Our Chief – Warren Slocum – has always maintained that the most important, least understood, part of any election is the audit of that election, otherwise known as the Canvass. This is the part of the election that is “proof of the pudding” an expression my mother used to use that to this day I don’t quite understand. Unlike that expression, the Canvass provides that transparent look at the election results that gives election administrators, candidates, voters and anyone who cares to take a close look, the confidence to know that every vote that was cast in an election was, in fact, counted and counted as it was intended.
The Canvass technically begins when the polls close on Election Night. But the majority of the work of the Canvass begins the following morning. And that’s a good thing. We all need sleep. It continues for the next 28 days. The warehouse will be humming with activity. (nevermind that we’re also preparing for the June 2 Special Election for the Redwood City Elementary School District).
So, what’s the first order of business? The retrieval of all of the eSlates that were locked together at the precincts Election Night and picked up the following day, the verification of signatures on the vote by mail ballots that were dropped off at the polls on Election Day (turns out there were 12,000+) ballots cast this way, the research that goes into verifying the signatures and registration status of everyone who cast a provisional ballot at the polls, and the inventory and return of all supplies in the red supply suitcases. That’s just the beginning.
Think of it this way–there’s the rest of the ballots that have to be validated before they can be counted, there’s the whole warehouse that has to be put back in order (voting equipment, supplies, etc.), and then there’s the counting of those ballots that passed the signature verification check. All that has to go on before the 1% manual audit can be conducted. With 407 precincts – there’s lots of stuff. And it’s a surprisingly manual process if you were to visit the warehouse to see for yourself. This brings me to my next point!
All of this is open to public view – observers are welcome. We do ask that you call the Elections Office, specifically Narda Garcia, the Elections Supervisor at (650) 312-5365 and let her know you’ll be coming. She’ll issue you a visitors badge, give you an overview of what you’re seeing and answer any questions you have.