Presentation on theme: "Presentation on Election Polling Operations Prepared by: Sean Dunne Electoral Assistance Division United Nations."— Presentation transcript:
Presentation on Election Polling Operations Prepared by: Sean Dunne Electoral Assistance Division United Nations
Polling operations include the preparatory steps and implementation of election day activities. Polling operations are interdependent with voter registration modalities, balloting methods and counting processes. Definition
Electoral system Time Cost Staffing Requirements Communications Capability Logistics Security Polling Operation Factors
What ballot can a voter cast and where? The electoral system usually determines what ballot a voter can cast and where they can cast the vote. For example: A system that uses a single national district (such as, a direct Presidential election) allows a voter to cast a national ballot if they are a registered voter and they are recorded on the voter’s list at a polling station. An electoral system that uses sub-national boundaries to create electoral districts may only permit voters that are resident or were born within that district to cast a vote in that location. Also, they usually may only cast a vote for candidates competing in that district. A mixed electoral system (where an assemblies’ seats are allocated under a combination of systems), for example, national proportional representation (nPR) and district based elections may mean that the voter casts more than one vote – a vote for the nPR race and a vote for the district election. Polling operations are designed to accommodate the requirements of the electoral system, including: who can vote, where can they vote and what can they vote for.
Who can Vote? The voter’s list provides information of all persons entitled to vote. The minimum criterion are normally: A minimum age requirement; and Citizenship. The ability to exercise voter eligibility may include other provisions, such as: A location requirement (they must reside at, work at or have a place of origin in a particular location); Must be registered on the voter’s list; May have to hold a current and valid voter’s identity card, or other form of valid State identification. The information captured during the registration of the voter allows these attributes to be captured. If a voter registration does not hold certain information (or the information changes, such as, a person’s place of residence) a voter update exercise may be conducted. Update exercises may be conducted in different ways, including: prior to an election, periodically (e.g. annually at a certain time each year) or continuously (similar to a driver’s license facility) available year round.
Voter List Voters nominate where they want to vote. Deadline for Submissions Collection and processing by the electoral authority. Challenges to nominations Exhibition and challenges of voter lists. Resolution of challenges. Voter’s roll is updated. Deadline for Challenges Start of Challenge Period Voter List Update Information to voters Start of Nomination Period
Place of Origin Place of Residence Place of Choice Voter Where can a voter cast their vote? No Choice Choice: Origin or Residence Choice: Origin, Residence or other location.
Polling Location: Place of Origin A voter may or may not still be resident at their place of origin The voter’s place of origin will not change in the voter registration system, they only come from one place of origin. Over time, voter’s not resident at the place of origin may exceed those at the place of origin Voters must travel back to their place of origin to cast a vote A voter that can only vote for candidates at their place of origin may not have access to campaign material until election day.
Polling Location: Place of Residence Voters do not have to travel far to be able to cast their vote. The voter’s place of residence may change in the voter registration system over time. As such, procedures are necessary for the update of their details. The number of voters in an area may increase or decrease with social movements e.g. urbanization trends. A voter that votes in the area of their residence will be exposed to campaign material of local candidates. Conversely, this can be an incentive for parties to campaign in a range of locations outside their constituency. Process is normally associated with a pre-nomination by voters of where they intend to vote. Appropriate ballots are then made available at those locations.
Polling Location: Nominated Location Voters have a choice to vote at their place of origin, residence or other location. They determine how far to travel for voting. The voter’s nominated place of voting may change in the voter registration system over time. As such, procedures are necessary for the update of their details. The number of voters in an area may increase or decrease arbitrarily. Process is normally associated with a pre-nomination by voters of where they intend to vote. Appropriate ballots are then made available at those locations. Can be an incentive for parties to campaign in a range of locations outside their constituency.
Voter Allocation Note: Districts indicated below are for demonstration purposes only. Usually finalized 2 to 3 months prior to an election. Voter List
Voters’ List impact on Polling Preparations The number of registered voters allocated is important to determine: The number of polling stations required; The number of electoral staff necessary to operate the polls; The number and types of ballots required; The distribution of ballots. The number of voters allocated to a polling station usually varies between 300 to 1250 depending on the polling procedures and capacity: If a polling station is open for 10 hours, there are 600 minutes available to process the voters. If there is an allocation of 600 voters to a station, it is anticipated that each voter will on average, require 1 minute to be processed and vote. A polling station’s capacity to process voters can be increased by having several staff checking the voter’s credentials and several screens available for marking a ballot. A minimum and a maximum number of voters are normally set in the electoral regulations to determine whether a station will be opened. Polling stations may be grouped together in population dense areas to create polling centers.
Ballot Candidates and/or parties register for the ballot Deadline for Submissions Collection and processing by the electoral authority. Challenges to nominations Exhibition and challenges of candidate lists. Ballot/s finalized and produced for election day. Deadline for Challenges Start of Challenge Period Candidate Nomination Process Information to candidates and parties Start of Nomination Period
Ballot Security Ballots are categorized as ‘Sensitive Materials’ in an electoral process, which makes them subject to audit and special measures. They must be protected against human error and fraud. There are several mechanisms to account for ballots that are usually institutionalized in the electoral regulations and procedures, including one or more of the following: Unique identifier numbers are printed on each ballot; The ballot is stamped and initialed by a poll worker prior to being issued to a voter; and Ballot reconciliation forms are completed by poll workers at the end of polling, noting the number of ballots issued to the polling station, the number of ballots issued in the course of polling and the number of spoilt ballots. This may also record the sequence of unique identifier numbers for the ballots
Ballot Security Unique Identifier Numbers AAA345 BALLOT PAPER (Front) AAA345 BALLOT PAPER (Front) Each ballot when it is printed has a unique alphanumeric sequence printed on it. The sequence of letters and numbers can contain information such as, for what constituency the ballot belongs, based on the letter sequence (e.g. AAA = Beirut). When ballots are distributed to polling stations, the sequence is recorded, such as, AAA100 – AAA999. When reconciling ballots the sequence of unused ballots may be recorded. These steps can stop stuffing of ballot boxes or forged ballots being cast. When combined with scan counting of ballots (which may require a bar code) these numbers can again be checked to ensure all ballots counted are valid.
Ballot Security Stamping of Ballots BALLOT PAPER (Back) BALLOT PAPER (Back) Each ballot, before being handed to a voter at the polling station, is stamped by a poll worker and initialed on the rear. Only ballots that have been stamped and initialed are considered to be valid votes, as the stamp and initials show that the vote has been properly issued to the voter. These steps, require extra training and materials for poll workers to ensure that the procedures are followed correctly. This measure, in combination with other steps, assists in stopping ballots from being added after polling has finished.
Ballot Security Reconciliation Forms Total number of ballots issued to the polling station with the unique serial number range. Serial of Last ballot issued + 1 Serial of First ballot number Total ballots issued Spoilt ballots Issued – Spoilt = Ballots in Box Extra ballots received Ballots sent elsewhere
Unique Ballots for Each Geographic Constituency For each constituency there is a unique ballot. Where can a voter cast a ballot? What ballot can they use? Note: Districts indicated below are for demonstration purposes only.
Ballot Dispersion – Vote at Place of Origin The unique ballot is available only at polling stations within that constituency. The voter can only cast a ballot for the constituency of their place of origin.
Ballot Dispersion – Vote at Place of Residence (with voter pre-nomination process) Voters may vote at a polling station at their place of residence or origin – but they must indicate this decision in a pre-nomination exercise. The unique ballots are available at polling stations where voters have registered as residents to cast their vote or, by default, at their place of origin.
The unique ballots are available at polling stations where voters have registered to cast their vote. Voters may vote at a polling station of their choice – but they should make a selection in a pre-election exercise, by default, they vote at place of origin. Ballot Dispersion – Vote at Nominated Location (with voter pre-nomination process)
The ballots are available at all polling stations. Voters may vote at a polling station of their choice – without pre-nomination data, ballots for all areas must be available in sufficient numbers at all locations. Ballot Dispersion – Residence or Nominated (NO voter pre-nomination process)
Polling Staff Roles Polling Staff MemberArea of Responsibility Presiding OfficerAssisting with the training of polling staff Ensuring that the polling place is set up and ready for operations prior to the opening of the polls Supervising other polling place staff during polling and counting hours to ensure that integrity and procedural accuracy are maintained in the polling and counting operations Closing the polling place at the conclusion of the count, as well as preparing the electoral material for delivery back to the county office Identification OfficerVerifying the presence of each voter on the registration roll Verifying the non-existence of ink on the fingers of the eligible voter Ballot Paper IssuerIssuing the ballots to the voter and directing the voter to a vacant voting compartment Ballot Box ControllerGuarding the ballot boxes to ensure all voters deposit their ballots (and no unauthorized materials) in the appropriate ballot box Polling Place Queue Controller Controlling the entrance to and exit from the polling place so that only authorized persons enter the polling place, and that voters leave the polling place immediately after voting; Inker (if ink used)Apply ink to the finger of the voter Direct the voter to exit the polling place
Check Voter off List No Ink on finger Ink on Finger Polling Station Configuration Voters Queue Controller Ballot Box Controller Identification Officer Ballot Paper Issuer Inker Presiding Officer Issue Ballot
Counting Considerations The counting operations should preserve the secrecy of the vote – that is, there should be no connection between the voter and their vote. Counting procedures are also designed to minimize vulnerability to human error and fraud. In some circumstances it is also necessary to protect the voting pattern of communities. In these case, sealed ballot boxes from polling stations are transported to one or more counting centers, where they are mixed, prior to counting. Several factors affect the decision of where votes are counted – the locations can vary between: At each polling station; At a sub-national counting center; or At a single national counting center. A degree of counting centralization (or complete centralization) allows for the focusing of resources and personnel, although this is achieved at the cost of higher security and transportation requirements (moving the ballots from polling stations to the centralized locations). If automated counting is used, centralization can reduce the number of machines required for the process.
Counting at the Polling Station At the closure of the polls, the Presiding (or a Returning) Officer completes the reconciliation form. The ballot box is emptied and counting is conducted. Valid votes are separated from wasted votes (blank votes or those that are invalid). Valid votes are then tabulated in accordance with the electoral system and are reported to a centralized tally center. At this level, the voting behavior of a community can be determined by virtue of the polling station results. At this level, it provides maximum exposure to local voters in terms of transparency. Party agents, civil society representatives and electoral observers must be present in large numbers to be able to be present at all polling stations for the counting process. It is easier to expose fraud with polling station level counts – however, it can also be easier for electoral staff to undertake fraud at this level. Counting at the polling station is usually fastest in performing a count.
Counting at a Centralized Location At the closure of the polls, the Presiding Officer completes the reconciliation form. The ballot box is sealed and securely transported to a centralized location for counting.sealed At the centralized location, the ballot box and reconciliation form is received and receipted, opened, and a count of the ballots conducted to verify the reconciliation form. The votes from several polling stations may then be mixed together – breaking the connection with small community level voting patterns. The valid votes are then tabulated in accordance with the electoral system and are reported to a centralized tally center. Party agents, civil society representatives and electoral observers are able to better focus their presence at centralized locations to cover the counting process. High capacity scanning technology can be used to perform the count. This process is usually subject to manual audit and quality control processes. The results of the counts are then usually reported to a central tally center.
Sealing Ballot Boxes Sealing the Ballot Box Ballot Seal
Polling Voter List CountingBallotsStaffingMaterials Site Selection LogisticsSecurity Public Information Voter Education Party Information Site security Access security Sensitive materials Transportation Warehousing Procurement Communications Location Specifications Update Identification Eligibility Central/decentralized Automation Time Design Procurement Production Distribution Selection Recruitment Training Payment Specification Procurement Distribution Warehousing Polling Operations Summary