950 Mass. Reg. 54.06

Current through Register Vol. 1456, November 12, 2021
Section 54.06 - After the Polls Close: Optical Scanner Ballots
(1)Votes Counted Continuously. The tabulation of the votes shall take place in the polling place. The tabulation shall continue without interruption until all the votes are counted and the results are announced.
(2)Public May Observe Counting. The general public must be allowed inside the polling place after the polls close. The public must observe from outside the guard rail. Only election officers may touch ballots. All ballots must be kept in full view of the public while the counting is going on.
(3)Take Count of Voters on Both Voting Lists. The election officer in charge of each of the two voting lists shall announce the total number. The clerk shall record the number.
(4)Clerk Shall Record Final Ballot Box Register Number in Election Record.
(5)Number of Voters Should Equal the Total of the Votes. The total number of voters checked in on the voting list should equal the sum of the number of votes recorded on the final ballot box register.
(6)Seal Checked Voting Lists in Envelope. After tallying the voting lists an election officer shall place the tallied voting lists in the envelope provided for that purpose. Election officers shall seal the envelope. The warden and clerk shall sign the certificate. This envelope shall be kept separate.
(7)Print Results and Record them on Tally Sheets.
(a)Print Results. The election officer shall cause the vote tabulator to print the results of the election and shall remove the results paper tape from the vote tabulator and give it to the clerk.
(b)Read Results Out Loud. One election officer shall read the results paper tape out loud. The officer shall read the name of each candidate, the number of each question, the number of votes recorded, and the number of overvotes and undervotes/or blanks for each office.
(c)Record Numbers on Total Tally Sheet. As each number of votes is read aloud, it shall be recorded on the total tally sheet by an election officer of a different political party than the reader.
(8)Examining Ballots. The election officers shall remove all ballots that have been deposited in the ballot box and shall examine each ballot for write-ins or stickers and for any invalidating mark. No ballot shall be counted which contains any mark clearly designed to let election officers know that a certain person voted in a certain way. If a voter writes his name or marks his ballot with the letters of his name, this ballot shall be counted as a blank and the election officer must subtract one vote from all candidates and questions marked on the ballot.
(9)Read and Record Write-Ins and Ballots Segregated by the Vote Tabulator.
(a) The election officers shall hand count all ballots which have been segregated by the vote tabulator into a separate compartment and any other write-in or sticker vote. In the case of a primary, election officers shall first divide the ballots by party before segregating write-in votes.
(b) Two tellers of different parties shall make a team; both shall review each ballot specified above. One person shall read the vote and the other shall record the tally. Only the teller actually marking the tally sheet shall have any marking device, which must be a red pencil or pen.
(c) The election officers shall read and record each write-in vote whenever the intent of the voter can reasonably be determined, whether or not the voter has omitted the address, made a mistake in the name or address, or failed to mark the vote indicator for the write-in, sticker candidate, or ballot candidate.
(d) If there is no vote indicator marked for a write-in or ballot candidate but the name of a candidate has been written-in on the ballot, the election officer shall count the write-in vote and make a notation on the write-in tally sheet to subtract one vote from the blank total for that office.
(e) On a ballot segregated by the vote tabulator, if there are no vote indicators marked for any ballot candidate, but the election officer can reasonably determine the intent of the voter, the election officer shall count the vote for the ballot candidate(s), and subtract one ballot from the "uncounted ballots" total of the results paper tape.
(f) If there are more vote indicators marked than there are candidates to be elected, then a blank has already been registered on the vote tabulator for that office and the name of a write-in candidate, if any, shall not be counted by the election officer. The election officer shall indicate this on the write-in tally sheet.
(g) If (because of write-ins or stickers) the number of votes for an office exceeds the number allowed, but the number of vote indicators marked for an office does not exceed the number allowed, the election officer shall count a blank for that office, make a notation on the write-in tally sheet to subtract a vote from the total of the appropriate ballot candidate(s) and add a vote to the blank total for that office.
(h) A separate block tally sheet shall be used for recording write-in votes and then the totals and necessary subtractions transferred to the total tally sheet.
(10)Total Votes. Election officers shall total the write-in votes and the votes listed on the results paper tape, making all subtractions necessary according to 950 CMR 54.06(8) and (9), on the total tally sheet.
(11)Candidates May Check Votes on the Results Paper Tape. Any person present shall be allowed to check the vote count on the results paper tape for one-half hour after the announcement of the vote for the office.
(12)Escrow Ballot Envelope. Two election officers shall number escrow ballots contained in the escrow ballot envelope, and write this number on the outside of the envelope. They shall not count the votes on any escrow ballots. They shall then seal the escrow ballot envelope.
(13)Warden and Clerk Sign Total Tally Sheet. After the total tally sheet is correct, the warden and clerk shall write the date, ward and precinct and city or town on the tally sheet. They shall attach the results paper tape to the total tally sheet.
(14)Clerk Shall Complete Election Record.
(15)Announce Final Returns. Officials shall wait until tally sheets balance before announcing any vote totals. The warden or the clerk shall announce the final returns.
(15A)Reporting Results to Central Reporting Service. The clerk may report by telephone the results of final precinct tallies for any presidential preference primary, state primary or general election to a central media reporting service in consideration for a contribution, in an amount approved by the state secretary, to the respective state-wide municipal clerks association to be used for continuing education programs for municipal clerks.
(16)Count Spoiled Ballots. The number of ballots spoiled by voters and returned during the day shall be noted in the clerk's Election Record.
(17)Count Unused Ballots. Election officers shall count all unused ballots. The clerk shall note in the Election Record the number and party of unused ballots.
(18)Spoiled and Unused Ballots. Election officers shall place the spoiled and unused ballots in the container provided under seal.
(19)Gather All Counted Ballots. Election officers shall put all cast ballots in envelopes. They shall place all envelopes in the containers provided for the cast ballots.
(20)Seal Container. The warden shall seal the container with the seal provided and shall attach the proper tag for cast ballots only. In addition, an election officer may affix a private seal.
(21)Sign Cast Ballot Container. The warden and clerk shall sign the container and shall enter the election and the date. They also shall fill out and sign a certificate stating that all ballots cast are contained therein.
(22)Total Tally Sheets. The warden and clerk shall place the total tally sheet along with the results paper tape and the write-in tally sheet, in an envelope, seal it and sign the outside of the envelope. This envelope shall be kept separate.
(23)Return All Election Materials. The election officers shall have all election materials returned to the city or town clerk, as follows:
(a) the counted ballots and the spoiled and unused ballots sealed in the proper containers;
(b) the marked voting lists, the write-in and total tally sheets with the results paper tape attached, and escrow ballots in separate envelopes;
(c) all other election supplies.

The election officers shall not throw anything away.

950 CMR 54.06