29-250 C.M.R. ch. 535, § 5 - Preparation for Ranked-choice counting

Current through 2022-14, April 6, 2022

1. Central location for ranked-choice count. The Secretary of State will select a suitable facility in the Augusta area, in which to securely store the election materials and conduct the RCV count. The space used for storage of ballots and memory devices that contain cast vote records must be secured against access by unauthorized personnel and all access must be logged. The Secretary of State is responsible for security of the storage and counting space. No ranked-choice counting personnel will have access to the areas where ballots or memory devices are stored unless accompanied by at least one other authorized person.
2. Retrieval of election materials. The Secretary of State will contract with a private courier service (hereafter "courier") to provide secure retrieval of the election materials from the affected municipalities and deliver them to the RCV counting facility if an RCV count is needed. Once the Secretary of State determines that an RCV count is needed for one or more ranked-choice contests, the Secretary of State will notify the courier and the affected municipalities that election materials will be retrieved. The courier is responsible for the coordination and retrieval of the ballots and/or memory devices, as applicable, from the affected municipalities; transportation of these materials to the RCV counting facility; and ensuring the security of these materials while in the courier's custody. The Secretary of State will provide transmittal forms to document the chain of custody from the municipality to the courier's personnel. Secretary of State personnel at the RCV counting facility will accept and log the materials upon receipt from the courier. Municipalities that used the digital scan tabulators to tabulate their ballots will provide the courier with all memory devices containing results and cast vote records for the election. The Secretary of State will provide transmittal packaging and tamper-evident seals to be used for memory device transmittal. If any ballots were not scanned by a tabulator, the municipality must seal these ballots in a separate container or envelope from the fully scanned and counted ballots, and must provide the container or envelope of unscanned ballots to the courier along with the memory devices. Municipalities that hand-counted their absentee and election day ballots must provide the courier with all tamper-proof containers used to seal the hand-counted ballots cast in the election.
3. Ranked-choice counting personnel. The following personnel may participate in the ranked-choice counting process.
A. Supervisor of ranked-choice voting count. The ranked-choice counting rounds will be conducted under the supervision of the Secretary of State, or his or her designee, who is called the RCV Supervisor. The RCV Supervisor will direct and oversee the conduct of the RCV count according to all applicable laws, rules and procedures.
B. Ranked-choice voting assistants. The Secretary of State or RCV Supervisor will designate the necessary number of Department staff to act as RCV Assistants. If additional personnel are needed, the Secretary of State may designate municipal election officials or UOCAVA election officials to act as RCV Assistants.
C. Security personnel. The Secretary of State may use law enforcement personnel from the Department's Office of Investigations to receive the election materials from the courier's personnel and secure the materials at the RCV counting facility.
D. Vendor support staff. The Secretary of State may authorize support staff from the voting system vendor to be present during the ranked-choice voting count to assist ranked-choice counting personnel with using the software and hardware necessary to complete the count.
E. Additional staff. The Secretary of State and the Department's legal counsel may assist with the RCV count as needed.
4. Notice of public proceeding. The RCV count is a public proceeding, and members of the media and the general public may attend, to the extent the space allows. The Secretary of State will provide notice to the public regarding the RCV count for each contest, including information about scheduling. Depending on the number of municipalities in the district for the particular contest that is subject to an RCV count, and at the discretion of the RCV Supervisor, the RCV count will be scheduled to begin once the materials from a sufficient number of municipalities in the district have been received at the RCV counting facility, so that the RCV count can proceed in an orderly and efficient manner.


29-250 C.M.R. ch. 535, § 5

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