Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 07-04-086.
Title of Rule and Other Identifying Information: A variety of issues are addressed by these rules including recounts, signature verification, motor voter, election reports, and voter intent.
Hearing Location(s): 520 Union Avenue, Olympia, 98504, on May 23, 2007, at 2:30 p.m.
Date of Intended Adoption: May 24, 2007.
Submit Written Comments to: Amber Cervantes, P.O. Box 40220, Olympia, 98504, e-mail email@example.com, fax (360) 586-5629, by May 22, 2007.
Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Amber Cervantes by May 22, 2007, TTY (800) 422-8683.
Purpose of the Proposal and Its Anticipated Effects, Including Any Changes in Existing Rules: These rules:
• Adopt recount procedures;
• Develop an approval process for automated signature verification;
• Update motor voter processes;
• Changes the number of required hours provided by orientation training; and
• Permanently adopts the current emergency rules regarding voter intent.
Reasons Supporting Proposal: These rules will adopt the processes and procedures counties followed during the 2004 gubernatorial recounts. Additional rules on the above topics are necessary for upcoming elections. RCW 29A.40.110 allows for use of an automated signature verification system upon approval of the secretary of state. Rules defining an approval process are necessary.
Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 29A.04.611.
Statute Being Implemented: RCW 29A.40.110.
Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.
Name of Proponent: Secretary of state, elections division, governmental.
Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting: Amber Cervantes, Legislative Building, Olympia, Washington, (360) 902-4165; Implementation and Enforcement: Katie Blinn, Legislative Building, Olympia, Washington, (360) 902-4168.
No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. Not required.
A cost-benefit analysis is not required under RCW 34.05.328.
April 17, 2007
Assistant Secretary of State
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 05-17-145, filed 8/19/05, effective 9/19/05)
WAC 434-250-070 Forwarding ballots. (1) If the county auditor chooses to not forward ballots, the return envelope must clearly indicate the ballot is not to be forwarded and that return postage is guaranteed.
(2) If the county auditor chooses to forward absentee
ballots, as authorized by RCW 29A.40.091, the county auditor
must include with the ballot an explanation ((
that is)) of
qualifications necessary to vote and instructions
substantially similar to the following:
For each jurisdiction listed on the ballot, you must
reside in the jurisdiction in order to vote for that office or
issue.)) If you have changed your permanent residence address,
please contact your county auditor to ensure the ballot you
receive at future elections contains the races and issues for
your residential address. If you have any questions about
your eligibility to vote in this election, please contact your
This)) The above instructions and the explanation
required by RCW 29A.40.091 may be provided on the ballot
envelope, on an enclosed insert, or on the ballot itself.
Auditors must begin to provide the above instruction to voters
no later than January 1, 2008. The county auditor must
utilize postal service endorsements that allow:
(a) The ballots to be forwarded((
(b) The county auditor to receive from the post office
the addresses to which ballots were forwarded((
(c) The return of ballots that were not capable of being
If the above explanation is not provided to the
voter, the return envelope must clearly indicate that the
ballot is not to be forwarded and that return postage is
[Statutory Authority: RCW 29A.04.611. 05-17-145, § 434-250-070, filed 8/19/05, effective 9/19/05.]
(1) A record of the date each absentee ballot application was received, the date the ballot was mailed or issued, and the date the ballot was received;
(2) The number of absentee ballots issued and returned, by legislative and congressional district, for each primary and general election;
(3) A record of the disposition of each request for an absentee ballot that was not honored;
(4) A record of the disposition of each returned absentee ballot that was not counted;
(5) A record of the time and place each time the county
canvassing board met ((
to process absentee ballots)); and
(6) A documentation of the security procedures undertaken
to protect the integrity of all ballots after receipt,
including the seal numbers used to secure the ballots during
all facets of the absentee ballot process((
(7) A reconciliation that all absentee ballots counted plus all absentee ballots rejected is equal to the total number of absentee ballots received)).
[Statutory Authority: RCW 29A.04.611. 05-17-145, § 434-250-130, filed 8/19/05, effective 9/19/05.]
(2) In the event that a primary is to be conducted by
mail, the auditor must notify the jurisdiction involved not
later than ((
forty-five)) seventy-nine days before the primary
(3) In addition to the information required in the notice
of election published pursuant to RCW 29A.52.351 and
29A.52.311, a county auditor conducting an election by mail,
whether for a single jurisdiction or the entire county))
including a county auditor that conducts every election by
mail, must also state:
(a) That the election will be conducted by mail and regular polling places will not be open;
(b) The precincts that are voting by mail if it is only specific precincts rather than the entire county;
(c) The location where voters may obtain replacement ballots;
The amount of)) That return postage is required
(( on the return envelope));
(e) The dates, times and locations of designated deposit sites and sites for voting devices that are accessible to the visually impaired, including the county auditor's office as a polling place.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 29A.04.611. 05-17-145, § 434-250-310, filed 8/19/05, effective 9/19/05.]
(2) If the persons providing services at the county auditor's office are not employees of the county auditor's office but are persons appointed by the county auditor, the appointees must be representatives of different major political parties and must subscribe to an oath regarding the discharge of duties.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 29A.04.611, 29A.04.530. 06-02-028, § 434-250-330, filed 12/28/05, effective 1/28/06. Statutory Authority: RCW 29A.04.611. 05-17-145, § 434-250-330, filed 8/19/05, effective 9/19/05.]
WAC 434-260-165 Response to draft special review recommendations. The county auditor or the county canvassing board must respond, in writing, to the draft election special review recommendations, listing the steps that have been taken or that will be taken to correct any problems listed in the report. Such a response shall be submitted to the review staff not later than ten days following the issuance of the draft special review report.
Nothing in this section shall prevent the review staff from modifying or amending its recommendations, based on the response received from the county auditor or canvassing board.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 29A.04.611. 06-14-050, § 434-260-170, filed 6/28/06, effective 7/29/06. Statutory Authority: RCW 29.60.020. 99-12-004, § 434-260-170, filed 5/19/99, effective 6/19/99. 98-08-010, recodified as § 434-260-170, filed 3/18/98, effective 3/18/98. Statutory Authority: RCW 29.60.020. 93-18-053, § 434-60-170, filed 8/30/93, effective 9/30/93.]
(2) Mandatory orientation will consist of ((
least eight hours of training in election-related subjects.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 29.60.020. 99-12-004, § 434-260-240, filed 5/19/99, effective 6/19/99. 98-08-010, recodified as § 434-260-240, filed 3/18/98, effective 3/18/98. Statutory Authority: RCW 29.60.020. 94-07-018, § 434-60-240, filed 3/8/94, effective 4/8/94.]
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 06-11-042, filed 5/10/06, effective 6/10/06)
WAC 434-261-070 Manual inspection of ballots. (1) Upon receiving absentee ballots and upon breaking the seals and opening the ballot containers from the precincts, all voting positions on voted ballots shall be manually inspected on both sides of the ballot to determine whether the ballot ((
be)) is readable by the vote tabulating system. This manual
inspection is a required part of processing ballots.
(2) The inspection of ballots tabulated at the poll site is not required provided that the poll site ballot programming provisions of RCW 29A.44.340 are in effect.
(3) If the manual inspection process detects any
physically damaged ballots, unreadable ballots which might not
be correctly counted by the tabulating equipment, or marks
that differ from those specified in the voting instructions,
but the marks clearly form a discernible and consistent
pattern on the ballot to the extent that the voter's intent
can be clearly determined,)) the county auditor (( may either:
(a) Refer the ballots to the county canvassing board; or
(b) Duplicate the ballots if authorized by the county canvassing board.
If the voter's intent is not clear, the ballot must be referred)) shall refer such ballots to the county canvassing board.
(4) Nothing in this section shall alter the authority of the county canvassing board to delegate in writing, to the county auditor or the county auditor's staff, the performance of any task assigned by law to the canvassing board as set forth in RCW 29A.60.140(2).
[Statutory Authority: RCW 29A.04.611. 06-11-042, § 434-261-070, filed 5/10/06, effective 6/10/06; 05-17-145, § 434-261-070, filed 8/19/05, effective 9/19/05. Statutory Authority: RCW 29A.04.610. 04-15-089, § 434-261-070, filed 7/16/04, effective 8/16/04. Statutory Authority: RCW 29.04.210, 29.36.150. 02-07-029, § 434-261-070, filed 3/12/02, effective 4/12/02. Statutory Authority: RCW 29.04.080, 29.04.210, 29.36.150 and 29.79.200. 97-21-045, § 434-261-070, filed 10/13/97, effective 11/13/97.]
(a) Only votes for offices or measures for which the voter is eligible are counted.
(b) The candidate or measure response position for which the voter is voting can be clearly identified.
(c) The ballot issued is not returned, or if returned, contains no marks indicating an attempt to vote it.
(d) A valid signature on ((
an)) a signed absentee oath is
(( on file with)) received by the county auditor.
The votes accepted must then be duplicated to a ballot that can be read by the electronic voting equipment.
(2) Corrected absentee ballots shall be counted in the following manner:
(a) If a voter follows the instructions for correcting a vote, either the written instructions or other instructions given to the voter by the county auditor, the correction shall be made by duplicating the ballot and then tabulating the duplicated ballot.
(b) If a voter appears to have corrected the ballot in a manner other than as instructed, the vote for that candidate or issue shall not be tabulated unless the voter provides written instructions directing how the vote should be counted or has clearly attempted to erase a mark.
(3) If a voter has indicated a write-in vote on the ballot which duplicates the name of a candidate who already appears on the ballot for the same office, the ballot shall be duplicated to count one vote for the candidate indicated. Such a vote shall be counted pursuant to RCW 29A.60.021.
(4) If a ballot contains marks that differ from those
specified in the voting instructions, ((
those marks shall not
be counted as valid votes unless there is a discernable and
consistent pattern, to the extent that the voter's intent can
clearly be determined. If there is such a pattern, the ballot
shall be duplicated to reflect the voter's intent)) the ballot
shall be sent to the canvassing board to be counted as
instructed by the statewide standards on determining voter
intent manual required by WAC 434-261-086. The canvassing
board shall make the final determination of voter intent on
ballots that are not addressed by the statewide standards on
determining voter intent.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 29A.04.611. 06-14-047, § 434-261-075, filed 6/28/06, effective 7/29/06; 05-17-145, § 434-261-075, filed 8/19/05, effective 9/19/05. Statutory Authority: RCW 29.04.210, 29.36.150. 02-07-029, § 434-261-075, filed 3/12/02, effective 4/12/02.]
(2) The secretary of state shall periodically review the manual as necessary to keep it updated. Wherever practical, the secretary shall seek input from county canvassing boards and other interested parties to ensure that the manual remains as comprehensive as possible. The currently adopted manual shall be posted on the secretary of state web site (www.secstate.wa.gov) for public review or reference.
(3) Compliance by county canvassing boards with the standards set forth in the manual is mandatory.
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 06-14-046, filed 6/28/06, effective 7/29/06)
WAC 434-262-030 County auditor's abstract of votes. No later than the ((
tenth)) fifteenth day following any primary
or special election and the twenty-first day following any
general election the county canvassing board shall meet and
canvass all ballots. Upon completion of this canvass, the
board shall direct the county auditor to prepare the auditor's
abstract of votes as defined by WAC 434-262-010. The
reconciliation of absentee and vote by mail ballots must
include documentation that the number of ballots counted plus
the number of ballots rejected is equal to the number of
ballots received. In addition, county auditors must provide
any additional information necessary to explain variances
between the number of ballots counted compared to the number
of ballots received and credited. The oaths and the
reconciliation report must be substantially similar to the
[Statutory Authority: RCW 29A.04.611. 06-14-046, § 434-262-030, filed 6/28/06, effective 7/29/06; 05-17-145, § 434-262-030, filed 8/19/05, effective 9/19/05. Statutory Authority: RCW 29A.04.610. 04-15-089, § 434-262-030, filed 7/16/04, effective 8/16/04. Statutory Authority: RCW 29.04.080, 29.04.210, 29.36.150 and 29.79.200. 97-21-045, recodified as § 434-262-030, filed 10/13/97, effective 11/13/97. Statutory Authority: RCW 29.04.080. 80-15-008 (Order 80-3), § 434-62-030, filed 10/3/80.]
The following sections of the Washington Administrative Code are repealed:
|WAC 434-262-106||Machine recount of votes cast on direct recording electronic devices.|
|WAC 434-262-108||Manual recount of votes cast on direct recording electronic devices.|
However, if any ballots or votes are discovered during the recount process that were not originally counted, the ballots shall be presented to the county canvassing board in accordance with RCW 29A.60.021, and the county canvassing board shall determine whether such ballots are to be included in the recount.
Nothing in this section shall preclude the county canvassing board from canvassing a ballot or a vote not canvassed during the original or previous count.
Any questions or objections by observers must be directed toward the county canvassing board, supervisory personnel or another designated staff person present at the recount. Under no circumstance may an observer interrupt the recount process in objection to the decision to count or not count a ballot.
The county auditor shall provide a copy of any additional guidelines that are established by the county canvassing board to each observer.
The county canvassing board or its designated representative may ask any observer who is causing a disruption to the recount process to leave the area.
(1) Candidates of the affected race or their designated representative or to the designated representative for the proponents and opponents of any measure;
(2) Each candidates' or representatives' counsel;
(3) Designated party observer;
(4) Additional observers for the candidates or ballot measure proponents or opponents; and then
(5) General public and media.
(a) A continuous paper record must be utilized in the audit; the paper record must not be cut into separate individual records; and
(b) If a paper record indicates a ballot has been canceled, the ballot must be exempt from the recount.
(2) The county auditor must compare the hand recount results with the original results. The county auditor may take any necessary actions to investigate and resolve discrepancies.
The county canvassing board must make the final determination of voter intent on ballots referred to the county canvassing board not addressed by the statewide standards on determining voter intent.
(1) One representative from each of the two major political parties and one observer or staff person;
(2) Two staff persons and one observer; or
(3) Three staff persons.
(1) Each counting board shall be given the ballots one precinct or batch at a time. The results from the original count shall not be given with the ballots.
(2) The ballots shall be sorted into separate stacks for each of the candidates or side of a ballot measure. Additional stacks may be created for overvotes, undervotes, and write-ins.
(3) Each stack of ballots must be counted at least twice to confirm the number of votes in each stack. The results of the count shall not be shared until both persons have counted the ballots.
(4) Individual tallies for each stack shall be compared. If the counts match, the results shall be reported to the designated staff person and the results shall be compared to the results of the original count.
(5) If the counts do not match, the ballots shall be counted by the same counting board one more time. If the counts still do not match, the discrepancy must be reported to the designated staff person and the ballots referred to another counting board.
(1) The county auditor shall prepare an amended abstract of the recounted ballots for the county canvassing board. The amended abstract shall include a revised cumulative summary, as well as the votes cast in each precinct for the office or measure that was recounted.
(2) The results must be formally reviewed and approved by the county canvassing board.
(3) If the results of the manual count do not match the results of the original count, the county canvassing board shall verify all ballots have been recounted. The county canvassing board shall take all necessary steps to investigate and resolve any discrepancies.
(4) The county canvassing board shall certify the amended abstract that, for each precinct, displays the results of the office that has been recounted. The new abstract shall be included in the amended certified canvass report.
(5) Copies of the certified amended abstract will be distributed to the same persons or agencies as the original certified abstract of votes.
(6) The amended certified canvass report must be available to the public by the next business day following the recount.
(7) Interim reports of the recount may be published at the discretion of the county canvassing board.
(8) If the recount involves ballots from more than one county, the secretary of state may require that amended abstracts be certified by each county canvassing board on a uniform date.
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 05-24-039, filed 11/30/05, effective 12/31/05)
WAC 434-324-005 Definitions. As used in this chapter:
(1) "Active status" means a designation assigned to voters with complete voter registration records signifying that the voter is eligible to vote.
(2) "Applicant" means a person who has applied, or is applying, to become a registered voter in the state of Washington.
(3) "Auditor" means "county auditor" and means the county auditor in a noncharter county or the officer in a charter county, irrespective of title, having the overall responsibility to maintain voter registration to conduct state and local elections.
(4) "County election management system" means software used by county auditors to manage computer files pertaining to elections and includes, but is not limited to, voter registration records.
(5) "County registration number" means a ((
identifier assigned to each registered voter by the county
(6) "Motor voter data" means computer information concerning an applicant that is common to both driver's license and voter registration records. This includes name, address, date of birth, sex, the date of the application, the location of the office where the application was submitted, the applicant's driver's license number, the applicant's Social Security number (if provided), and the applicant's previous driver's license number if the applicant has changed names.
(7) "Extraction," as used in this chapter, means the creation of an electronic list of specific information from the entire official statewide voter registration data base.
(7))) (8) "Late registration absentee ballot" means an
absentee ballot cast by a voter who registered pursuant to RCW 29A.08.145 after the close of the regular registration period.
(8))) (9) "Licensing agent" or "agent" means the
employees serving the public at driver's licensing offices
operated by the department of licensing.
(10) "New county" means a county in Washington state that a registered voter is moving to from another county within Washington state.
(9))) (11) "Previous county" means a county in
Washington state that a registered voter lived in prior to
moving to a new county.
(10))) (12) "Pending status" means a voter registration
record is not yet complete, and the applicant is not yet a
(11))) (13) "Pending cancellation" means the registered
voter's registration record (( will)) must be canceled within a
specified amount of time and he or she is not eligible to
(12))) (14) "Registered voter" means any elector who
has completed the statutory registration procedures
established by Title 29A RCW.
(13))) (15) "Secretary" means secretary of state or any
other person authorized by the secretary of state to act on
his or her behalf.
(14))) (16) "State registration number" means a unique
identifier assigned to each registered voter by the state,
pursuant to RCW 29A.08.651.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 29A.04.611. 05-24-039, § 434-324-005, filed 11/30/05, effective 12/31/05.]MOTOR VOTER
(1) Residence address for voting purposes, if it is different from the address on the driver's license;
(2) Mailing address, if it is different from the voter registration residence address;
(3) Previous address at which he or she was registered to vote;
(4) Confirmation by checking the appropriate boxes that he or she is a United States citizen and will be eighteen years of age or older at the time of the next election; and
(5) Military status by checking the appropriate box on the application.
Additionally the applicant may optionally provide the following information in writing:
(a) Daytime phone number; and
(b) E-mail address.
The secretary of state shall produce a list of voter transactions by county. This list shall be transmitted to each county and shall contain at least the voters' names, addresses, mailing addresses, and birthdates.
These records shall be processed by entering the applicant's information into the county auditor's local data base and sending the information to the statewide voter registration data base. A voter identification number, precinct codes, levy codes and any other information assigned to regular registrations shall be assigned to motor voter registrations.
The following chapter of the Washington Administrative Code is repealed:
|WAC 434-326-005||Authority and purpose.|
|WAC 434-326-015||Voter registration at driver license facilities.|
|WAC 434-326-020||Registration procedure.|
|WAC 434-326-025||Obtaining additional information from the applicant.|
|WAC 434-326-030||Oaths and warnings.|
|WAC 434-326-035||Cancellation of previous name registration.|
|WAC 434-326-040||Transfer of information from the department of licensing to the secretary of state.|
|WAC 434-326-045||Weekly transmittal of data from the department of licensing to the secretary of state.|
|WAC 434-326-050||Transfer of data, and reports from the secretary of state to the county auditors.|
|WAC 434-326-055||Transfer of voter registration forms to counties.|
|WAC 434-326-060||Processing records received from the secretary of state.|
|WAC 434-326-065||Reimbursement of county auditors and the department of licensing for routine transaction costs.|
|WAC 434-326-900||Reimbursement of county auditors and the department of licensing for costs associated with implementation of this chapter.|
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 06-14-050, filed 6/28/06, effective 7/29/06)
WAC 434-335-010 Certification of voting equipment. All voting systems, voting devices, and vote tallying systems must meet applicable federal standards and be certified and approved by the secretary of state before they can be used in Washington state pursuant to RCW ((
29A.12.080 and meet the
applicable federal standards)) 29A.12.020.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 29A.04.611. 06-14-050, § 434-335-010, filed 6/28/06, effective 7/29/06; 05-18-022, § 434-335-010, filed 8/29/05, effective 9/29/05.]
Prior to approval, an automated signature verification system must:
(1) Be able to integrate with the election management system in use by the test county and the ballot accountability processes implemented by the county;
(2) Have variable levels of confidence which the county may adjust and set to the level as subscribed by the secretary of state in the system's approval report; and
(3) Provide a setting that must not accept a signature that an election worker with required signature training should not accept.
(1) The version number of the signature verification software must be the same as the version number of the software approved by the secretary of state. Any hardware must be the same model number and contain the same version of firmware that is certified by the secretary of state.
(2) The county auditor must receive all training and manuals necessary for the proper operation of the system.
(3) The county auditor must perform a series of tests to verify that the software is not accepting signatures that the county auditor's trained signature verification personnel would not accept. The test should include the county auditor's own signature envelopes, and be run against the county auditor's election management system signatures.
(4) The county auditor must perform a series of tests to verify the system integrates with the county election management system and ballot accountability processes.
(5) The county auditor must include the secretary of state where the signature verification system is being integrated with an election management system that has not been previously approved for that system.
(6) When participation by the secretary of state is not required under these rules, the county auditor must certify the results of the acceptance tests to the secretary of state. The certification must include version numbers of hardware, software and firmware installed and tested and ballot accountability procedures which incorporate the signature verification system.