DEC 11, 2016At the table Katie was observing for Ward 31 in the City of Oshkosh, there was an absentee ballot not on the County List. There were two City lists and one had that ballot listed, one did not. They found the ballot attached with the registration of the voter. They were just starting to separate ballots into the different presidential candidates when we left due to first instructions and some minor delays at the table, one being two roll books being rechecked by another pair of tabulators after an elderly pair was questioned about correct counting. Katie noticed about 3 counts off by a number or two. Dan noted nothing out of the ordinary.
DEC 10, 2016I thought I submitted this report for 12/1 yesterday, but since I didn’t get a submission confirmation, I am submitting it again. I apologize if this is a duplication.The room was set up with four tables with eight to ten persons serving as tabulators at each table; there was also one person at each table designated as the chair who coordinated the table’s work. The chair was the only person at the table designated to take questions/problems to the head table where additional consultations were held. At the head table were the clerk of court, another person from her office, one representative from the Democratic party, and one representative from the Republican party. Each table was given a bag of ballots from a district; there were usually three wards in each district. The ballots were recounted by wards. I was impressed with the standard each table set for themselves to get the numbers to match within a margin of no more than a difference of 3. Each table counted to be sure the number of ballots/votes matched the number of people who signed in at the polls both during early voting and on election day. Also, the number of return envelopes was matched with the number of absentee ballots cast. Then the recount focused on matching the totals for Clinton and Trump by ward and district with the counts generated by the electronic voting machines. One table could not reconcile the number of votes cast with the number of ballots counted in District 12. (I think that was the district number.) After several attempts to reconcile the numbers, there was still a difference of 95. The table chair took the problem to the head table, where the smaller group reviewed the numbers and concurred there was a significant discrepancy that needed to be understood. It’s was decided that some ballots were missing so a police officer was sent to the place where machines and ballots are secured to check the machine for that ward/district. The officer returned with a stack of ballots that were sorted out by the machine as they all had a write in candidate in at least one of the races that appeared on the ballot. Because write-ins can’t be machine read, they are are sorted out and sethe aside in a separate part of the machine. These “found” ballots numbered 95, and the counts were then reconciled. In the meantime, the polling place captain had been called and brought in to explain the discrepancy. She watched the problem solving at the table. This problem and how it’s was addressed and solved was recorded in the official record for the county’s recount.I was impressed with the ability of the table chairs and the persons at the head table; their expertise in analyzing the counts done by the tabulators, the sign-in registers, and the machine which collected and counted the ballots was impressive. Equally impressive was the tabulators’ willingness to be sure their hand counts were accurate. I appreciated this opportunity to observe this process as its assured me that the election results in Winnebago County (WI) were as voters intended.
DEC 09, 2016Recount procedures were the same as I reported for 12/1 with a few new tabulators sitting alongside those who had worked together the day before at each table. Having had some experience working together already, the recount seemed to go smoother on my second day of observation. There were still some questions, but again they were handled professionally with reasoned problem solving skills and the ability to analyze why counts might not be identical; then going through the ballots again to find the problem. On the two days I observed, I found the recount to be carefully and accurately executed. I learned that the leadership, professionalism, and integrity of our county clerk made the recount in Winnebago County (WI) a valuable and honest process.
DEC 09, 2016There were four tables with eight tabulation at each table. The tables each had a captain who was the designee to talk with those at the head table (the clerk of court and one representative from the Democratic party and one from the Republican party). If a table group had a question or a concern, then the table chair explained the concern to those at the head table for their advice, insights, or intervention. There was every effort, including counting and recounting ballots from individual wards, multiple times to ensure that the number of ballots cast was the same or within 2-3 ballots of the number of voters who signed in to vote at that ward. It was also ensured that the hand count of the votes for the two major candidates matched the electronic reader machine’s totals. These same procedures were followed for absentee ballots. The number of envelopes received was reconciled with the number of absentee votes cast in each ward. One district had a significant discrepancy with the number of voters who signed in to vote outnumbering the number of ballots by almost 100. The head table was notified and it was determined that some ballots were still in the machine. A city police officer accompanied someone to the place where ballots and machines were kept and found the missing ballots in a machine. These ballots all had at least one write-in somewhere on the ballot, and therefore they had to be sorted by the machine and read by hand on election night. This had been done, but they also needed to be counted in the recount. Once found, the numbers matched. And the incident was recorded in the official record of the work for that day. I observed all four tables throughout my shift, and I was impressed with the care and the tenacity of all the recount volunteers and the county clerk, who handled every dispute/question with reasoned professionalism.