Dealing with Provisional ballots

From: Steve Chessin <steve_dot_chessin_at_sun_dot_com>
Date: Wed May 19 2004 - 14:44:47 CDT

I looked at the FAQ, I searched the archive, and I don't see a discussion
as to how EVM will deal with provisional ballots.

If the voting station is just an "electronic pencil", and does no
counting of its own, then it's easy: after printing and optional
verification, the ballot goes into the envelope on which the
provisional voter has filled out the usual information (name, address,
party affiliation if primary, signature). The provisional ballot is
not scanned (counted) at the precinct, but goes back to election
central, where some days later it is determined if the voter is
entitled to vote or not, and if so the ballot removed from the envelope
and scanned and counted. This is how it works today with paper-based
systems (including punch card and optical scan).

But if the voting station also counts the votes for a semi-official
result, as does a DRE, then it's harder. The procedure we used in
Santa Clara County (Sequioa AVC Edge(TM)) was this:

- Voter not on roll, or claims different party status, so fills out and
  signs a provisional ballot form.
- Poll worker activates card as a provisional ballot. Activation
  machine
  displays a sequence number, which poll worker copies to the form.
  The number is also written to the smart card.
- Voter puts card in machine and votes. Machine reads provisional
  number from card and associates it with the cast ballot. The votes
  from the cast ballot are NOT included in the summary totals. Cast
  ballot, with provisional number, is written to memory card (as are
  all cast ballots).

At end of day, memory cards returned to election central, along with
provisional ballot forms. Summary results uploaded from cards for
semi-official results. Later, all cast ballots are uploaded as well.
Provisional forms are manually processed, and for each one deemed
eligible, the corresponding cast ballot is "released" from provisional
status, and its votes added to the totals, by the election central
computer system.

The scenario on the FAQ implies the "electronic pencil" approach, but
I've also seen postings that imply that the voting station will also be
reporting semi-official totals, which makes it more like a DRE and thus
complicates the software.

Which approach is OVM using?

Thanks,
--Steve
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Received on Mon May 31 23:17:54 2004

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