Clerk explains election process
Pezzullo said he wanted to find out how the voting process works from start to finish; he said he was not contesting the results. Incumbent District 2 Supervisor Jim Chapman defeated Pezzullo by 121 votes in last month’s primary election.
Bustamante explained the various computer systems her office uses during the election and how the ballots are stored and counted.
She noted the county has a Diebold touch screen system at every polling place as mandated by state law.
These machines allow a handicapped person to vote without assistance, and she admitted they raise some security issues when connected to the Internet.
But Bustamante said the Diebold machines are seldom used and are not connected to the Internet, making it impossible for someone to hack into them.
She explained how the AccuVote machines used at the polling places are like the readers schools use to score scantron test forms.
Memory cards, normally stored in a safe in the county clerk’s office, are loaded into the machines and checked for accuracy with sample ballots provided by the state-approved contractor that prints the ballots.
Before the machines are used, a report verifies there are no results recorded.
Bustamante said these AccuVote machines have been in use in Lassen County since 2000.
Poll workers cannot access the memory cards and the AccuVote machines are always in the presence of at least two election workers. These machines also are never connected to the Internet.
The Global Election Management System (GEMS) is another stand-alone computer that is not connected to the Internet. This GEMS is verified by the state of California.
At the polling places, the poll workers must account for every ballot delivered to them, even the unused ballots.
Bustamante explained the paper ballots are retained for two years and those are the record of the election.
Vote by mail ballots are run through an AccuVote machine in the clerk’s office in groups of 25 prior to Election Day, but Bustamante said the votes are not counted until the polls close.
After the election, a Canvass Committee of volunteers audits the election results.
Believe it or not, this June’s election required eight different ballot types, and Bustamante said printing the sample ballot is one of the most expensive parts of the election process.
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