This is what was read to the group who volunteer. Becoming part of the team who opens the Mail In Ballots is easy. Go to your local county Election Board website and sign up to become a precinct worker…you can get information while there to email or call about being on these teams. Those in Sarasota County, Florida can get information here
I add this so to be covering my own self when doing this and any other post I may write in the near future.
Statue 101.5614 is where you can read all about Florida’s Election Law.
“Any supervisor of elections, deputy supervisor of elections, canvassing board member, election board member, or election employee who releases the results of any election prior to the closing of the polls in that county on election day commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in sec. 775.082, sec. 775.083, or sec. 775.084.”
I had the opportunity to work with the Election Board here in Sarasota, Fla. It was a truly educational and informative experience.
I give my upmost respect to the fine people I had the pleasure to work with.
and Ron Turner (Supervisor of Elections) and all the others I came encountered during my time there.
CHAPTER 101VOTING METHODS AND PROCEDURE Once the Mail In Ballots were starting to arrive in at my local Election Office teams of two are brought in to help the regular staff with the process of getting ready to open the Mail In Ballots.
Step ONE~ ballots AREN’T opened at this point just yet. Signatures are checked
Step TWO~ ballots are then separated by PARTY, then each party group is separated by PRECINCT. There are also groups of those ballots that have different FL addresses (outside the Sarasota County) as well as those coming from out of State.
Step THREE ~ This is when the the Ballot become what is called LIVE once they are run through a machine (which is VERY loud ) which will slice open the Certificate Envelope.
Step FOUR~OPENING TEAM *Bundles of these OPEN Certificates are Place on tables where there is a team of two People (All Live ballots are in the company of two person teams at all times, when out in open ) *Each team will then divide the bundle between them and start pulling the Ballots out of the Certificate Envelopes making a total of three (3) piles . *All ballots are in center with each person making their own pile of Certificate envelopes. *Once each member of the team has pulled the ballots, then all the empty envelopes are gathered together and set to one side. *The actual ballots are then unfolded and placed in a pile facing up, all in same direction. *Any security sleeves are then discarded in a special bin under the table. *At this point, one member of the team will count the envelopes, the other will count the ballots. Both should have the same number to match the other. If this number doesn’t match, the team will switch piles and recount……..all in all, the count is more so right with no problem. There are usually about Ten (10) or Twelve (12) two member teams working. Election Board Staff is also present to help, along with the Commissioner of Election sitting in the back of the room….by law has to be in the room when there are LIVE BALLOTS present.
Step FIVE ~ Now that ballots have been open and separated. Where do the ballots go from there. *THEY AREN’T LEFT OUT IN THE OPEN ALONE. All LIVE ballots are always secured and in the company of two people at all time while being moved or transported from department to department. Ballots are stored in cages on wheels AND LOCKED until they are placed in what ever step they are at. This step is where the ballots are place through a counting machine, which I must add….is a high speed. I had the opportunity to work with this department ( Do believe it is called the “IT” room) Very high tech, checking that the ballots are complete and properly filled out. Now I need to remind you of the earlier item I spoke of in this post. Where all ballots (before they are open) are placed in piles of party affiliations. This means your Ballot is always with the same group and not mingled with as different party. The process so far has been like several times of CHECKS and BALANCES…. Ballots are counted after the polls are closed (7pm) on the night of any election.
Step Six~ This is where those ballots in step 5 were declined by the machine (for a better word)…This is where a canvassing board will go through EACH and EVERY declined ballot. (one at a time! There will be a sticky note on each of these ballots with instructions for the teams that will get them next.
Step Seven~ these spoiled ballots will be DUPLICATED with the help of , again a two member teams. The new (duplicate ) ballots are then placed through the STEP SIX. As for the SPOILED ballot, they are placed in another sealed envelope to be kept by the the board of Elections as per law.
Again, for a better informed voter, try being a precinct worker. Check your county election board for more info. Any county in Florida can find their website by going to this spreadsheet I made up a few years ago. Find your Florida county and click. Example ~ I live in Sarasota Florida so this is where I would go to find that information Sarasotavotes.org
BYW: it is a paying gig!!!!