December 13, 2004

Recount Procedures Requested for Montgomery County

TO: Montgomery County Board of Elections

FROM: Ed Orlett DATE: December 12, 2004


Following are the recount procedures we request be used in the Election Recount on Tuesday, December 14. For clarification on any of these requests, please call 614-469-0410.


The purpose of these tests is to check the computer's processing of the candidate rotations for every precinct. Because a candidate's ballot position is rotated from precinct to precinct (e.g. Precinct 1: Bush, Kerry, Badnarik, Cobb ; Precinct 2: Kerry Badnarik, Cobb, Bush), the program must be able to link votes cast in different ballot positions to the correct candidate. This test guarantees that no changes have been made in the computer programming, and that the links are being made correctly. The Board has the choice as to which one of the following tests to perform, but should be urged to perform Test A.

A. Accuracy and Logic Test/aka 55 or 56 Card test (This should be run for each precinct separately)

1. Computer should be cleaned of all the votes.

2. For each Precinct put together a Test Deck of 55 Ballot cards Plus 1 Over vote.

3. One card gets punched for Ballot Position 1

Two cards get punched for Ballot Position 2

Three for Position 3, etc. through Ballot Position 10

4. Last card gets punched for more than 1 candidate to test over voting

5. Computer Result should be that Candidate 1 gets 1 vote, C2 gets 2 votes, C3 gets 3 votes, etc.. If the Candidates get the wrong number of votes (e.g. Candidate 1 gets 3 votes and Candidate 2 gets 1 vote) then the computer programming is not correctly processing the ballot rotation.

B. Hypothetical Vote Test

1. Computer cleaned of all votes.

2. For each Precinct BOE should put together a test deck of a certain number of ballots for each candidate

3. Witnesses should be able to observe the creation of the test deck, or Witnesses should be able to check the test deck and verify the number of votes for each candidate before they are run through the computer.

4. Ballots should be run through computer to see if total matched pre-determined ballot number.

5. Witnesses should be able compare the computer votes to the predetermined votes.

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II. 3% HAND COUNT (Approximately 8,629 ballots in Montgomery County)

A. The Board of Elections (BOE) will randomly choose a certain number of Precincts with votes adding up to at least 8629.

B. Each witness should be able to sit at a table with one Democrat and One Republican employee from the BOE.

1. Witnesses will not touch the ballots. The employees will handle the ballots. Witnesses should be able to ask employees to turn them or hold them up for closer scrutiny if they feel they have good cause.

2. There should be a BOE employee available to answer questions about the process.

C. A Rotation Guide should be provided that would indicate the rotation for each precinct. Even where multiple machines were used in a precinct, the rotation on the ballots for the precinct is the same.

D. Witnesses should be shown the ballot position for Kerry in the precinct for the count. The number will be BELOW the hole in the ballot.

E. A Visual Inspection (Infra §III) should be done for each ballot.

F. After being visually inspected the ballots should be placed in separate stacks for each candidate, and one for over votes and under votes.

G. The BOE employees are asked hold each stack up to the light to see if light can be seen through the stack's hole. Witnesses should be allowed to check to make sure that the hole goes all the way through.

H. After the ballots have been inspected and placed into stacks, they should be counted by hand by both the Democrat and the Republican.

1. The Witnesses will keep track of the count.

I. Ballots should then be run through the machines.

1. If there is a discrepancy a request will be made that they be hand counted again. The presumption is that human error caused the discrepancy. If there is a discrepancy a second time, then pursuant to Secretary of State guidelines, a request will be made that the ballots for the whole County must be hand counted.

2. If there is no discrepancy then the remaining precincts will be run through the computer tabulation system.


A. Under Ohio law witnesses are permitted to "see" but not touch ballots during a recount. The Ohio Attorney General, in Opinion 74-103, has interpreted "see" to mean that "witnesses have the right to observe every ballot, if they so desire, to look for mutilation or other invalidities, whatever method of recounting is used."

B. We ask for a full visual inspection of at least the ballots in the 3% hand count discussed above. We also ask to have a visual inspection (not a count) of all of

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the rejected Provisional and Absentee Ballots. In addition, we ask to have a visual inspection of all the under and over votes.

C. Any disputed ballots should go into a pile to be inspected by the Director and

Deputy Director of the Board of Elections who will make final determinations as

to the status of the ballot. If witnesses still have a serious dispute regarding the

ballot after the Director has made his determination, will ask for the full Board to

review the ballot. Disputed ballots should be identified in some manner.

D. Once a decision has made regarding the status of a disputed ballot, the ballot should either be corrected (a hanging chad may be removed) or remade (the correction should be made on a new ballot.) The ballot should be put into a form that can be processed by the computer so that it can be included in the recount.

E. Process of Inspection

1. Witnesses should be advised of the rotation order for each precinct. Witnesses will clarify with the BOE employee the rotation before the process begins.

2. Witnesses will focus on only the part of the card that is relevant to John Kerry.

3. The BOE employees should either slide the ballot on the table and turn it over, or hold it up to the light and turn it around.

a) Clean punch - okay and go to next.

b) 2-4 corners detached = a vote. 1 corner detached = no vote

c) Witnesses will ask to see the backs of the ballots. They will also ask to have ballot held up to light. Chads can be observed more closely from the back.

4. Witnesses will verbally "okay" each ballot in a timely fashion to indicate that you are ready for the next ballot.

5. If a chad is broken in two or more corners in Kerry's box, even if the chad is clean punched through for another candidate The witness will ask that this be considered an over vote and should re-categorized as an over vote if it previously was not done. Witnesses will make sure their dispute is known and that the ballot goes into the disputed pile and is reviewed by the Director.

6. Witnesses will look at chads carefully, as sometimes even when they are broken in corners they will stick in the box.

F. Special Situations

1. Remade Ballots

If a ballot was damaged, and the BOE remade the vote on a new ballot, witnesses will ask to see the original ballot to check the accuracy of the remade ballot.

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2. Backwards Ballot

This may occur if the voter stuck the ballot into the voting mechanism in the wrong way. Because the BOE is charged with determining voter intent, these ballots should be re-made and counted. Witnesses will dispute any such ballot that is not remade and counted..

a) Witnesses can tell if it's a backwards ballot if:

(1) There is a hole in the card but not in the chad area

(2) There are shards of paper sticking out front instead of in back.

3. Dimpled chads - If the ballot is dimpled for other offices as well, it is most likely a frail voter or a faulty stylus. Witnesses will ask that the voter's intent be honored if it can be determined..

4. Marked -- Votes marked with an X, or in some similar way, instead of a punch should be counted.


A. Witnesses will determine how many voting machines there were in each precinct.

B. Pages from the Punch Card Frames may be stored with other precinct supplies. Determine the location of the pages.

C. Ballot Rotation Errors occur in one of two ways:

1. Computer programming faulty and did not read rotation correctly

2. Voter was given the wrong rotation at the machine.

D. Witnesses will check for Ballot Rotation errors using the Ballot Rotation Guide to determine that the page in the Punch Card Frame corresponds with the rotation noted in the Guide.

E. Witnesses will make sure that the pages were inserted into the Frames in the right order.

F. If the rotation page in the Punch Card Frame is wrong, or if the pages were in the wrong order, this is critical and should be brought to the attention of the Director immediately.


A. Witnesses will examine Provisional Ballots carefully for the following:

1. If a Provisional ballot is rejected for lack of Affirmation when one of three possible Affirmations is signed, the rejection is incorrect and will be disputed. The Affirmation could be on the provisional envelope, or one of two stickers on the envelope.

2. If a Provisional ballot is rejected for no election official signature this is incorrect and will be disputed.

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3. If a Provisional ballot is rejected for no date of birth witnesses will ask to compare it to the original registration card. If the date of birth is on the registration card, the rejection is incorrect and will be disputed.

4. For Provisional ballots rejected due to the voter having cast the ballot in the wrong precinct, witnesses will ask for an alphabetical list of Polling Places and Precincts, and determine if the voter was in the correct Polling Place. Those rejections on the basis of likely poll worker error will be disputed. Witnesses will record the number of those who were in the right polling place but voted in the wrong precinct and record as much data about these individuals as possible. Name, address, etc.


A. Absentee Voters Casting Provisional Ballots Due to Non-Receipt of Absentee Ballots

1. Witnesses will determine the number of Provisional Votes not counted because the voters were issued Absentee Ballots.

2. Witnesses will ask BOE employees to determine the number of those rejected Provisional Voters who actually had their Absentee Ballots counted.

3. For those voters whose Absentee votes were not counted, the witness may dispute the rejection of the Provisional ballot on the basis that the Provisional votes should be counted if the Absentee vote is not. In White v. Blackwell, (U.S. District Court Northern District of Ohio, Case No. 3:04CV7689, 11/2/04) Federal Judge David A. Katz ruled that the federal Help America Vote Act ("HAVA") provides for provisional voting for Ohio registered voters who had requested absentee ballots but failed to receive them. Under Ohio law, one can argue that where the absentee ballot was not received, this provisional vote should count.

B. Witnesses will ask BOE employees to determine whether the Reason for Rejecting the Absentee Ballot is because "Reason" is left unchecked.

1. If that is the case witnesses will ask to see the Absentee Application

2. If the "Reason" is checked on the application, then the rejection will be disputed. The BOE was given the information it needs and the ballot should be counted.


A. Computer Count

After the Computer Count witnesses will ask BOE employees to make sure that:

Regular Ballots Cast + Accepted Provisionals +Accepted Absentees = Computer Count

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B. Precinct Poll Book Signatures

For each Precinct, will ask to compare ballots cast in precinct (not same as votes)

with number of signatures in poll book for both regular & provisional ballots.

Number of Signatures - Rejected Provisionals + Absentee Ballots (unless there

is a single countywide absentee precinct.) = Ballots Cast. If the numbers don't

add up there should be a written explanation. [IT MAY MEAN THERE IS A



C. Review Precinct Ballot Accounting Sheets

Separate accountings for Provisionals and Regular Ballots:

Ballots Cast + Spoiled + Unused = Ballots Delivered to Precinct. If the numbers

don't add up there should be a written explanation that witnesses will ask to see.

Respectfully requested,


Montgomery County Co-coordinator

Ohio Democratic Party aka Kerry-Edwards Campaign

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