WSR 06-14-046

PERMANENT RULES

SECRETARY OF STATE


(Elections Division)

[ Filed June 28, 2006, 9:50 a.m. , effective July 29, 2006 ]


Effective Date of Rule: Thirty-one days after filing.

Purpose: The rules address issues such as issuing provisional ballots before election day, physically counting ballots when poll site ballot counters are used, comparing ballot counts at the poll site and the counting center, maintaining the secrecy of ballots, providing examples of reconciliation reports and oaths, and calculating levy validation figures and results.

Citation of Existing Rules Affected by this Order: Amending WAC 434-253-203, 434-262-010, 434-262-020, 434-262-030, 434-262-203, and 434-262-204.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 29A.04.611.

Adopted under notice filed as WSR 06-10-074 on May 2, 2006.

WAC 434-253-203 was changed so results from direct recording electronic devices do not need to be posted at poll sites if the secrecy of ballots will be jeopardized.

WAC 434-262-017 was updated to reflect the correct calculation.

WAC 434-262-020 was changed to allow counties to take other necessary steps to maintain the secrecy of ballots instead of just aggregating results.

WAC 434-262-135 was changed so there is no longer a "0" on the "Total number of voters credited even though the ballot was late and not counted" line of the reconciliation report.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted at Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's Own Initiative: New 0, Amended 6, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 1, Amended 6, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted Using Negotiated Rule Making: New 1, Amended 6, Repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Date Adopted: June 28, 2006.

Steve Excell

Assistant Secretary of State

OTS-8848.1


NEW SECTION
WAC 434-250-085   Provisional ballots issued before election day.   A provisional ballot issued before election day, in accordance with RCW 29A.40.070 and 29A.48.010, is valid if issued to an ongoing absentee voter or issued in a county conducting the election entirely by mail.

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OTS-8849.2


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 05-06-035 and 05-08-065, filed 2/25/05, effective 3/28/05)

WAC 434-253-203   Precinct count optical scan and direct recording devices -- Poll-site reconciliation.   (1) Each precinct or poll-site ballot counter shall print out results immediately following the closing of the polls. A copy of the results will be posted at the poll-site or otherwise made available for public inspection, unless the secrecy of voters' ballots will be jeopardized.

(2) The total of votes cast from each counter shall be reconciled with the number of signatures in the poll book(s) and a manual count of the number of optical scan ballots from each machine prior to transporting to the counting center. The total number of ballots reported on the results printout should equal the number of signatures in the poll book(s). Discrepancies shall be reported and explained by the inspector.

(3) In a sealed container, the data pack/chip of each ballot counter shall be transported to the counting center with each results printout.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 29A.04.610. 05-06-035 and 05-08-065, 434-253-203, filed 2/25/05, effective 3/28/05.]

OTS-8850.5


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 05-17-145, filed 8/19/05, effective 9/19/05)

WAC 434-262-010   Definitions.   As used in these regulations:

(1) "Canvassing" is that process of examining in detail a ballot, groups of ballots, election subtotals, or grand totals, in order to determine the final official returns of a primary, special, or general election, and to safeguard the integrity of the election process.

(2) "County canvassing board" is that body charged by law with the duty of canvassing ballots, of ruling on the validity of questioned or challenged ballots, of the verifying all unofficial returns as listed in the auditor's abstract of votes, and the producing of the official county canvass report; it shall be composed of the county auditor, prosecuting attorney, and chairman of the board of the county legislative authority, or their designated representatives.

(3) "Auditor's abstract of votes" is that report prepared by the county auditor which lists the number of registered voters, votes cast, all of the vote totals by precinct, or by combination of precincts if applicable, absentee ballot totals, legislative and congressional district subtotals, if any, and county-wide totals. The auditor's abstract of votes must also include the reconciliation report required by RCW 29A.60.235(1). Vote totals in the auditor's abstract of votes shall be unofficial until verified and certified by the county canvassing board.

(4) "County canvass report" is the auditor's abstract of votes after verification by the county canvassing board and shall contain a certificate which shall include the oath as specified in RCW 29A.60.200, the original signatures of each member of the county canvassing board, the county seal, and all other material pertinent to the election.

(5) "Certified copy of the county canvass report" is that report transmitted by the county auditor to the secretary of state which contains registered voters and votes cast by precinct, or combination of precincts if applicable, votes cast for and against state measures, and votes cast for candidates for federal and statewide offices and for any office whose jurisdiction encompasses more than one county, absentee ballot totals for those measures and candidates, subtotals if applicable, and county-wide totals. It shall also include a certificate, bearing original signatures and an original county seal, identical to that included in the official county canvass report, and any other material which may be pertinent to the canvass of the election.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 29A.04.611. 05-17-145, 434-262-010, filed 8/19/05, effective 9/19/05. Statutory Authority: RCW 29A.04.610. 04-15-089, 434-262-010, filed 7/16/04, effective 8/16/04. Statutory Authority: RCW 29.04.080. 03-15-054, 434-262-010, filed 7/11/03, effective 8/11/03. Statutory Authority: RCW 29.04.080, 29.04.210, 29.36.150 and 29.79.200. 97-21-045, recodified as 434-262-010, filed 10/13/97, effective 11/13/97. Statutory Authority: RCW 29.04.080. 80-15-008 (Order 80-3), 434-62-010, filed 10/3/80.]


NEW SECTION
WAC 434-262-017   Calculating validation figures and results for bonds and levies.   (1) Before determining a jurisdiction's validation figures, the number of votes cast in the jurisdiction in the last general election must be determined. For levies, the state Constitution states, "...the number of persons voting "yes" on the proposition shall constitute three-fifths of a number equal to forty per centum of the total votes cast in such taxing district at the last preceding general election..." For example:


10,000 votes cast in the jurisdiction in the last general election x 40% = 4,000 votes x 3/5 = 2,400 votes


These numbers should be calculated based on the number of voters credited for voting in each jurisdiction, before adding, deleting, or transferring voters following the general election.

(2) When determining the results of a specific bond or levy, county auditors must not include overvotes or undervotes in the calculation. Rounding must not be used to reach sixty percent "yes" votes for a bond or levy. For example:


2,980 "yes" votes 5,000 total votes cast = 59.6%, so the levy would not pass.

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AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 05-17-145, filed 8/19/05, effective 9/19/05)

WAC 434-262-020   Preliminary abstract of votes.   Following the election and prior to the official canvass, the county auditor shall prepare a preliminary abstract of votes, listing the number of registered voters and votes cast. Provisional ballot results must be combined with precinct results. The preliminary abstract of votes must list separately for each precinct:

(1) Votes cast by absentee or mail ballot and votes cast at the polls((,));

(2) Votes cast for and against measures((,));

(3) Votes cast for candidates((,)); and

(4) Overvotes and undervotes((, by precinct or groups of precincts in the event that precincts have been combined in accordance with RCW 29A.16.060, for canvassing purposes)). Pursuant to RCW 29A.60.230, the county auditor may aggregate results or take other necessary steps to maintain the secrecy of ballots. The county auditor shall inspect the preliminary abstract of votes for errors or anomalies that may affect the results of the election. Correction of any errors or anomalies discovered must be made prior to the official canvass.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 29A.04.611. 05-17-145, 434-262-020, filed 8/19/05, effective 9/19/05. Statutory Authority: RCW 29A.04.610. 04-15-089, 434-262-020, filed 7/16/04, effective 8/16/04. Statutory Authority: RCW 29.04.080. 03-15-054, 434-262-020, filed 7/11/03, effective 8/11/03. Statutory Authority: RCW 29.04.210, 29.36.150. 02-07-028, 434-262-020, 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, recodified as 434-262-020, filed 10/13/97, effective 11/13/97. Statutory Authority: RCW 29.04.080. 80-15-008 (Order 80-3), 434-62-020, filed 10/3/80.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 05-17-145, filed 8/19/05, effective 9/19/05)

WAC 434-262-030   Auditor's abstract of votes.   No later than the tenth 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 ((include all ballot totals, or legislative or congressional district subtotals if applicable, and the reconciliation report in the preliminary abstract of votes prepared pursuant to WAC 434-262-020. The ensuing report, containing a count of all ballots cast in the election, subtotal reports by legislative district, and county-wide totals shall constitute the auditor's abstract of votes)) prepare the auditor's abstract of votes as defined by WAC 434-262-010. The oaths and the reconciliation report must be substantially similar to the following:



[Statutory Authority: RCW 29A.04.611. 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.]


NEW SECTION
WAC 434-262-135   Thirty day reconciliation report.   Within thirty days of certification, the county auditor must prepare and make publicly available at the auditor's office or on the auditor's web site a final election reconciliation report that is substantially similar to the following:

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AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 05-17-145, filed 8/19/05, effective 9/19/05)

WAC 434-262-203   Poll-site ballot reconciliation -- Central count optical scan ((and punchcard)).   Using the poll-site ballot accountability forms, the poll books, and election night precinct results, poll-site ballots shall be reconciled in the following manner:

(1) Reconciliation must begin as soon as practical after the election.

(2) Each precinct's or poll-site's results shall be reconciled with the precinct's ballot accountability form. The number of ballots issued should equal the number of ballots counted plus any ballots not counted. Ballots not counted may include, but not be limited to: Provisional ballots, ballots referred to the canvassing board, ballots to be duplicated, ballots with write-in votes, spoiled ballots.

(3) Any discrepancies in precinct or poll-site results compared with the ballot accountability form must be investigated. At a minimum, the following areas must be checked ((until)) in an attempt to resolve the discrepancy ((is resolved)):

(a) Check the accuracy of the ballot accountability form.

(b) Recount the signatures in the poll book.

(c) Check the spoiled ballots.

(d) Check the provisional ballots.

(e) Count the ballot stubs.

(f) Check the poll-site supplies for ballots.

(g) Manually count the number of ballots.

(h) Call the poll workers.

(4) The ballot count included in the ballot accountability form must be compared to the number of ballots counted at the counting center;

(5) All steps to reconcile each precinct and the ballot accountability count with the number of ballots reported shall be documented, including any discrepancies that cannot be resolved. Reconciliation of all precincts shall be completed and presented to the county canvassing board before the election can be certified.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 29A.04.611. 05-17-145, 434-262-203, filed 8/19/05, effective 9/19/05. Statutory Authority: RCW 29A.04.610. 05-06-035 and 05-08-065, 434-262-203, filed 2/25/05, effective 3/28/05.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 05-17-145, filed 8/19/05, effective 9/19/05)

WAC 434-262-204   Poll-site ballot reconciliation -- Precinct count optical scan and direct recording devices.   Poll-site ballots shall be reconciled in the following manner:

(1) Compare the total number of votes cast from each counter at the poll-site and the number of signatures in the poll book(s).

(2) The number of ballots issued should equal the number of ballots counted plus any ballots not counted. Ballots not counted may include, but not be limited to: Provisional ballots, ballots referred to the canvassing board, ballots to be duplicated, ballots with write-in votes, any out-sorted ballots, spoiled ballots, and ballots canceled in accordance with WAC 434-253-080.

(3) Any discrepancies in precinct or poll-site results compared with the ballot accountability form must be investigated. At a minimum, the following areas must be checked ((until)) in an attempt to resolve the discrepancy ((is resolved)):

(a) Check the accuracy of the ballot accountability form.

(b) Recount the signatures in the poll book.

(c) Ballot counter/direct recording device results.

(d) Check the bins in the ballot counter(s).

(e) Check the spoiled ballots.

(f) Check the provisional ballots.

(g) Count the ballot stubs.

(h) Check the poll-site supplies for ballots.

(i) Manually count the number of ballots.

(j) Call the poll workers.

(4) The ballot count included in the ballot accountability form must be compared to the number of ballots counted at the counting center;

(5) All steps to reconcile each precinct and the ballot accountability count with the number of ballots reported shall be documented, including any discrepancies that cannot be resolved. Reconciliation of all precincts shall be completed and presented to the county canvassing board before the election may be certified.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 29A.04.611. 05-17-145, 434-262-204, filed 8/19/05, effective 9/19/05. Statutory Authority: RCW 29A.04.610. 05-06-035 and 05-08-065, 434-262-204, filed 2/25/05, effective 3/28/05.]

Washington State Code Reviser's Office