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One Percent Manual Tally Procedure

Registrar Of Voters (2008-02-08) Registrar Of Voters

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This procedure is specified in California Elections Code 2007 Article 5. One Percent Manual Tally Section 15360, Manual Tally when using a voting system.

15360. (a) During the official canvass of every election in which a voting system is used, the official conducting the election shall conduct a public manual tally of the ballots tabulated by those devices, including vote by mail voters' ballots, cast in 1 percent of the precincts chosen at random by the elections official. If 1 percent of the precincts is less than one whole precinct, the tally shall be conducted in one precinct chosen at random by the elections official.

In addition to the 1 percent manual tally, the elections official shall, for each race not included in the initial group of precincts, count one additional precinct. The manual tally shall apply only to the race not previously counted.

Additional precincts for the manual tally may be selected at the discretion of the elections official.

(b) If vote by mail ballots are cast on a direct recording electronic voting system at the office of an elections official or at a satellite location of the office of an elections official pursuant to Section 3018, the official conducting the election shall either include those ballots in the manual tally conducted pursuant to subdivision (a) or conduct a public manual tally of those ballots cast on no fewer than 1 percent of all the direct recording electronic voting machines used in that election chosen at random by the elections official.

(c) The elections official shall use either a random number generator or other method specified in regulations that shall be adopted by the Secretary of State to randomly choose the initial precincts or direct recording electronic voting machines subject to the public manual tally.

(d) The manual tally shall be a public process, with the official conducting the election providing at least a five-day public notice of the time and place of the manual tally and of the time and place of the selection of the precincts to be tallied prior to conducting the tally and selection.

(e) The official conducting the election shall include a report on the results of the 1 percent manual tally in the certification of the official canvass of the vote. This report shall identify any discrepancies between the machine count and the manual tally and a description of how each of these discrepancies was resolved. In resolving any discrepancy involving a vote recorded by means of a punchcard voting system or by electronic or electromechanical vote tabulating devices, the voter verified paper audit trail shall govern if there is a discrepancy between it and the electronic record.

Manual tally procedure in a nutshell

  1. Select dates for the random draw of precincts and the actual tally, notify the public by placing a notice at the front counter. (COPs: This should also be placed on the website.)
  2. Random Selection of Precincts
    1. Calculate one percent and round up.
    2. Have scheduled observers attend the draw
    3. The procedure uses three sets of balls from 0-9 and one set of balls numbered 0 and 1, representing the four digits, (ones, tens, hundreds, and thousands, respectively).
    4. Shake the containers and draw balls manually. (COPs: Since the containers are clear plastic, this may result in trying to choose specific balls.)
    5. Draw ones, tens, hundreds digits.
    6. If the three numbers in step six is 650 or less, the thousands container is then shaken, otherwise if the number is 651 or greater, the selection is complete.
    • Probability of selecting any number 650 or less or from 1000 to 1650 = (0.1)*(0.1)*(0.1)*(.65)*(0.5) = 0.0325%
    • Probability of selecting any number 651 to 999 = (0.1)*(0.1)*(0.1)*(0.35) = 0.0350%
    • The only time this would be correct is when "Cut Off" (i.e. 650 in this case) is 666 so that 666/2 = 1000-666.
      • Probability of selecting any number 666 or less or from 1000 to 1666 = (0.1)*(0.1)*(0.1)*(.666)*(0.5) = 0.0333%
      • Probability of selecting any number 667 to 999 = (0.1)*(0.1)*(0.1)*(0.333) = 0.0333%
    • Therefore, this procedure does not produce exact results and is not generally applicable, however, results are approximately correct because 650 is almost the same as 666.
    • Selecting precincts randomly will not necessarily result in even sampling of the precincts. In the November 2008 election, no precincts were selected in the range from 1 to 453 inclusive while nine precincts were chosen in the highest numbered 450 precincts. The likelihood of that happening is about 1 chance out of 10,000 tries, which is rare indeed.
  3. Record contests as selected by the random draw.
  4. Select additional precincts for the manual tally to cover all remaining contests on the ballot.
  5. Prepare for the manual tally, including:
    • Order summary reports for election night and the related ballots. (COPs note: the staff creating these reports will know which ones are being requested, and therefore, could conceivably prepare known good reports for those precincts while the balance of the election may be substantially modified.)
  6. Conduct the manual tally
    • Each precinct as one three-person team, one calls out the vote and two tally on separate sheets.
    • Supervisor compares with summary report.
    • If there is a variance, they re-tally until they agree, but no more than three times.
    • Supervisor records results, variances, and causes (if knoswn) on consolidation log.
  7. When the tally is complete, return ballots for secure archival
    • Compile a memo of the results for the RoV.

Recommended Practice to select random numbers:

COPs recommends that the Registrar Of Voters change this procedure as follows:
  • Use four ten-sided die (which are easily available on-line for $3.99 for a set of 10 die).
  • Roll each die separately, perhaps in separate boxes of use colored die to allow them to be separated to represent ones, tens, hundreds and thousands.
  • Declare that on the die representing thousands, even numbers will be considered "0" and odd numbers represent "1".
  • If the total number shown on the die is greater than the highest numbered precinct sequence number (1650 in this case), disregard the roll and roll again.
  • If the collection center of the precinct chosen has been chosen before, disregard the roll and roll again. This will allow us to sample a different collection center with each sampled precinct.

Uneven result issue

If completely random numbers are used, it is possible that the total set of precincts will be sampled unevenly. This is not desired as it does not provide a good random sample for the 1% manual tally. In the Nov. 2008 case, no precincts in the first 453 precincts were chosen while nine were chosen in the highest-numbered 453 precincts.

The 1% Manual Tally sample should be drawn using traditional sampling techniques. If you can imagine sampling a production line producing a product, you will "randomly" choose a product to test every now and then, somewhat evenly during the production run. You don't want to accidentally choose all your samples in one short time of production or you might miss issues that arise in other parts.

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Topic revision: r8 - 2016-08-22, RaymondLutz

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