2007 Election Integrity/Voter Confidence Subcommittee Meeting Minutes

Lynda Roberts, Registrar of Voters, Elections


September 17, 2007

Registrar of Voters
Election Integrity/Voter Confidence Subcommittee Meeting
September 17, 2007, 4:30 p.m.
Registrar of Voters’ Office, Room 121 Marin Civic Center


A meeting of the Election Integrity/Voter confidence Subcommittee Meeting was held on September 17, 2007 at the Register of Voters’ Office. Present were: members Linda Bagneschi Dorrance, Anne Layzer, Bob Richard, Cat Woods and Elaine Ginnold and Michael Smith from the Registrar of Voters

Committee members discussed the Secretary of State’s additional post election audit requirements. The additional requirements beyond the manual tally of 1% of the precincts require a manual count of contests where the margin between the winning and losing candidates is 1% or less. This additional manual count is done in 10% of randomly selected precincts where the contest appears. There are also new discrepancies reporting requirements. Ms. Ginnold reported that although these additional auditing requirements are effective for elections in 2008, the office will follow them for the post election audit of the November 6th election. In addition, the ROV is planning to use the ballot imaging program provided by TrueBallot at no cost to the county in a pilot project to perform a supplemental audit of randomly selected precincts, pending approval by the Secretary of State.

The committee continued its discussion of ROV security measures for absentee voting and other issues based on Linda’s questions 4-7. The ROV will incorporate subcommittee suggestions into its security procedures for ballots, registration and absentee voting.

Regarding questions about measures taken by the ROV to prevent people from looking at how the voter voted, or tampering with the stored AV ballots, the committee discussed the following procedures:

  • 2-person rule – 2 people must be with the ballots when they are being processed. All ballot processing steps are required to be performed by teams of 2 people.
  • Separation of responsibilities: responsibilities for AV processing steps and ballot counting are assigned to different staff so that no one person has control over and access to the entire process (similar to accounting practices)
  • Remove the ballot from the AV envelope with name and address side down and separating the envelopes from the ballots before unfolding the ballots. Committee members suggested the ROV consider having two teams – one team to removes the ballot and the other team unfolds the ballots.
  • Store the ballots in a locked, alarmed room. Security system records the person, date and time of entry.
  • Inventory control and reconciliation of ballots. ROV records and reconciles the number of ballots delivered by printer, number of ballots issued to voters, number of ballots returned and counted/not counted and number of ballots left over.
  • All parts of the AV process can be observed by the public. It is important to make sure that the public can actually be close enough to see the process. Ms. Ginnold to find out if and why observers in LA County were prohibited from observing ballot counting during the November 2006 election.
  • ROV employees take an oath to follow the law. It is a felony to tamper with ballots or election results. EC Code 18400 et. seq.

Other questions discussed were:

  • How to make sure that ballots have no hidden identifiers on them?
    There are no barcodes or any other printing on the ballot used in Marin County that could identify the voters. A sample of the ballots used in the election can be made available for inspection by the public.
  • How to make sure that the ROV staff is not fraudulently registering voters or fraudulently registering voters and then voting absentee ballots for them?
    Fraudulently registering voters is a felony prohibited by EC Section 18100 et. seq. Every voter who registers must have a unique identifier – drivers’ license, CA ID number, last 4 digits of the social security number. A voter is not registered unless the numbers and name provided on the registration form match the numbers and names in the databases mentioned above. Voters must apply for an absentee ballot and the ROV checks all signatures on the AV ballots. If the signature doesn't match the ballot is sent back to the voter or not counted, depending on the number of days before the election. Ballots are sent via 1st class mail and are not forwardable.

Questions 8-14 will be discussed at the next meeting. Ms. Ginnold will develop a list of requirements from the Elections Code that are designed to prevent tampering with the election. There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 5:45 p.m. The next meeting will be at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 18.

May 10, 2007

Registrar of Voters
Election Integrity/Voter Confidence Subcommittee Meeting
May 10, 2007, 4:30 p.m.
Registrar of Voters’ Office, Room 121 Marin Civic Center


The Election Integrity/Voter Confidence Subcommittee met on Thursday, May 10 at 4:30 p.m. at the Registrar of Voters’ Office. Present were: Sherry Reson, Shirley Graves, Linda Bagneschi Dorrance, Bob Richard, Sherry Healey, and Elaine Ginnold, Registrar of Voters

Linda asked that the minutes of the meeting of April 24 be amended to more fully explain expectation for what “transparency of the ballot” means. Her amendment will be incorporated into the minutes of the 4/24/07 meeting.

The Committee reviewed and discussed the draft vote by mail procedures prepared by the Registrar of Voters and made suggestions which will be incorporated into the procedures. One suggestion was to include more detail about the process for checking signatures on the returned mail ballots. Elaine asked committee members to review the procedures and flowcharts provided and give feedback to her as soon as possible. Feedback received from subcommittee members will be incorporated into the procedures before they are posted on the ROV website.

Committee members discussed concerns regarding absentee voting, including:

  • People voting for mentally incompetent residents of nursing homes.
  • Ballot printers printing extra ballots that could then be voted.
  • Lack of ability to observe the entire election process when it is conducted only by mail.
  • ROV employees looking at the results before 8:00 on Election Day.

Linda and Sherry Healey explained their idea that absentee voting should be only for people unable to go to the polls on election day and of counting 10% of the ballots after the polls close on election night to provide an audit of the election. State legislation would be required to permit this type of audit.

The Committee asked Linda to revise her list of questions – to eliminate those that have been answered and add others that occur to her. The questions will be on the agenda for discussion at the next subcommittee meeting.

Elaine to give a report of the subcommittee meeting to the Election Advisory Committee and asked Linda to present her concerns about absentee voting and the idea of the post election tally at the polls to the full Committee at its meeting on Friday, May 18.

Elaine distributed a copy of the Secretary of State’s plan to review voting systems for information.

There being no other business, the meeting adjourned at 6:20 p.m. The next meeting will be on Thursday, June 14 at 4:30 at the Registrar of Voters’ Office.

February 13, 2007

Registrar of Voters
Election Integrity/Voter Confidence Subcommittee Meeting
Tuesday, February 13 2007


The Election Integrity/voter Confidence Subcommittee met on Tuesday, February 13th at 4:30 p.m. present were: Linda Bagnashi-Dorrance, Cat Woods, Bob Roberts and John Ortega. Also present were Michael Smith and Elaine Ginnold and Kenny Mostern

Kenny Mostern from True Ballot spoke about and demonstrated the vote counting system he uses to conduct union, assessment district and homeowners elections. The system uses off-the-shelf equipment and goes by the vote counting rules of the entity for which the election is being conducted. The ballots in this system are digitally scanned. The scanned ballot images can be reviewed on a screen and recounted after the election. Subcommittee discussed the possibility of using this as an audit mechanism to supplement the 1% manual recount after the election; however it appears that state law does not permit opening the ballot boxes to rescan the ballots unless there is a recount request. If this type of an audit were permitted, we would present the idea to the full Election Advisory Committee.

ROV reported that a high-speed central scanner for its voting system has not yet been certified, but if and when it is, the department will decide at that time whether or not to purchase it.

Update on election department reorganization – Michael Smith reported that his recommendation has been to separate the ROV dept. from the Treasurer’s Dept., but there has been no action on this as yet.

Advance notification of ROV items on Board agenda – Elaine Ginnold told committee that the board agenda is published by the Thursday before each board meeting and should be available on line. If there is an ROV item on the agenda, she will notify the advisory committee.

Input into voting machine/equipment purchases – The Registrar of Voters solicited input from organizations serving persons with disabilities before purchasing its AutoMark units. The department would ask for input from community groups, including the Election Advisory Committee, in the event that there is another voting system purchase planned in the future.

Committee briefly discussed the risks and benefits of mail voting and decided to ask the USPS to send a representative to speak about mail security at a future meeting and to continue the discussion of AV voting to the next subcommittee meeting.

Committee decided to change its meeting date to the first Wed. of each month at 4:00 p.m.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 5:50 p.m. The next meeting will be on Wednesday, March 7 at 4:00 p.m.

Quote from the meeting: “Good technology and good public vigilance are necessary to have good, accurate elections.”

January 16, 2007

Registrar of Voters
Election Integrity/Voter Confidence Subcommittee Meeting
Tuesday, January 16, 2007


The Voting Integrity/Voter Confidence Subcommittee met on Tuesday, January 16 at 4:30 at the Registrar of Voters’ Office. Present were: Cat Woods, Bob Richard, Anne Layzer, Linda Bagneshi-Dorrance, Tom Pattinson and John Ortega. Elaine Ginnold, Tony Aquilino and Melvin Briones were present from the Registrar of Voters’ Office.

Observations from the November 7, 2006 General Election

Committee members discussed their observations of the November 7, 6006 General Election, including: Voting at polls, Absentee voting and the post election audit as follows:

  • Discussed a report that came out less than one week before the election about a study of the Diebold OS scanner that was conducted by U of Connecticut researchers who found that there was access to the memory card through the serial port and modem on the back of the machine. ROV will bring sample of seal to next meeting. Committee recommends sealing all such openings to scanner with numbered, tamper-evident seals and have poll workers sign when they break the seal to the modem to upload results.
  • Discussed “sleepovers” of equipment. In Marin County, the Chief Inspector takes the scanner home after classes, which are held one week before the election. All Inspectors take an oath of office at the classes and are they are considered an extension of the election office. Consensus of committee was that the chain of custody that is established when the sworn Chief Inspectors take the sealed equipment is a better security measure than having a moving company leave the equipment at the polling place, where there may or may not be someone there to receive it, or a secure place in which to leave it.
  • Discussed the use of the indelible pencil for the Roster. Ms. Ginnold reported that indelible pencils are used for signing the Roster because they can’t be erased and don’t smear. They are also required to be used for signing the Roster by the CA Elections Code. She will bring one to the next meeting.
  • Provisional voters can find out if their ballot was counted by calling the ROV after the election. The number and message about this is on a receipt that the voter gets after voting the ballot. Approximately 20 people called about their provisional ballots after the November election.
  • Committee requested that the ROV stress the requirement to post the results tapes outside the polls at training classes.
  • Absentee voting: There was discussion of the increase in absentee voting and whether or not the county should promote it. There have been several articles mentioning the possible coercion of voters who vote by mail and vote selling The Oregon experience has shown that it increases voter participation and there has been no evidence of vote selling or coercion. Voters like voting by mail because of its convenience and the experience in Marin County is that it increases voter participation, especially in local elections.

Committee members discussed the following issues and made suggestions:

  • Print the amount of postage needed to return the AV ballot on the ballot itself when there are elections with more than one ballot.
  • Suggest different ways of updating the outside Roster.
  • Notify AV voters if their ballot was counted. Beginning in 2008, the voters will be able to track the receipt of the AV ballot on the ROV website.
  • Try to count 3% of the precincts (not retention selection for judges).
  • Put statistics on number of AV ballots that are not counted because they are mailed too late on the insert that goes into the AV ballot envelope.
  • Difference between Marin County and Ohio elections. Don’t know what Ohio Election laws are like, but California has very specific laws and requirements for elections. Also, the local county election officials are not selected on a partisan basis as they are in Ohio and Florida counties. In Ohio and Florida, there were long lines at the polls, which resulted in some voters becoming discouraged, and not voting. The frequency with which this happens is greater than votes being stolen by corrupt election officials.

Statement of Vote in format that can be analyzed.

ROV will contact El Dorado County to see how they create this type of report. Next step will be to contract with an Access database expert to construct a program that will provide the SOV in a format that can be analyzed.

Plan for elections in 2007-08

The Subcommittee will continue planning for elections in 2007-08 at its next meeting.

Other business

John Ortega brought up some of his concerns about voter registration and turnout of voters with Spanish surnames in Marin County. He was invited to the next meeting of the Voter Outreach and Education Committee on February 14th at 4:30 p.m.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 6:00 p.m. The next meeting will be on Tuesday, Feb. 13th at 4:30 p.m. at the Registrar of Voters’ Office. Future meetings will be held on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 4:30 p.m.