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Amador County Election Board

BACKGROUND

Election Board The 1998-99 Amador County Grand Jury Election Committee conducted a routine agency review of the County Election Board.

The Election Board staff was interviewed as well as a County accountant to ascertain the procedures and organization of the Election Board and its functions. Sites were visited to inspect records and their storage. Records were inspected to verify types of records held and archival compliance to State regulations.

The interviews of the Election Board staff led to the identification of the types of records that are kept and the processes involved with these records. The data collected was comprised of a voter registration card, a sample ballot, an absentee ballot request and an inspector's packet for precinct operation during the election-day process. The records reviewed included the database of Amador County Voter Registration, the Election Board budget, the voter registration card and the archived ballot storage records.

The sites visited were the Election Board office located at 500 Argonaut Lane in the John C. Begovich Building and a storage unit located off- site.

FINDINGS

  1. The number of employees at the Election Board are:
  2. The Election Board converts the voter registration information onto a computer database.
  3. The election results are certified by the Amador County Board of Supervisors after tally by the Election Board.
  4. The certified election results are sent to the Secretary of State.
  5. The Board of Supervisors does not convene a special session to certify tallied votes.
  6. If the Board is between sessions, there is a delay in the certifying of the County's election results.
  7. Election Board has hourly contact with the Secretary of State's Office on election day as to status of the election.
  8. All voter affiliation and registration forms are public and available for twenty years.
  9. Precinct workers receive training on precinct set-up and operation.
  10. Regular Election Board staff receive County policy/procedure training in February.
  11. The Absentee Ballot application (on the Sample Ballot) addresses permanent Absentee Status.
  12. There is no safe available for the Election Board's use at the Begovich building. The computer database backup tape of voter registration is taken home by an employee nightly, even though the Election Board has a safe deposit box at a local bank for records storage.
  13. Written instructions given to precinct workers do not comply with the California Election Board Code Section 14272 requiring that "workers shall give secrecy sleeve with ballot".
  14. There are many new precincts in the County, with more to come for the year 2000.
  15. The records disposal is accomplished through a State agency.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. The Amador County Board of Supervisors convene a special session for election results certification of the final voter tally.
  2. To prevent confusion, the request for permanent absentee ballots should be in large bold type bold on the Sample Ballot.
  3. To prevent a possible breach of confidentiality (Federal Privacy Act 1974) the backup voter registration data tape should be stored in a safe on County premises or the local safe deposit box.
  4. To comply with the California Election Board Code Section 14272, County precinct workers need to be trained in the practice of placing all ballots into secrecy sleeves. The Inspector's Task Handout should be changed to reflect this procedure.
  5. The County Election Board advertise new precincts, including maps in the newspaper, prior to election day.

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