For each election, a board of elections must deliver a supply of Election Day ballots to each precinct at all polling locations. Following the election, the Ballot Reconciliation process attempts to account for all these ballots by comparing the total number of ballots delivered to a precinct to the sum of that precinct’s Election Day ballots cast, unused ballots, soiled and defaced ballots, and provisional ballots cast at the polling location. This process, much like the Poll Book Justification process, helps to ensure all ballots cast on Election Day were counted and that none of these ballots were scanned more than once.
- Generate a spreadsheet (or use one of the spreadsheets provided above in the Materials section) that lists the total number of ballots delivered to each precinct along with the number of ballots cast at each precinct according to the results. A column listing the total number of valid and invalid provisional ballots from each precinct should also be added to the spreadsheet (note that this number should not include provisional ballots that were not cast at the polling locations). The spreadsheet should also include columns to record the number of unused ballots and the number of soiled and defaced ballots for each precinct.
- Some of this information may not be initially available and must be gathered. The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections has implemented a “ballot box cleanout” process in which we ensure certain materials are in the ballot box e.g., voted ballots, unvoted ballots, security seals, poll machine tapes, etc. and that certain materials are not in the ballot box e.g., provisional envelopes, registration cards, poll book statistical summary pages, etc. During this process we also record the number of unvoted ballots and the number of soiled and defaced ballots.
- If the total number of ballots delivered to a precinct does not match the sum of that precinct’s Election Day ballots cast, unvoted ballots, soiled and defaced ballots, and provisional ballots cast at the polling location, it may be necessary to recount the precinct’s poll book signatures, examine any incident logs for that precinct and/or polling location, and perhaps even contact the poll workers from that location.
- If, upon further investigation, any precincts remain with unexplained differences, a hand recount of the Election Day ballots for that precinct must be conducted by a bipartisan team.
- If the hand recount of the Election Day ballots does not match the number of ballots cast according to the canvass results report, the ballots must be rescanned by a bipartisan team and the Election Day results for that precinct must be re-uploaded to the tabulator.