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 by me (Tom Pinto) during the the June 2008 primary election, except for video of Mitch Trachtenberg at the bottom of the page (Dec. 2008).
1) Rack of Boxes
Ballots Await Scanning
Boxes and bags containing ballots are retrieved from a secure location in the Elections Office basement. The boxes are brought into a small room adjacent to the office of the Registrar of Voters, Carolyn Crnich, and placed on a rack. Each box or bag is numbered on the outside by a volunteer.
2) Election Transparency Project Seal
A volunteer then fills out a form documenting when the when the box was delivered, who openned it, and how many ballots were in it. This seal has an adhesive backing and will be adhered to the box after scanning is completed for that box. Some of the information entered on this form is also entered on a security log.
Volunteer Parke Bostrom discusses with Humboldt County Election Supervisor Kelly Sanders the logistics of sealing the boxes. Bostrum is holding a form that is filled out volunteers with information such as how many ballots are in the box.
4) Registrar of Voters Carolyn Crnich at Scanning Workstation
Carolyn Crnich sits 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. Ballot images may be obtained on DVD from the Elections Department. They are also available for downloading on the website of project volunteer Parke Bostrom
5) Image of Ballot Displayed on Computer Screen next to the Physical Ballot
This is a picture I took of a ballot displayed on the computer screen (left) next to an actual ballot (right). The computer's cursor is circled in yellow. Chalk up one more vote for Mickey Mouse in the First District race.
6) 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 the Internet with the paper ballot.
7) Registrar of Voters Carolyn Crnich at Scanning BallotsIn 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!)
8) ETP Volunteer Kevin Collins
Holds the First Box to Be Scanned
Kevin Collins holds first box to be openned for scanning. Each box is sequentially numbered. The plastic tubs in the background hold signature cards of registered voters and are not used by the ETP.
Kevin Collins stands watch over the box of ballots that awaits sealing. 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.
10) Parke Bostrom Seals Box
Parke Bostrom applies a seal 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.
12) Programmer Mitch Trachtenber Discusses How the
Ballot Browser Program Works at Counting Ballots