Dear Citizens;

I have found that many well-meaning actions by citizens and by legislators, defined rules, laws, and procedures which created problems because their scope included circumstances not perceived by the writers. To attempt to minimize that situation, I finally have accomplished this long-standing task -- an attempt to specify and list every known method of casting ballots in the US, and every known method of counting ballots (votes) in the US.

This information is donated to the common good, and may be used freely by others - a reference to the source would be nice - this is part of my NoLeakyBuckets.org site. I used one source - en.wikipedia.org.

Contributions for changes are welcome: - ballots@noleakybuckets.org

It is essential for democracy that voting and vote-counting be done right, because.....
"If you cannot trust the way your votes are counted, nothing much else in politics matters!"   -  -  Marian Beddill 2003


BALLOTS; AND BALLOT MARKING AND BALLOT HANDLING SYSTEMS:

A ballot is a device (etymology: originally a small ball) used to record choices made by voters. Each voter uses one ballot, and ballots are not shared.
Last edited May 2007. - visits: [an error occurred while processing this directive]
Contents:
PAPER SYSTEMS
MARKING VVPB's:
COUNTING VVPB's:
TOTALLING VVPB's:
AUDITS AND RECOUNTS - VVPB's:

MARKING (VOTING WITH) DRE's:
COUNTING DRE VOTES:

MECHANICAL SYSTEMS

REPORTING VOTES - ALL SYSTEMS:


PAPER SYSTEMS

    Paper ballots - VVPB:
  • In a jurisdiction using a paper system, a voter indicates his or her voter intent by personally marking a ballot that is usually pre-printed with the candidates and referenda. (VVPB = Voter-Verified-Paper-Ballot)

      Paper ballots - VVPB - may be delivered to voters, marked and collected by...
    • delivered by fax or other electronic transfer to any location, before election day, marked anywhere, and collected via electronic means, before, on, or (if postmarked/certified by that day) after election day
    • delivered by fax or other electronic transfer to any location, before election day, marked anywhere, and collected via the postal service, before, on, or (if postmarked by that day) after election day
    • delivered by mail to any location, before election day, marked anywhere, and collected via the postal service, before, on, or (if postmarked by that day) after election day
    • delivered by mail to any location, before election day, marked anywhere, and collected at a collection station before or on election day
    • delivered by mail to any location, before election day, marked anywhere, and collected at a poll site on election day
    • delivered by hand to voters, marked and collected at an early-voting site, before or on election day
    • delivered by hand to voters at the voters' correct polling site on election day, marked and collected there
    • delivered by hand to voters at any polling site, as a provisional ballot, on election day, marked and collected there


MARKING VVPB's:

    Paper ballot marking, manually:
  • In a jurisdiction using an optical scan system, a voter indicates his or her choice(s) by personally filling an oval or completing an arrow on the OpScan ballot next to the printed candidates and referenda.
  • In a jurisdiction using a punch card system, a voter indicates his or her voter intent by removing a perforated chad from the ballot next to his or her choice(s). The punch card ballot can either be....
    • pre-printed with the candidates and referenda, or
    • a generic ballot placed under a template with a printed list of candidates and referenda.
    Paper ballot marking, electronically:
  • In a jurisdiction using a BGS, "Ballot Generator System", ballots may be delivered to voters, marked and collected by...
    • being presented in person to voters, marked and collected at an early-voting site, before or on election day
    • being presented in person to voters, marked and collected at a polling site, on election day
  • a voter indicates his or her choice(s)..
    • by pushing a button next to each candidate and referenda contest in a printed list, or
    • by touching the selection box next to each candidate or referenda contest on a touchscreen interface.
  • Once the complete selections for all contests are made by the voter....
    • the BGS prints a paper ballot, which may be (should be) verified by the voter, then either....
      • the voter rejects the printed tentative paper ballot, and with the assistance of staff, returns to the voting process, or
      • the voter accepts the printed paper ballot as correct
    • and the BGS terminates the voting process with voter verification on a paper ballot, and
    • the paper ballot is physically collected into a ballot-box or OpScan counter..



COUNTING VVPB's:

The results of voting may not be reported until the close of the polls!
    Paper ballot counting - manually:
  • The paper ballots may be manually counted by election officials....
    • before the polls have closed, the results not reported.
    • after the polls have closed.

    Paper ballot counting - electronically:
  • The paper ballots may be electronically counted by election officials....
    • at an early-voting station with an OpScan
    • at the polls with an OpScan
    • at a satellite-tally site with an OpScan
    • at a central-tally site with an OpScan
    Ballot recording - electronically:
  • The OpScan votes may be electronically recorded and counted by ....
    • creating a graphic image of the ballot, which is stored and used for counting, or...
    • recording the votes directly into a database

TOTALLING VVPB's:

    Vote Tallies consolidation - manually:
  • The Vote Tallies where VVPB's are counted manually, may be manually computed by election officials
    • at the polls
    • at a central-tally site which collects subtotals into a master computer at the central-tally site
    Vote Tallies consolidation - electronically:
  • The Vote Tallies counted by computerized systems which counted VVPB's, may be electronically computed by election officials.
    • at an early-voting station with OpScans, which send subtotals to a master computer at the early-voting station site; then those counts are transmitted to....
      • a satellite-tally site, or
      • a central-tally site
    • at the polls with OpScans, which send subtotals to a master computer at the poll site; then those counts are transmitted to....
      • a satellite-tally site, or
      • a central-tally site
    • at a satellite-tally site which collects subtotals into a master computer at the satellite-tally site; then those counts are transmitted to the central-tally site
    • at a central-tally site which collects subtotals into a master computer at the central-tally site.


AUDITS AND RECOUNTS - VVPB's:
  • The VVPB ballots may be manually counted. They must be hand-counted for a double-check of any machine system, and in the event of a dispute.



DRE'S:

MARKING (VOTING WITH) DRE's:
    Direct Recording Electronic voting system (DRE):
  • In a jurisdiction using a direct recording electronic voting system (DRE), ballots may be delivered to voters, marked and collected by...
    • being presented in person to voters, marked and collected at an early-voting site, before or on election day
    • being presented in person to voters, marked and collected at a polling site, on election day
  • a voter indicates his or her choice(s)..
    • by pushing a button next to each candidate and referenda contest in a printed list, or
    • by touching the selection box next to each candidate or referenda contest on a touchscreen interface.
  • Once the complete selections for all contests are made by the voter, either....
    • the DRE terminates the voting process without voter verification or a paper ballot, or
    • the DRE prints a tentative paper ballot, which may be (should be) verified by the voter, then either....
      • the voter rejects the printed tentative paper ballot, and returns to the voting process, or
      • the voter accepts the printed paper ballot as correct, and the paper ballot is physically collected into a ballot-box.
    • and the DRE terminates the voting process with voter verification on a paper ballot.

COUNTING DRE VOTES:
  • each DRE creates an electronic record stored in its memory, which... .
    • may be a representation of all the choices on the individual ballot of the voter, or
    • may be only a running total of all the choices on all the ballots of the voters who have used that machine, or
    • may be a running false total of all the votes desired by the system programmers or operators, or
    • may be a running false total of "votes" due to system errors.
  • the electronic records stored in the memory of each DRE may be....
    • transmitted electronically to a satellite system, or
    • transmitted electronically to a central system, or
    • hand-carried (by "sneaker-net") on portable recording media (a thumb-drive) to a satellite system, or
    • hand-carried (by "sneaker-net") on portable recording media (a thumb-drive) to a central system
  • a central system collects the electronic records stored in the memory of each DRE, which may be....
    • tallied before the polls close if transmitted electronically , or
    • tallied after the polls close.



MECHANICAL SYSTEMS

    Mechanical voting (not really ballots):
  • In a jurisdiction using a mechanical voting system, a voter indicates his or her choice(s) by pulling down a lever next to a printed list of candidates and referenda. When the lever is pulled, it causes a connected gear in the machine to turn a counter wheel. The position of each counter wheel after the polls have closed will indicate the number of votes cast on each lever. The lever total is transcribed by the election official to the corresponding choice(s) determined at the election. No ballot is used in this system. Mechanical voting systems are being replaced by other voting systems because they are inaccessible to voters with disabilities, the exclusion of a ballot, and other reasons. This analysis will give no more consideration to Mechanical voting.



REPORTING VOTES - ALL SYSTEMS:
  • After the polls have closed, the system reports the totals to the election official, and....
    • the totals are placed on a website, or
    • the totals are not placed on a website.




Credits: Some text used here was derived from a page at wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballot