The pictures, words, and video in this section provide an overview of how ballots are scanned and how a chain of custody is maintained throughout the process. These photos and video were taken during the the June 2008 primary election, except for video of Mitch Trachtenberg at the bottom of the page which was taken in December of 2008. These processes are still being used.
Rack of Boxes Containing Ballots Await Scanning
Boxes and bags containing ballots were retrieved from a secure location in the Elections Office. The boxes were brought into a small room adjacent to the office of the then-Registrar of Voters, Carolyn Crnich, and placed on a rack. Once scanned, each box or bag were numbered and resealed by the volunteers doing the scanning. A simpler seal is currently being used than the one shown below. However, much of the same information is continues to be kept in an audit log which still updated by the person doing the scanning.
seal used to re-seal boxes after scanning
The seal has an adhesive backing and is adhered to the box after the ballots have been scanned. A volunteer fills out the form, noting when the when the box was delivered, who opened it, and how many ballots were in it. Some of the information entered on this form is also entered on a security log, which is filled out be a volunteer that operates the scanner.
Parke Bostrom, hcetp volunteer and Kelly Sanders, elections supervisor, 2008
Parke Bostrum is holding a form that is filled out volunteers with information such as how many ballots are in the box.
Registrar of Voters Carolyn Crnich (retired) Scanning ballots
Carolyn Crnich at the scanning workstation. The scanner is a Fujitsu 5900c. The scanner has an imprinter which prints a unique serial number in the margin of ballot before a digital picture of the ballot is taken.
computer screen Image of Ballot next to Physical Ballot
Image of a Scanned Ballot with Serial Number Highlighted
Each ballot is imprinted with a unique serial number before it is imaged. Part of the serial number contains information about which box the ballot comes from. This feature allows us to “tie together” an image on with the paper ballot.
7) Registrar of Voters Carolyn Crnich at Scanning Ballots
In this video, you can hear me instructing Carolyn on how to use the scanning software. The software that was used for scanning in June was proprietary Windows based software that came with the scanner. (But this changed for the better by November. We were able to work with a programmer, M. Allan Noah, who became the “5th Beatle” of our group. Allan was able to modify the Linux software driver so that it worked with the imprinter. This allowed Mitch Trachtenberg to develop an open source scanning program. We now can use Linux and do not have to navigate between so many windows. Great work guys!)
HCETP Volunteer Kevin Collins Holds the First Box to Be Scanned
Kevin Collins holds the first box to be opened for scanning. Each box is sequentially numbered. The plastic tubs in the background hold signature cards of registered voters and were not used by the HCETP.
HCETP Volunteer Kevin collins
Kevin Collins stands watch over the box of ballots that awaits sealing (above). The seal that Parke Bostrom filled out rests on top of the box. In the background, Parke Bostrom (left) and Mitch Trachtenberg (right) discuss the official results versus the results from scanning.
seal is affixed to box of scanned ballots
A seal is affixed to the first box of ballots that was scanned. Some of the same information is also entered in a log. The log provides a running tally of how many ballots has been scanned. After a batch of boxes has been scanned they are returned to the basement. Images are digitally signed and published after the scanning is complete.
the open-source Ballot Browser Program
The picture above is a screen shot of an auditing program that was developed by Mitch Trachtenberg. This free and open source program provides the transparency that is missing from the proprietary software currently in use by Humboldt County. This program counts ballots for precincts.