Some Suggested "Best Practices"

Last Updated:   6/25/24  19:28

As the Chief Judge for Precinct 19-19, I have found the practices listed below work well for our precinct. Although many may be unique to our precinct and operations, some (probably modified) might be useful in other precincts. I provide more details about some procedures in Activities before and after an Election.

There are some related pictures in my sign portfolio. Also, the albums with pictures for each election are on my website under the "Election Preparation and Results" section. See Google Photos hints if you are unfamiliar with viewing such albums.

Some of the Special Procedures and Considerations in Precinct 19-19

  1. Communication and documentation
    1. Create public documentation (explanatory text files, lists, diagrams, photos, etc.) to communicate with Precinct Officials, the Coordinator, the BOE Staff, and Precinct 19-19 voters. I maintain a website with many of these files for the current and past elections.
    2. Maintain many lists for my own use, e.g, to-do's, notes about items to be printed, information about Precinct Officials and assignments, contact data, lists of items to bring where and when, data about our school polling place, etc.
    3. Establish reliable two-way email communication with Precinct Officials. Spam filtering has often been a problem. Email is critical for such things as making assignments and resolving problems.
    4. Use the Nextdoor social media network to communicate with many voters in our precinct, e.g., to alert them about an upcoming election and provide a link to "Information Mainly for Precinct 19-19 Voters". This 19-19.htm web page has much background information about elections in general, as well as some details about Precinct 19-19 and its polling place.
    5. Give a handout to each curbside voter. It warns about carpool lines, noting how to find the current times to avoid. It also provides a diagram for proper entry to the curbside area.
    6. Post a map to a nearby porta potty, when one is provided by the Town of Rolesville. Campaign workers can use that facility; they cannot use the school's restrooms.
  2. Organizing the Chief Judge hardcopy material
    1. Use two 3-ring binders to hold:
      • The BOE documents, e.g., the Manual and Quick Guides.
      • The material I have created, e.g., the things noted in item 1 above.
      Note:  I have to make holes in some of the BOE documents to put them in a binder. That's hard to do for the thick Manual -- I use a hammer and nail, then a power drill with increasing size bits, and finally a rat-tail file to make the three holes.
    2. Use pocket folders to collect and then distribute items to specific areas at Monday Setup, e.g., there is a folder for each of these areas: Clipboard, Set Up, Ballot Table, Packing Up, Help Table, Inside Signs, Outside Signs, Curbside, and Distribute.
    3. Use clipboards for taking notes during the day and to make oath and pay sheet signing easier.
    4. Rearrange the Chief Judge Binder contents, gathering all the poll-closing items into just one of its folders:
      • Two purple stamped envelopes
      • "Reconciliation Form"
      • "Election Day Pay Sheet"
      • "Oath Sheet"
      • "Voters in Line at 7:30 P.M." form
      • "Voted Ballots" labels
      • "Unvoted Ballots" labels
      • "Reconciliation Items" blue plastic bag
      • "Emergency Bin Ballots" clear plastic bag
      • "Thumb Drive Gold Envelope"
  3. Setting up the polling place
    1. Make a furniture restoration diagram showing how we should restore the room before leaving on election night. Creating the diagram involves visiting the polling place before each election, meeting with school personnel, and taking many pictures of the current arrangement.
    2. Make signs for the polling place if there are no appropriate BOE signs or more are needed.
    3. Use file jackets with attached sheets of paper to insert over the top of BOE sign stands. For example, this allows much larger letters to be put on the Registration Table letter signs.
    4. Use masking tape for carpet/floor and driveway marking, e.g., to make direction arrows. This tape sticks much better than blue tape in high-wear areas and is much more visible on dark surfaces such as dark carpet and asphalt. Note that masking tape does not stick well on wet asphalt.

      Use a red Sharpie to mark on some of the tape arrows for emphasis. Carefully test that the red ink will not bleed thru the type of masking tape used.

      In fact we have now switched to use red painter's tape for our carpet arrows. The brand I got from Amazon sticks better on the carpet than blue tape and no Sharpie marking is required.

    5. Use blue tape, not cellophane tape, to attach signs to glass doors. We tape signs to the inside of our glass entry door instead of to the outside; that keeps the signs out of the weather. It is easy to remove blue tape in contrast to cellophane tape, which can leave pieces stuck to the glass. Of course use blue tape for hanging all inside signs, not just for hanging signs on glass doors.
    6. Use the gray bin as the container for critical items to be moved outside in an emergency. Place it behind the Ballot Table. During the day, keep the bin empty except for ballots and ATV bags.
    7. Take inside and outside photos of the polling place after completion of Monday Setup. Make the pictures available to all via Google Photos.
  4. On return home after Monday Setup
    1. Check the pollbooks to make sure they are organized correctly.
    2. Get the Precinct 19-19 Last-Minute Absentee List from the Precinct Officials website.
      • Mark with a pink "A" the associated pollbook labels.
      • Use the VRNs to double-check that the right labels will be marked.
    3. Use a PC to print two copies of the Last-Minute Absentee List.
    Note:  The current "Chief Judge Pocket Guide" indicates the Chief Judge should use a cell phone at Monday Setup to get the Last-Minute Absentee List and then presumably handwrite the two needed copies. The PC-based procedure listed above seems easier and much less prone to errors.
  5. Before the polls close
    1. Have the three Judges sign as many of the "Voted Ballots" and "Unvoted Ballots" labels as possible, but not more than will be needed. This saves a good amount of time that would otherwise be required after poll closing.
  6. After the polls close
    1. Have the Ballot Table Official complete my "Ballot Count Reconciliation" worksheet and then prepare a draft of the standard "Reconciliation Form". I include a blank copy of both the worksheet and the form in the Ballot Table folder. I recommend filling them out using a pencil to make it easier to correct arithmetic errors.

      If this Ballot Table work is done, then during the later "Reconciliation Items" bag (Blue Bag) processing the Chief Judge and Judges can just quickly verify the draft numbers and then copy the numbers to the official "Reconciliation Form" in ink. This speeds up the end-of-day processing.

    2. Have a designated Packing-Up Coordinator to organize all the packing up and furniture restoration while the Chief Judge and Judges are doing the poll-closing administrative work with the Tabulator, ballots, bags, etc. Provide detailed packing-up instructions to help get everything in the right place. A checkbox is provided for each item.

      The packing-up instructions specify how to use a "Return to Jeff" collection box and a "Jeff's Signs" collection box to collect and sort out some of the smaller items.

    3. Have a "Blue Bag" collection box for some "Reconciliation Items" bag (Blue Bag) material. This is used during the Tabulator close process and in general collects many items that will eventually be sealed in the Blue Bag.
    4. Tabulator tapes can take a long time to print. Try to overlap tape printing with other processing done by the three Judges.
  7. After Election Day
    1. Post a completed "Ballot Count Reconciliation" worksheet on my website. This records the counts we reported to the BOE and how we derived them.
    2. Prepare a draft postmortem report and submit it to the Precinct Officials and Coordinator for comments. After incorporating their input, post the final report on my website and notify the BOE Staff. The postmortem includes a link to the Google Photos album for this election.
Jeff Knauth
Chief Judge for Precinct 19-19