periodic updates, but it is too late to first mention this when the recount is actually starting.  Depending on the level of interest in the recount, the media & public will want to know how this will occur prior to the start of the recount.  Its not just "when" they can expect periodic updates, but "how".  Will recount results be updated on a website?, by precinct? hourly, daily? Will results by precinct be posted at recount site? Are copies of recount results available to public?  I think under communications, the recount official should also be considering whether or not they will be holding press conferences on a regular basis during the recount. etc. and working them into their schedule.  (The official should be prepared to answer daily spin from the candidates or explain any unexpected issues which might arise during the recount).  Is there any type of a challenge resolution process which will be conducted by the canvass board?  Will copies of challenged ballots be publicly available? Will recount canvass board meetings be webstreamed, televised? Also could be under Communications or its own topic: How will public information requests be handled?  The official should know what materials are public information and what is non-public -  i.e. copies of absentee ballot envelopes, provisional ballot envelopes, polling place rosters, election night precinct results, canvass reports, etc. that may be requested by the candidates prior to the start of the recount.


Page 28/29 Staff:  There should be some mention of the jurisdiction's attorney/legal advisor being present or available for consultation during the recount.


Page 33 Following the first tip:  This may be a method of recounting, but is not the only method and use of "will" should be "may".  Other possible methods of counting ballots should either be listed or this specific method should be removed and the paragraph should mention that ballots will be recounted pursuant to local laws and regulations.  If the intent is to provide an EAC-recommended practice for counting, I would oppose this particular method being the recommended practice.


Page 33 Following the second tip:  The work flow paragraph assumes the recount occurs without any challenge to the counting by the candidate's representatives.  Some mention needs to be made of a resolution process that would happen either during the recounting of the ballots or that challenged ballots may need to be separated and kept secure for resolution by a recount canvass board at the end of the process.




gposer 09/14/2009 12:12 PM

Page 9, Recognizing Partners section, remove "be" from the sentance "everyone likes to be receive recognition"

dbedford1 09/14/2009 12:07 PM

Chapter 15, page 33 Description of recount teams is too specific.  This should be generic to allow election officials to follow the guidelines set by the individual state.

dbedford1 09/16/2009 01:06 PM

Chapter 16 page 40.  Sentance "Provisional votes can be cast by paper or direct recording electronic voting machines."  needs to have added "as required by the rules and statutes of the state". 

dbedford1 09/16/2009 01:15 PM


1) Chapter 13, Timelines - Pg. 11, 1st paragraph, suggest beginning the first sentence with the word "Establishing."  To read: "Establishing a comprehensive timeline will be one of...."

2) Pg. 11, 3rd paragraph, 1st sentence, add the word "the" between "all of" and "steps" To read: "The timeline will include all of the steps related to...."

3) Pg. 12, 4th paragraph, 4th sentence, change the word "conducted" to "conducts" and change the word "these" to the word "the" to read: "Even if the elections office conducts a briefing for observers prior to the canvass, it is advisable for election officials to make the rules for conduct and behavior available at entrance points to the observation room." 

4) Pg. 12, 6th paragraph, 1st sentence, change the word "board" to "boards" and delete the words "and the" to read: "Regardless of how the observers, canvass boards, and elections office staff are separated,...."

5) Conducting the Canvass - Pg. 14, 4th. paragraph, 3rd sentence, insert the word "the" between "than" and "number" to read: "If more votes are cast than the number of voters who...."

6) OFFICIAL CANVASS ELECTION OBSERVER RULES OF CONDUCT AND BEHAVIOR..., Pg. 17, Rule 6 states that "Observers are prohibited from photocopying or recording any part of the canvass operations...."  Is this based on statute or administrative rule?  If so, where would I find this provision?

7) OFFICIAL CANVASS ELECTION OBSERVER RULES OF CONDUCT AND BEHAVIOR, Pg. 17, Rule 8, insert the word "may" before "not" and "be" following "not" and change the word "directly" to "directed" to read: "All questions concerning a procedure must be directed to the supervisor in charge and may not be directed to employees."

8) Chapter 14, Pg. 19, Information for Voters, 4th. sentence is missing a "." at the end.

9)  Pg. 19, Information for the Public, 1st sentence is a little akward, recommend: "The public looks to elections offices for answers about voting as well as the process."  For the second sentence, I recommend the following: "Individuals who would like to take part in the election as poll workers, should be able to easily locate informaton on how to volunteer their time."

10) Distributing Communication Materials, Official Election Office Website, Pg. 21 1st ph., 1st sentences seems to be missing some words.  Recommend: "Most voters have become accustomed to using the Internet to find basic information about voting including how to register to vote, how to find a polling place and how to request an absentee ballot."

11) Chapter 15, CONDUCTING A RECOUNT; Timelines, 3rd ph., last sentence is missing the word "recount."  Should read: "Especially with respect to the after-ElectionDay part of the timeline, election officials must include enough time to conduct a recount after the canvass of votes."

12) Pg. 29, "Security" is not defined.  Recommend: "Security Personnel are responsible for  enforcing the laws and rules established to ensure the orderly conduct of the recount."

13) Pg. 29, Training, 2nd ph., 4th sentence is a little akward.  Recommend: "For example, much like a polling place certain items, such as cameras and voice recorders, should not be allowed in areas inwhich a recount is being conducted."

14) Materials for the Public, Pg. 31, 1ph, 2nd sentence, recommend changing the word "on" to "of" to read: "However, certain portions of the manual may also be used...."




smcrill 09/18/2009 04:26 PM
  smcrill 09/18/2009 04:28 PM
  dpalmer 09/18/2009 05:08 PM

Chapter 12 Building Community Partnerships; Types of Partnerships, Intergovernmental (page 3),

Recommend the following: 

Early Relationship Building with state and local emergency operations is crucial to obtaining the power service and equipment necessary to continue to run local elections despite natural or man made disasters or other event that interrupts elections.  It is important that each elections official (state and local) have a Continuity of Operations (COOP) plan that has been tested and exercised in place.  

In the event of a disaster, all materials and items are prioritized by emergency officials and developing an early relationship will ensure that your equipment needs are in their priority que post disaster.  lt may be necessary to replace damaged computers and equipment to run an election locally and unless emergency officials are aware of your potential needs in advance, it is unlikely to be a priority.  Everyone willl be at the table is requesting assistance and unless emergency officials are aware of your pending elections and your issues, chances are they are not aware of the full extent of your needs.  A well-run election during and after a natural disaster is a sign of continuity of government and should be prioritized as such.  It gives peace of mind to the citizens that government is working. 

One particular preparation point:  It is critical that election officials, in coordination with state election officials, provide to the utilities prior to any disaster, the street address (zip +4) and precise physical location of their polling places.  With street signs down, darkness, raised water levels, and other elements, the power companies are using GPS to locate the polling places and determine if the building can be energized.  In the event of a natural disaster or other emergency, this information will allow the utilities to be confident they can effectively reach your polling sites and make it more likely to become a priority.  In the event of a natural or man made disaster, it is useful to note that the areas around hospitals or other critical nodes of government will be restored to power first.  In planning early voting, precinct, or voting center locations prior to or after a disaster, it may be prudent to locate these polling places near these critical nodes where restoration of power and other utilities is considered a priority. 


dpalmer 09/18/2009 05:54 PM