Election records and transparent elections, September 21, 2012

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
FOIAchat was a weekly conference on Twitter from 2 PM to 3 PM EST under the hashtag #foiachat. The discussion invited collaboration between activists, citizens, bloggers and journalists on public records requests topics. Topics included the Freedom of Information Act and state equivalents, open meetings laws, and related issues.

FOIAchat was decommissioned in 2013. Read our legal disclaimer.

Discussion questions

What does the election monitoring process look like? What part of the process is public?

  • Big part of monitoring lies in partisans keeping eye on other side. Not much public about that aspect.
  • I know that the Elections Assistance Commission has public information available.
  • Interestingly, EAC didn't even exist until after 2000 debacle.
  • Elections Assistance Commission now sits w/o commissioners or an executive director.
  • In Illinois, civil organizations can have poll-watchers observe the process.
  • Guide for Illinois Poll Watchers.
  • Luckily, the partisan nature of elections builds in monitoring safeguards by publicizing shortcomings of opponents.
  • For election debate/ad monitoring, factcheck.org Fact Check is a great resource!
  • Contacting Precinct Chairs is a great way to monitor the actual elections as well.
  • What happens post election, timeline-wise?
  • Local canvass by poll workers. Reporting to media. Real canvass of votes start.
  • The municipal canvass is supposed to double check the work of the local board of canvassers.

Types of election monitoring

There are 3 forms of election monitoring: 1) Pre polling, 2) polling hours, 3) post polling.

  • Pre-polling: verify poll lists, verify poll worker qualification. verify poll location staffing rules are followed. Verify the certification docs for the voting equipment (docs for 8 of 18 systems in WI not available) pre-election testing.
  • I'd imagine pre-polling to include voter rolls, registration accuracy, etc.
  • During polling monitoring is more restricted. During includes extended and early voting as well as voting on publicized date.
  • Post polling: immediate canvass in the polling location. Do the simple numbers (e.g number of ballots cast) tie out? If not why not?
  • Post: examine inspectors reports, compare voter marked voted ballots to software generated numbers.
  • Post: distribution of voting by absentee, in-person, and early voting. Checking same day registrations.
  • Post: Process Audits against election manual. Is everything done documented? is everything documented done?

When requesting voting machine data what strategies exist, what docs to request? Machine info often considered proprietary.

What do you do if you suspect a problem with the consistency/legitimacy of an election?

  • Generally, you report election fraud to your state's Secretary of State.
  • Could go to voter machine source codes to verify machine integrity.
  • BBV has 4 pillars of an election: 1) who can vote 2) who did vote 3) the vote count process 4) chain of custody. Corrupt any one of the four pillars and you shape the election out come.
  • can vote = poll lists before /on Election Day include electronic databases for place with electronic poll books
  • did vote = poll lists after Election Day including electronic databases for places with electronic poll books
  • For electronic voting, chain of custody of data between the precinct and election authority is a critical component.
  • Chain of custody = seals, signature, security logs, event logs (including electronic versions of such).
  • I think an irregularity of 640 ballots of 1562 is fraud. WI GAB diagreed. Ruled "Mistakes were made."

What key polling documents exist?

  • The inspectors' report. If it isn’t on the inspectors' report, it did not happen. Absence from the inspectors' report trumps even video from a legal point of veiw in WI.
  • Inspectors' reports should contain signatures (often don't), number of ballots handed to voters.
  • Inspectors' reports: seal number for the machine, memory cards, ballots bags.
  • Reports include: Itemization of each incident encountered during the polling day (or polling week for early voting)
  • Where can you find inspector's reports?
  • In WI request ata minimum forms: GAB-104 and 105. complete list is here:gab.wi.gov/forms (GAB:100-119).
  • I'd try to get list of registered voters before and after election; list of voters voting in election.
  • Comparing precinct voter file history stats and electronic election results can be difficult; different prec. names used in KS.



11 participants: @BrianMcDaniel @ClerkBase @coryeuc @DianaLopezArt @EarlGlynn @FOIAchat @johnwashburn15 @kristie_de @MuckRockNews @SunshineStandrd @WatchdogLabs