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2020 Election Administrator’s Conference

Dale Simmons. Co-General Counsel. Indiana Election Division. ABSENTEE VOTING: THE END. Processing and Counting Absentee Ballots. Absentee Ballot Central Count. General Introduction. Began as a pilot project in 1993 now required for all counties*.

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2020 Election Administrator’s Conference






Presentation on theme: " 2020 Election Administrator’s Conference"— Presentation transcript:

Slide1

2020 Election Administrator’s Conference

Dale SimmonsCo-General CounselIndiana Election Division

ABSENTEE VOTING: THE END

Processing and Counting Absentee Ballots

Slide2

Absentee Ballot Central Count

General IntroductionBegan as a pilot project in 1993 now required for all counties*No resolution required to opt in and a county may not opt outMarion County has special requirements and procedures

*IC 3-11.5-1-1.1

Slide3

Absentee Ballot Central Count

Features of Central CountAn absentee ballot record is maintained for each person in SVRS*Absentee ballots counted by bi-partisan absentee ballot counters with county election board resolving any disagreement of counters**Lists of absentee voters delivered by couriers to the Inspectors to mark in paper pollbooks or electronic poll books updated with absentee information***

*

IC 3-11.5-4-1, IC 3-11-4-17;

** IC 3-11.5-4-13(e); ***IC 3-11.5-4-1 , IC 3-11.5-4-8

Slide4

Absentee Ballot Central Count

Step by Step: Initial ProcessBefore Election Day, county election board (or absentee voter board) compares signatures on ballot envelope and absentee ballot application or other signature on file CEB unanimously finds that the signature is genuine then absentee ballots securely stored by precinct in a labeled container until Election Day* (Sample Form CC 1)If CEB finds signature is not genuine then CEB writes on the absentee ballot envelope: “The county election board has rejected this ballot because the signature is not genuine”**

*IC 3-11-10-4; IC 3-11.5-4-5, IC 3-

11.5-4-6; **IC 3-11.5-4-4

Slide5

Absentee Ballot Central Count

Step by Step: Initial ProcessCEB identifies absentee ballots of first-time Indiana voters who registered by mail and checks with the county voter registration office to see if residence document submittedIf the residence document submitted add a notation to ballot envelope indicating it was submitted*If residency document has not yet been submitted CEB adds a notation to the ballot envelope substantially as follows*:

*IC 3-11-10-4.5; IC 3-11.5-4-12(c)

ABSENTEE BALLOT COUNTERS: AS OF (insert date) THIS VOTER WAS REQUIRED TO FILE ADDITIONAL DOCUMENTATION WITH THE COUNTY VOTER REGISTRATION OFFICE BEFORE THIS BALLOT MAY BE COUNTED. CHECK TO SEE IF THE VOTER HAS FILED THIS INFORMATION. IF NOT, PROCESS AS A PROVISIONAL BALLOT IF THIS BALLOT OTHERWISE COMPLIES WITH INDIANA LAW.

Slide6

Absentee Ballot Central Count

*IC 3-11.5-4-1(2), IC 3-11.5-4-8; **IC 3-11.5-4-1(3) ; IC 3-11.5-4-15(c)

List Or No List?

Slide7

Absentee Ballot Central Count

List Processing Where ePB Not UsedPre-mark poll book or provide list to inspector: The circuit court clerk may either pre-mark the poll list with absentee voting information or provide a certified list to the inspector with this information to mark the poll list on election day”* (Sample Form CC # 2 for certified list) “Supplemental” List(s) provided on election day if required: Additional list(s), if any, contains absentee voters voting after delivery of the fist list and is certified by the county election board and delivered by absentee couriers to the polls on Election Day (CEB can authorize use of one courier by unanimous vote)** (Sample Form CC # 3)

*IC 3-11.5-4-1;

**IC 3-11.5-4-8, IC 3-11.5-4-22

Slide8

Absentee Ballot Central Count

List Processing Where ePB Not UsedInspector marks pollbook: Prior to marking a pollbook from a list, Inspector must notify any challenger or pollbook holder of absentee voter’s name and address*First List: If the clerk has not pre-marked the poll list, then as part of the preparation of polls Inspector shall mark names of absentee voters on the first list into the poll book and poll clerks shall certify Inspector did so** (Sample Form CC # 2)“Supplemental” List (if any): Inspector shall mark names of absentee voters on any supplemental list into poll book and poll clerks shall certify Inspector has done so on the list***(Form CC # 3)

*IC 3-11.5-4-15(b);

**IC 3-11.5-4-24; ***IC 3-11.5-4-9(b)

Slide9

Absentee Ballot Central Count

List Processing Where ePB Not UsedInspector places processed lists and any challenge affidavits into a return envelope and Inspector and poll clerks sign statement on envelope indicating lists have been processed* (CC Form # 4)Absentee Ballot couriers return envelope to CEB and sign a statement printed on envelope that they have not tampered with envelope **(CC Form # 4)

*

IC 3-11.5-4-9(c) and (d)

| **IC 3-11.5-4-9(e)

Slide10

Absentee Ballot Central Count

Step by Step: Process at Central LocationDeadline to receive ballots is noon election day except for mailed absentee ballot from overseas voters*Once absentee ballot couriers return materials, or ePBs updated through noon, absentee ballot counters can begin processing that precinct**Exception for counties that use ePBs and pass attached Resolution # 1 (more later)Except in Marion County, a team of absentee ballot counters must process only one precinct at a time but county may have multiple teams of counters***

*IC 3-11.5-4-10;

**

IC 3-11.5-4-11;

*** IC 3-11.5-6-4, IC 3-11.5-6-5, IC 3-11.5-6-21

Slide11

Absentee Ballot Central Count

Step by Step: Process at Central LocationVote center counties, and counties that use electronic poll books for in-person absentee and on Election Day, may adopt a unanimous resolution to permit absentee ballot counters to begin counting any time after 6 a.m. on Election Day* (Sample Resolution # 1)Absentee ballots must be processed by the absentee ballot counters prior to counting; and Electronic poll books must be updated to reflect receipt of the absentee ballots not later than 12:01 a.m. on Election Day If adopted, the resolution may only be repealed or amended by unanimous vote of the board**

*IC 3-11.5-4-11(d); **IC 3-11.5-4-11(e)

Slide12

Absentee Ballot Central Count

Step by Step: Process at Central LocationParties, independent candidates for federal or statewide office, and the media have the same right to watchers at an absentee central count location as they have to watchers at the polls*A watcher at a central location used for counting absentee ballots has the same rights and must follow the same requirements as a watcher in a polling place

*IC 3-11.5-3

Slide13

Absentee Ballot Central Count

Step by Step: Process at Central LocationAbsentee Ballot Counters open the container with the absentee ballots for the precinct, confirm the ballots are grouped by precinct, review returned lists, and check for challenge affidavits* (CC Form #1)If county does not use ePB, challenges to absentee ballots, if any, are made in the precinct and returned with the lists to the central location**If county uses ePB, any challenges are made at the central location by a CEB member or CEB designee**A challenged absentee ballot is processed as a provisional ballot**

*IC 3-11.5-4-11, IC 3-11.5-4-12, IC 3-11.5-4-13, IC 3.11.5-6-5; **IC 3-11.5-4-15

Slide14

Absentee Ballot Central Count

Step by Step: Process at Central LocationCounters, review absentee ballots for any other issue affecting validity of ballot*Whether signatures correspond or there is no signatureWhether qualified voter of the precinctThe ballot is open or has been opened and resealed (does not apply to military/overseas voters voting by Fax or email)Bi-partisan initials missing from ballot (once envelope opened)

* IC 3-11.5-4-13

Slide15

Absentee Ballot Central Count

Absentee Central Count ProceduresThe CEB may adopt a unanimous resolution applicable to absentee ballots cast in-person (clerk’s office, satellite office, or travelling board) that provides as follows:Absentee ballot counters are not required to review the signatures on these absentee ballots on Election DayAbsentee ballot counters are not required to find that the absentee voter is a qualified voter of the precinct for these ballots(See Sample Resolution # 2)*CEB (or absentee board) must still perform a preliminary signature review of absentee ballots**

*IC 3-11.5-4-12 (f) and (g); **IC 3-11.5-4-4, IC 3-11.5-4-5

Slide16

Absentee Ballot Central Count

Absentee Central Count ProceduresAn additional thing the absentee ballot counters check the voter lists (or ePB) for is to check if a voter on the list voted at the polls If absentee voter voted at the polls their absentee ballot is rejected**Rejected ballots are placed in a separate envelope marked “rejected absentee ballots” with the name of the precinct and date of election* (CC Form # 5)

IC 3-11.5-4-13(a)(4)

Slide17

Absentee Ballot Central Count

Absentee Voters Voting in PersonIn general, a person requesting an absentee ballot may not vote in person at the polls on election day*Exception # 1: A voter who has received an absentee ballot but not returned it may return the ballot to the inspector and vote at the polls*Exception # 2: A voter who requested an absentee ballot by mail but did not receive the absentee ballot may complete a PRE-5 and vote at the polls*Exception # 3: A voter whose absentee ballot was received after noon on Election Day or whose ballot was rejected as defective by the absentee ballot counters if the voter appears before the CEB by 5 p.m. and obtains an ABS-21 signed by the ballot counters or CEB members and presents the ABS-21 at the polls** These exceptions assume the voter is otherwise qualified to vote and is not challenged.

*IC 3-11.5-4-18; **IC 3-11.5-4-21 , IC 3-11.5-4-13(f)

Slide18

Absentee Ballot Central Count

Step by Step: Process at Central LocationIf absentee ballot counters agree to reject a ballot then they write “rejected” on the ballot envelope, placed the ballot in a separate envelope marked “rejected absentee ballots” with the name of the precinct and date of election* (CC Form # 5)If absentee ballot counters don’t agree then CEB settles disagreement**If additional residence document required for first time voter who registered by mail and absentee ballot counters find that the document has not yet been provided, the ballot is processed as a provisional ballot**

*IC 3-11.5-4-14 ; ** IC 3-11.5-4-12(c)

Slide19

Absentee Ballot Central Count

Step by Step: Process at Central LocationAll accepted absentee ballots are opened and the ballot is removed without unfolding or permitting a ballot to be unfolded or examinedThe accepted ballots are placed in a separate envelope with the name of the precinct on the envelope** (CC Form # 6)

*

* I

C 3-11.5-4-12(b) and (d)

Slide20

Absentee Ballot Central Count

Step by Step: Process at Central LocationCounting Begins- Ballot Protest for Ballot CardsAn absentee ballot counter or CEB member may “protest” counting all or part of a ballot*If absentee ballot counters do not agree on protest the matter is referred to CEB**Once absentee ballot counters or CEB make a determination on protested ballot the absentee ballot counters write “counted” or “not counted” on back of ballot and person protesting ballot shall sign the ballot (if it’s a ballot card)***

*IC 3-11.5-6-6

| **

IC 3-11.5-6-7

|

***IC 3-11.5-6-8

Slide21

Absentee Ballot Central Count

Step by Step: Process at Central LocationBallot cards arranged by precinct before counted on an automatic tabulating machine* and may be counted with the assistance of another person to run the tabulator**Damaged ballot cards may be remade by bi-partisan “remake team”***A remade card must be marked “duplicate” and contain the same serial number as the original ballot****

*IC 3-11.5-6-5;

**

IC 3-11.5-6-3;

***IC 3-11.5-6-9; ****IC 3-11.5-6-12

Slide22

Absentee Ballot Central Count

Step by Step: Process at Central LocationOnce counting is complete absentee ballot counters do the following: Prepare a certificate of votes cast and deliver the certificate and tabulator print-out to CEB*Place the following in a bag or container marked with precinct name: a) All ballots; b) Voter lists; c) Tally papers** Seal and initial the container, mark the precinct name on the container, and notify the clerk of the number of ballots placed in the container, and deliver the container to the clerk**Complete Oath of Absentee Ballot Counters and provide to clerk*** (CC Form # 7)

*IC 3-11.5-6-19, IC 3-11.5-6-20;

**IC 3-11.5-6-21; ***IC 3-11.5-6-22

Slide23

Absentee Ballot Central Count

Absentee Votes Cast on DRECounty election board makes determination whether any ballot must be rejected and shall void any ballot the board determines must be rejected (reasons for rejection are listed in IC 3-11.5-4-13)Absentee voters are given a unique ID entered into the voting system at the time they vote so that the voter’s ballot can be later cancelled if necessary without viewing the ballotCounty election board tabulates the remaining ballots and produce a printout for each precinct in which a ballot has been cast

*IC 3-11.5-8

Slide24

Absentee Ballot Central Count

Step by Step: Process at Central LocationCEB includes absentee vote totals in its canvass of vote totals for each candidate and public question in each precinct*It is a Level 6 felony for any person to release to the public information regarding the number of absentee votes cast for a candidate or on a public question before the polls close**

*IC 3-11.5-4-28 ; IC 3-12-4 | **IC 3-11.5-6-32 ; IC 3-14-4-10