Hand count elections

From: Nancy Tobi <nancy_dot_tobi_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Mon Nov 12 2007 - 10:39:21 CST

Arthur et al,

I have taken the liberty of renaming this thread. I think my 15 minutes of
fame were over quite a long time ago ;-)

It is a common misconception that population is a show stopper for hand
count elections. It is not the size of the town, or the population of the
city. *It is the number of registered voters in any given precinct that
matters. *In NY they limit- by law - the number of voters in a precinct to
something like 1,300. My understanding is that this is the case in many
states: they limit the number of voters in precincts so they are dealing
with a manageable population for vote counting.

1300 is less than a third (and even a fourth) of the number of registered
voters in NH's largest hand count polling places, yet NH counts those
ballots by hand on election night, and gets it done right because we are
using methodologies that are efficient and well managed.

Please see the attached Handbook, which is the condensed version containing
the methodologies and management estimate tools, without the background
information found in the full handbook - also available online at
democracyfornewhampshire.com

This handbook gives you the tools for estimating staff, cost and time based
on the number of contests. A contest being defined as a single member race
or yes/no question. The handbook provides explanation for extrapolating out
to multimember races.

Marian Beddill has taken this information and put it into a spreadsheet to
facilitate these calculations. This can be found here:

http://noleakybuckets.org/files/handcount-mb.xls

Hand counting:
You manage people, process, papers, and numbers. All it is is MANAGEMENT.
That's it. In America, we manage operations much larger and more complex
than the 33-contest ballots you describe above, Arthur.

In NH, one of our largest hand count towns has around 4500 registered
voters, and counted ballots in 2006 for around 2500 voters and a ballot that
had around 20 contests, using 21 people in less than 3 hours. This
particular town, Walpole, had the benefit of an entrepreneurial election
official who figured out how to use the sort and stack method (described in
the attached handbook) for multi-member races. He is the kind of guy who
looks at a process and whips it into shape. He is now retired from his real
job, and from his volunteer job as chief election official in his town, and
is running another successful venture as a local ice cream producer.

However, his legacy of efficient hand count management remains.

Best,

Nancy

On Nov 11, 2007 10:07 PM, Arthur Keller <voting@kellers.org > wrote:

>
> New Hampshire consists mainly of small towns. How would you
> hand-count the one million or so votes in the City of Los Angeles or
> the well over one million votes in the City of New York? Would you
> use computers to record and sum up the totals from each precinct? Or
> would you do that on an abacus?
>
> Best regards,
> Arthur
>
> --
>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Arthur M. Keller, Ph.D., 3881 Corina Way, Palo Alto, CA 94303-4507
> tel +1(650)424-0202, fax +1(650)424-0424
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Received on Fri Nov 30 23:17:21 2007

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