What Happens with the Manual Tally?

After every election, the Elections Office conducts the Official Canvass and Manual Tally.  Once the Official Canvass is complete, the results are certified and a Statement of the Vote is published.

But that’s not the end of the road.

Every county must submit their respective Manual Tally findings to the California Secretary of State — currently Debra Bowen.  According to the Secretary of State website, “The report must identify any discrepancies (i.e., variances) between the machine tally and the manual tally and must provide a description of how each of these variances was resolved.”

According to David Tom, San Mateo County Elections Manager, “These reports are another way to assure voting systems are functioning properly for each election.  But most importantly, they make elections more transparent and help instill voter confidence.”

For those that love reading about codes, you can read more about this particular Elections requirement by reviewing Elections Code 15360(e).

While there is no specific deadline for submitting the Manual Tally report, the Secretary of State has asked that the report be sent with the certification of the election.  San Mateo County certified results and published the June Statewide Direct Primary Statement of the Vote on June 26 — well before the 29 day deadline.

If a Manual Tally Report is not submitted in conjunction, it won’t delay the certification of election results.  The  Secretary of State has created a web page to track and post copies of each county’s report.  Because the Official Canvass deadline was fairly recent, the page has not yet been updated to reflect the June Statewide Direct Primary reports.   However, those that want to take a look at the county findings from the February Presidential Primary Election can download pdfs of the various reports.  Keep http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/manual_count_reports.htm bookmarked so that you can check back for future updates!

And while you’re waiting, click here to take a look at the San Mateo County June Manual Tally report.


One response to “What Happens with the Manual Tally?

  1. If I read the Manual Tally Report correctly, the 13 sample precincts selected for manual recount included 9 precincts outside the Pacifica School District, and 4 precincts inside the District.

    The recount identified 9 mis-read ballots from the 9 sample precincts outside the Pacifica School District, and a comparatively surprising zero (0) mis-read ballots from inside the District.

    If my grasp of probability is correct, there was only a 1-in-27 chance that all 9 out of 9 mis-read ballots in the sample set would happen to have been cast outside the Pacifica School District.

    Although this small random chance *might* account for the lopsided distribution of mis-read ballots, it’s hard to ignore the implied 26-in-27 probability that something else was involved –perhaps a wilful overlooking of marks similar to those found and reported in the other precincts, because identification of even a single mis-read ballot in Pacifica would have required escalation??

    I would feel more confident of the accuracy of the canvass if the rest of the Pacifica School District were recounted as well. Even if the manual tally report is 100% accurate, the error rate observed for the county as a whole would imply that 20 ballots were mis-read in the remaining 29 precincts of the District –many times the infinitesimal margin of victory, and therefore justifying an escalation IMO.

    [See also http://insideelections.shapethefuture.org/2008/06/20/canvass-completion-nearing/ ]

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