September 2008 Home   Newsletters

October 2008

November 2008

League will Monitor Courts Again (Annelle Amaral)
Board of Education Election
Monson Award at Elks Club November 13 (Elizabeth Reilly)
Why this Rail Project is Bad (Jackie Parnell)
How Many Votes to Elect a Mayor? (Jackie Parnell)
Historic Rail Tidbit (Pearl Johnson)
Weekly Bus Tours of Planned Rail Route
Primer on ConCon
Report from League's New Primary Election Observer (Kim Langley)
Welcome New Member
Go Rail, Go Broke (Charles Carole)
Membership Directory
Calendar of Events

Report from League's New Primary Election Observer

For years, Jean Aoki and Robin Loomis have been the election observers for the League of Women Voters. This year, with their warmest welcome, Kim Langley took over.

This was my first experience as an official observer for an election. I had not previously been involved in the election process beyond voting. During this past primary I observed how the vote was collected and counted. The process began at 8:30 a.m. with absentee ballots and ended with the manual audit and the printout of election results at 2:30 the following morning. In between, torn ballots were duplicated, counted ballots placed in a storage area, votes tabulated on computers, boxes of ballots brought in from the precincts, more votes counted, seals were removed, boxes were sealed, all with signatures from two witnesses, and the boxes of ballots were moved to storage. The basement of the State Capitol was full of activity.

I was impressed by the numbers of people who come in to work the election. Many of the people had been working the same team (absentee ballots or duplication, for example) for decades. The system also had numerous checks and balances that assured all concerned that the ballots were handled appropriately. The election workers frequently knew the role of the official observers and would prompt newcomers like me by saying “you need to walk with me now”.

Observers are there to be a check on the system. Anything we observe we bring to the attention of the chief observer, who then talks to the supervisor of the election workers. Overall this worked well. Issues were corrected promptly.

The Observers had a de-briefing a week after the primary to discuss what had been observed and what if anything could be improved. One area that had extensive discussion was the manual audit. Several Observers had reported poor directions being given to the manual audit teams, incorrect instructions being given, ballots left unattended for periods of time (ballots should never to be left unattended).

Other areas discussed were problems at the receiving area, when all the precincts are delivering their ballot boxes, and correct procedures for opening the absentee ballots. The Office of Elections said staff will address issues through better instruction to supervisors.

Kim Langley

September 2008 Top   Home   Newsletters November 2008