Here are some questions and answers from the most recent webinar and live training sessions. Questions may be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why is it important not to pre-initial ballots?
If two ballots stick together and we mistakenly hand two ballots to a voter, only one of those ballots should be "live" (initialed by two inspectors). If someone were to insert two ballots into the tabulator, we would be able to identify which ballot had not been legitimately issued because it would not have two sets of election official initials.
What is a Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot Certificate?
An absentee certificate is what you see on the outside of an absentee envelope. It lists the voter's name, address, and ward.
The voter signs a certification on the envelope. This certification states that they are eligible to vote from this address, they marked their ballot in the presence of a witness, they marked the ballot by themselves (or with the help of a person from whom they requested assistance), and their ballot is sealed in the envelope.
The voter's witness signs a certification on the envelope. They are certifying that they are an adult U.S. citizen, they did not solicit or advise the voter in marking the ballot, and the name and address of the voter are correct.
A Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot Certificate is the absentee certificate for a Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot.
At the last election, the ID checker refused to return the voter's ID until the voter signed the poll book. Is this the correct procedure?
No. The official should hand the ID back to the voter after verifying that it is an acceptable form of ID, the expiration date is acceptable for that form of ID, the photo reasonably resembles the voter, and the name of the ID reasonably conforms to the name stated by the voter and found on the poll book.
I worked at a polling place with two wards that had only a single poll book table. Poll books for both wards were at that table. Officials checked one set of poll books and then the other to find each voter's name. Is this legal?
This is legal, but not very efficient. Unless one of the wards is very small (50 or fewer voters), it should have its own poll book table.
You are processing absentee ballots and checking the absentee voters into the poll book. If a voter comes into the polling place, should you step aside and let them get processed, or can you finish checking the absentees into the poll book?
Finish checking the absentees into the poll book. We are checking in three absentee voters at a time, so you should be able to finish quickly. When we stop in the middle of a process, we are more likely to make mistakes. And, if we abruptly stop processing absentees in the presence of a voter, that could raise suspicions for the voter. You offer greater transparency by finishing the process of checking those three absentee voters into the poll book.
What happens in the case of overvoted ballots? Does the tabulator detect this and show a screen?
Yes, the tabulator gives the voter the option to return the ballot or cast the ballot with errors.
For an overvote, is the voter given the same choices as a cross-over vote? Can they edit their original ballot, or request a new ballot?
An overvoted ballot has too many candidates selected for one office. The only way a voter can correct this is to discard the ballot in the discarded ballots envelope, and get a second ballot.
If a voter edits an original ballot with a crossover vote, won't the tabulator reject the edited ballot?
If a voter takes their ballot with a crossover vote and selects a political party preference at the top of the ballot, that tells that tabulator to look at only the section of the ballot for the party selected. Once a political party is selected at the top of the ballot, the tabulator no longer sees a crossover vote.
When the tabulator flashes the corssover or overvoted ballot screen, will this situation have to be resolved before the tabulator is able to accept any further ballots?
Yes. The ballot is being held in the tabulator feed tray, and the tabulator will not be ready to accept another ballot until we address the message on the tabulator screen.
What do we do with the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB)?
Process any FWABs at the end of the night. If you have already processed an absentee ballot for this overseas or military voter, that means their back-up ballot (FWAB) is not needed. Reject the FWAB and place it in your rejected absentee envelope.
If you have not already processed an absentee for a FWAB voter, that means their official ballot did not make it through the mailing process in time to be counted. Process the FAWB as the voter's absentee ballot, remaking the ballot onto an official ballot to be fed into the tabulator.
Do voters get to choose whether to vote with a paper ballot or with the ExpressVote machine?
Yes, they do.
It would be helpful to have the ballot marking instructions as signage on Election Day.
You will find this sign in your red Election Day signage folder.
Are you matching up the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballots (FWAB) and official ballots at City Hall?
No, we aren't. We are sending everything to the polls. On Election Day, any absentee envelopes with a certificate labeled "Voter Information" would be a FWAB. Process these envelopes last, at the end of the night. If the voter has already been assigned an absentee voter number, their FWAB can be rejected.
Is the second election official for registrations required?
The state doesn't require this. The second set of eyes on each registration is a City of Madison policy. If you have election official no shows on Election Day and are too short staffed for this, please call the Clerk's Office.
If a party is marked but no candidate is marked, will the tabulator warn the voter?
Why have a second registration official at the ballot table (or poll book table)?
We get a lot of calls on Election Day from voters who researched voter ID before registering to vote at the polls, and are convinced that officials were picking on them by making them show a second document such as a lease or utility bill. They are confusing proof of address with proof of identity. We want to completely separate the proof of address and proof of identity processes to minimize confusion for the voter.
You say to carefully avoid pointing to any political party or candidate on the ballot. Does that mean that an election official can't respond to a voter asking where to find a particular party's section of the ballot?
No. What you want to avoid is pointing to the name of a party as you tell the voter to choose a party at the top of the ballot.
So if you want to vote for six Democratic offices but would like to choose a Republican for one political office, you can do so by submitting two ballots (one Democratic ballot and one Republican ballot)?
No. Each voter is limited to one ballot. Each voter is limited to one political party of their choice for the Partisan Primary.