29-250 C.M.R. ch. 535, § 6 - Process for Ranked-choice counting

Current through 2022-14, April 6, 2022

1. Security of the ranked-choice counting area. There will be a guardrail enclosure set up to separate the ranked-choice counting area from the public viewing area at the RCV counting facility. Only the ranked-choice counting personnel designated in Section 5 of this rule will be allowed inside the guardrail enclosure. All persons allowed inside the guard rail must sign in each day, on a form provided by the Secretary of State. Candidates, media and members of the general public must remain outside the guardrail area. Only limited conversation will be permitted in the RCV counting facility. Cell phones must be silenced during the count and may be used within the guardrail area only by the ranked-choice counting personnel as needed to conduct the process. Any person who causes a disruption of the RCV count may be removed from the room, at the discretion of the RCV Supervisor.
2. Inspection of Materials. Prior to opening tamper-proof containers of ballots that were hand-counted on election night, or sealed packages containing memory devices for ballots that were machine tabulated on election night, the ranked-choice counting personnel will inspect each container or package to document whether it was properly sealed. As each container or package is opened and ballots or memory devices are removed and processed, personnel will complete a tracking log.
3. Processing of ballots and memory devices. The following activities may be conducted simultaneously or consecutively, depending on the number of ranked-choice counting personnel available.
A. Hand-counted ballots. Tamper-proof containers of ballots that were hand-counted on election night will be unsealed and scanned through a tabulating device in order to obtain electronic results and cast vote records. RCV Assistants will be assigned to unseal the tamper-proof containers of hand-counted ballots, remove the ballots related to the ranked-choice contest(s) to be counted, and prepare them for scanning. This will be done on a municipality-by-municipality basis and an RCV assistant will generate a report of the scanned results. On a periodic basis, the memory devices from the hand-count ballot scanning will be uploaded into the election results reporting program.
B. Machine-tabulated ballots. Packages containing memory devices from municipalities whose ballots were machine-tabulated on election night will be unsealed and the contents uploaded into the election results reporting program. RCV Assistants will be assigned to perform this task. This will be done on a municipality-by-municipality basis and an RCV assistant will generate a report of the results that were uploaded.
C. Ballots that cannot be scanned. Ballots that cannot be scanned, either by the tabulating device used by the Secretary of State at the central location for the RCV count or by the ballot tabulator used by the municipality, must be manually entered into a spreadsheet to create an electronic cast vote record for these ballots. The creation of the cast vote record spreadsheet and subsequent proofreading of the spreadsheet will be done by a team of two ranked-choice counting personnel. After the cast vote record for all ballots that could not be scanned are entered and verified, the file will be uploaded into the election results reporting software.
D. Storage and return of processed materials. After the process of scanning ballots and uploading memory devices is completed for each municipality, the materials will be resealed in the containers or delivery packages and secured by the Secretary of State until after any recount period has passed. After the recount period has expired, or after any requested recount has been completed, ballots will be returned to the municipality of origin, while memory devices will be delivered to the Elections Division for coding the next election.
E. Hardware and software. The Secretary of State will use hardware and software compatible with the current tabulating system for performing the RCV count. Precinct tabulators or high-speed tabulators used for scanning the hand-counted ballots will be non-networked devices and will not be connected to the internet or employ any wireless technology. The computers used for the election results reporting program will be a self-contained, single-purpose, hard-wired network and will not be connected to the internet or employ any wireless technology. The Secretary of State will procure a software utility or algorithm that incorporates the ranked-choice vote counting requirements as described in section 4, subsection 2 of these rules. The RCV counting utility will utilize the cast vote records and apply the ranked-choice vote counting requirements to complete the rounds of the RCV count and determine a winner.
F. Quality control reports. As each municipality's results are uploaded into the election results reporting program, the RCV Supervisor or an RCV Assistant will generate a report of the total ballots cast to compare with the total ballots cast figure reported by the municipality based on the election night count. This comparison will be used to verify that all results from election night for each municipality have been uploaded or all hand-count ballots have been scanned and results uploaded.
4. Ranked-choice vote reporting. After all the results from each ranked-choice voting election are uploaded and verified in the election results reporting program, the RCV Supervisor will initiate the RCV counting utility. Reports will be generated to document the round-by-round results as well as the final winner. However, if the results from all but a few small jurisdictions have been uploaded and verified in the election results reporting program by the end of the day on the Monday after the election, then the RCV Supervisor may initiate the RCV counting utility to produce an unofficial result. The RCV Supervisor must run the RCV counting utility again once the results from all the jurisdictions have been uploaded and verified in the election results reporting program, in order to produce an official result for the RCV election. The Secretary of State will report the statewide ranked-choice result to the Governor and will publish the results on the Department's public website along with the complete digital cast vote record, as soon as possible after completing the RCV count.

Notes

29-250 C.M.R. ch. 535, § 6

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