Central Count Ballot Scanning Verification
A substantial number of ballots for each election—such as Absentee/Vote by Mail and Provisional ballots—must be centrally counted (i.e., scanned at the board of elections). Central Count Ballot Scanning Verification is a process that helps to ensure all ballots received by a board of elections that must be centrally counted are indeed scanned and that none of these ballots are scanned twice.
- Precinct-specific envelopes
- Labels for hand count
- Labels for Ballot Scanning
- Central Count Ballot Scanning Verification Log Sheets
- Central Count Ballot Scanning Verification Blank Spreadsheet
- When the mailing envelopes containing ballots that must be centrally counted are received by the board of elections, they should be entered or scanned into a database by a bipartisan team and then sorted by precinct. The number of mailing envelopes entered into the database should then be compared to the number of envelopes sorted, and any discrepancies should be investigated.
- The mailing envelopes should then be opened and the ballots for each precinct should be hand counted by a bipartisan team. One ballot per mailing envelope is expected. Once again, the number of ballots hand counted for each precinct should match the number of envelopes received for that precinct, and any discrepancies should be investigated.
- The ballots for each precinct should then be placed into a precinct-specific scanning envelope with the hand counted number of ballots for that precinct written on a label on the outside of the scanning envelope. If the election has ballots with multiple pages, the number of page ones, page twos, and so on should be recorded on the label, as well as the total number of ballot pages.
- A binder containing scanning log sheets (see the blank log sheets provided in the above Materials Needed section) should be assembled for each High Speed Optical Scanner. These log sheets should contain spaces for a bipartisan scanning team to record the number of ballots (or ballot pages) scanned for each precinct, as well as the number of any ballots that had to be removed for remakes, the number of orphan ballots removed or added, and any ballots with write-in votes.
- When the ballots for a precinct are scanned, the bipartisan scanning team should compare the scanned number of ballots (or ballot pages) as indicated by the High Speed Optical Scanner with the hand counted number of ballots (or ballot pages) written on the envelope. If the numbers do not match, a second hand count of the ballots should be conducted to determine whether an error was made while scanning or during the original hand count.
- If the numbers for that precinct match, or if the original hand count was incorrect, the scanning team should record the necessary information for that precinct on the scanning log sheet and also note the revised hand count on the envelope label, then move on to the next precinct. Provided below in the Sample section is an example of a completed scanning log sheet.
- If the numbers for that precinct do not match because of an error made while scanning, then the prior scan for that precinct should not be uploaded to the tabulator, and the ballots must be properly scanned a second time.
- A database or spreadsheet should be used to ensure the number of scanned ballots matches the number of received ballots. The information entered into this database/spreadsheet should come from the scanning log sheets, and should also be able to record remakes, orphans and write-in ballots.
- Note: While The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections currently utilizes an advanced database for this process, a basic Microsoft Excel spreadsheet was used prior to the development of the database. Provided above in the Materials Needed section is a sample of the Central Count Ballot Scanning Verification spreadsheet template previously used by the CCBOE which has the basic functions necessary for this process.
- If possible, compare the totals from the spreadsheet/database to the scanned totals listed on the high speed scanners.