Welcome to the New Election Officer online training class!
This class will go over all information you need to know before your first election.
Review all information in these slides and notes at your own pace.
We will go over all information you need to know, including basic information for all election officers, which IDs you may accept from voters, how to use the Poll Pads to check-in voters, how to use the ExpressVote for voters needing help with accessibility, and how to use the DS200 ballot scanner.
At the end, you must complete a quiz to receive credit for this class.
These training materials will prepare you for any upcoming election.
However, if you are reviewing this material in advance of the June 2020 Primary Elections, note that we are continuing to prepare and execute our Contingency Response Plan for COVID-19. Chiefs and Assistant Chiefs will receive more detailed procedures during their pre-election briefing.Election Officers will also be provided with detailed information about our Contingency Response Plan for COVID-19 before the election.
At minimum, we will provide PPE Materials for the June 2020 Election to each polling place with gloves, face masks, and hand sanitizer for election officers. We will limit the number of voters in the voting room and require voters to maintain a 6-foot distance from each other and from election officers. And if any election officer is ill before or on election day, they will be dismissed immediately and replaced if possible.
As we plan for and conduct each election, we follow four guiding principles.
These inform each step and action we take and it is important for you to read, understand, and embody these principles as well.
WORKING HOURS: Election officers should be at the polling place and ready to go by 5:00 AM. The day ends when all work is complete & you are released by the Chief. Voting ends at 7:00 PM and it takes most precincts 1-2 hours to finish closing the polling place.
COMPENSATION: You are paid $175 for a full day of service. Officers who arrive late (after 5:00 AM) may be penalized $25 or dismissed immediately. We strongly encourage you to set multiple alarms so this doesn't happen!
WHAT TO BRING: You should bring all food, medicine, and reading material you need for the day. Note that reading material may not be politically-oriented, such as a newspaper. You may bring electronic devices such as a phone or tablet, but you may not use them while assisting voters.
WHAT TO WEAR: Dress should be business casual. Clean, unripped jeans are acceptable. You don't know what the temperature inside the voting room will be and it can change during the day, so wear layers! Of course, clothing should not be politically-oriented or offensive in nature.
DURING THE DAY: You may not comment on candidates or political issues, current or past. It's very important to note that you can't leave the polling place during the day, so again, make sure to bring everything you need with you for the day.
This is the timeline before, on, and after election day.
Who are the people in the polling place?
These are the 3 types of voting equipment used in the polling place. We will go into more detail about each type of voting equipment later in this training.
During the day, election officers may rotate among 5 main duties.
This is a sample room layout to give you an idea of the flow inside a voting room.
The voting room should always be set up to have the voter move in a circular fashion, with an election officer at each station to help guide them.
As an election officer, it is vitally important to always be professional and polite in the polling place. Always ask before assisting a voter - sometimes, they may not want assistance. Be mindful of your communication at all times.
For the June 2020 election, you must also always exercise social distancing and keep 6-feet between yourself and all others in the voting room. You will also have face masks, gloves, sanitizer, and other materials as part of our Contingency Response Plan for COVID-19.
You should never tell a voter that they cannot vote - instead, direct them to the Chief or Assistant Chief, who can offer them a provisional ballot. Do not touch voters without their permission. Avoid all political topics, especially anything that may be on the ballot.
Perception is everything, so always be aware of your words and actions. You are representing the county! If you have any questions or are unsure of what is acceptable or not, contact us before or on election day.
REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE: If a voter needs help in the voting booth, there is a procedure in place for that which the Chief handles. The voter selects an assistant and both must sign the Request for Assistance form. The assistant can be a family member or friend with them. The assistant can also be an election officer such as you! Note that if the assistant is 15 or younger, no form is required.
LANGUAGE SERVICES: If voters need help in another language, we offer multiple services. For example, many precincts are assigned Language Officers, who have been assessed for their language skills and can help translate (if a Language Officer assists a voter in the voting booth, they would complete a Request for Assistance form). There is also a phone translation service for more than 100 languages. All signs and documents are also translated into 4 languages: English, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Korean.
VOTERS WITH DISABILITIES: If a voter appears to have a disability, be respectful and always ask before assisting them. If a voter has limited vision or impaired hearing, you can inform them they can use the ExpressVote to mark their ballot.
POLL WATCHERS: Authorized representatives of a party or candidate. Poll Watchers are allowed anywhere inside a polling place as long as they don't impede voters or touch voting equipment. Poll Watchers may stay and observe closing procedures; but if they do, they cannot leave the room or report results early.
NEWS MEDIA & INTERVIEWS: Call the Chief if someone wants to interview you! You may provide basic facts (e.g. number of voters checked in), but do not give opinions or forecasts. For anything further, call the Office of Elections.
ELECTRONICS: Voters ARE allowed to use personal electronic devices inside a polling place to take photos, make calls, etc. They are also allowed to take a "selfie" of themselves and/or their ballot. If they want to take a photo that includes other voters, they must ask for and receive permission from those voters first.
Outside the polling place, there is a 40-Foot Prohibited Area , which provides voters unimpeded access to the building.
State law does not permit loitering, congregating, or electioneering within 40 feet of a polling place entrance (i.e. the building entrance, NOT the voting room entrance). Restricted activities include campaigning, handing out flyers, and bake sales.
These activities are permitted outside of the 40-foot Prohibited Area.
There are certain things you must look for on any ID a voter presents:
NOTE: You may have heard the law regarding photo IDs recently changed. This does not take effect until July 1, 2020, which is after the June primary election. We will provide more information about the exact changes at that time.
Here are some samples of valid IDs. It includes:
Again, note that many of these IDs do not have an address or expiration date, but they are still valid for voting.
There are also many IDs that you cannot accept for voting.
You will have a full list of acceptable IDs at the check-in table on election day.
The name on someone's photo ID does not have to exactly match how it appears on the electronic pollbook. For example, someone's ID may say "Bill" but the pollbook says "William". As long as you can reasonably confirm the person in front of you is the person in the pollbook, you may check them in.
Also, if someone provides you a different form of ID, you may not ask for their driver's license instead just because it's easier to scan on the Poll Pads. This is against the law! In fact, we often get called in the office when this happens. If you notice a fellow officer doing this on election day, alert the Chief or our office.
Lastly, you may sometimes get voters who are 17-years-old in a primary election. If they are registered and listed in the Poll Pad, they are permitted to vote! The law says that any registered voter who will be 18 by the time of a general election may vote in its corresponding primary.
If a voter does not present an acceptable form of ID, you should always call the Chief! They are trained on alternatives, including:
If you're not sure how to handle a situation, send the voter to the Chief or Assistant Chief! The Chief and Assistant Chief are trained to handle non-routine voters and other issues. If the Chief or Assistant Chief can't figure it out, they will call our office for assistance.
Let's do a quick review. Which of these IDs is acceptable? Which is not? Why? Take a moment to think about these questions before you read the answer below.
In Fairfax County, we use Poll Pads as our electronic pollbooks. These are iPad-based devices used to check-in voters. They synchronize with each other wirelessly. It's a lot easier than having to check people in on paper, like we used to!
Poll Pads arrive in your polling place in two separate cases.
Each precinct receives 1 iSync drive, which is a small "thumb drive" that must be inserted in Poll Pads individually to update them. The iSync drive contains the most current list of registered voters and absentee voters.
You may ask, why do we need to use an iSync drive? Poll Pads must be prepared 2 weeks before election day so we can send them to your polling place in time, but do not include the final absentee voters or last-minute changes to voter registration. iSync drives are prepared 2 days before election day, after voter registration and absentee voting have ended. That's why it's so important to use the iSync drive to update your Poll Pads in the morning!
OPENING PROCEDURES: During opening procedures, insert your iSync drive into each Poll Pad to update it. If a precinct forgets to update a Poll Pad, it will have an older list of voters and it can take the Office of Elections up to 4 hours to reconcile the data for each Poll Pad.
CLOSING PROCEDURES: During closing procedures, insert your iSync drive in each Poll Pad to export the final voter list. If your Poll Pads do not wirelessly synchronize properly during the day, we can reconcile the data using the exports on the iSync drive.
This is a screenshot of what each Poll Pad should generally look like on election day after using the iSync drive.
Remember to keep your Poll Pads within 30 feet of each other so they may synchronize with each other throughout the day. If they stop synchronizing, bring them closer together or call the Chief.
When you press "Get Started" on the Poll Pad's home screen, it brings you to this screen.
Scanning a voter's driver license is very easy! You simply place the license in the scanning tray, which is attached to the back of the Poll Pad. Make sure the barcode is facing the Poll Pad camera. Then the Poll Pad will scan the barcode and open the voter's record automatically.
If you cannot scan a voter's ID, you will need to search for them manually. When doing a Manual Search, always search for 2 letters of the voter's last name and 1 letter of the voter's first name. If you type more than this, it will take longer and lead to more mistakes.
If you cannot find a voter by name, you can click to do an Advanced Search. This will allow you to look them up by other identifying information, such as their address.
When the list of voters is displayed, tap on the name of the voter who you are checking-in. Be careful not to select the wrong person, such as John Smith Jr instead of John Smith Sr.
When you select a voter to check-in, you will be presented with their voter information. This is a final opportunity to confirm you are checking in the right person.
When you select a voter to check-in, you will also be presented with four possible "flags":
Don't forget - the last step to checking in a voter is pressing the 'Accept' button!
When you press "Accept" to officially check-in a voter, you will be presented with a full-screen green screen. Touch anywhere on the screen to continue.
Now that you know which IDs are acceptable and how to use a Poll Pad, it's important to understand the full order of steps to checking-in a voter.
Remember, MOST check-ins are very simple. For the ones that aren't, just refer the voter to the Chief.
Some issues that you may encounter that you should refer to the Chief include:
Let's do a quick review. Take a moment to think about these questions before you read the answer below.
Sometimes, a voter does not complete the process of voting.
If a voter leaves their ballot in the polling place, they are a FLEEING VOTER. If they left the ballot on the DS200 scanner, you may cast it for them. Otherwise, write VOID in large letters across the face of the ballot and give it to the Chief.
If a voter makes an error on their ballot, they may ask for a new ballot. First, if the voter made selections in any contests, ask them to fill in all bubbles in those contests so no one knows who they intended to vote for. Next, write SPOILED in large letters across the face of the ballot. Give the spoiled ballot to the Chief and issue a new ballot to the voter.
If a voter marked outside of the bubbles or made erroneous marks on the ballot, the DS200 scanner may reject it because it is unreadable. In this situation, you would follow the same steps to SPOIL the ballot and issue a new ballot to the voter.
If a voter has repeated issues marking a ballot correctly, you may want to suggest using the ExpressVote accessible marking device.
There is one other situation in which a ballot may be spoiled: If a voter requested a mailed absentee ballot, but then wants to vote in-person on election day. The voter can bring their absentee ballot (marked or unmarked), spoil it, and surrender it in exchange for a new ballot on election day.
Until now, you have likely only been familiar with the regular ballot.
But remember, if a voter chooses to use the ExpressVote accessible marking device, it prints a marked ballot card that voters can then scan themselves. This printed ballot card is equivalent to a regular ballot.
To be counted, either of these ballot types must then be inserted into a DS200 scanner.
The ExpressVote is an accessible marking device. It marks and prints a ballot for the voter, who then inserts the printed ballot card into a DS200 to be scanned and counted. So it's like a large pen!
The ExpressVote is ADA-compliant and offers voters multiple options, including displaying the ballot in multiple languages. The voter can use the touchscreen, audio cues, or the Braille directional pad to make vote selections.
Any voter may choose to use the ExpressVote! Do not question someone's disability or motivation for using an ExpressVote.
Watch this video to understand how to use an ExpressVote: https://youtu.be/4NNn7NcpaOU
This is the DS200 digital scanner. It's actually a very simple machine:
This is the Machine Certification Form. As you open and close your DS200s on election day, you will need to use this form.
During opening procedures, election officers will compare the pre-printed seal and counter numbers in the green table to those on the DS200 to ensure they match. If the numbers do not match, stop and notify your Chief, who will contact our office for next steps.
During closing procedures, election officers will record all required numbers in the red table on the form, place the red sticker seal on the form, and have any 2 officers sign the bottom of the form.
Let's go through all steps for opening a DS200. As this is an online class, we understand it will be difficult to understand all of these steps without practicing with an actual machine. But don't worry! The Chief, Assistant Chief, and many other officers will have experience doing this before. The Chief will provide election officers assigned to open the DS200 with printed instructions, the Machine Certification Form, the keys, and a password card.
Let's continue the steps to open a DS200.
Let's continue the steps to open a DS200.
We're almost done opening a DS200!
Be sure to return all materials to the Chief, including the signed tapes, the cut green zip-tie seal, the printed instructions, the Machine Certification Form, and the DS200 keys.
When a voter inserts a regularly marked ballot , the DS200 will accept and scan it. Voters should be encouraged to wait at the machine until they hear a "clunk" sound as the ballot drops inside and the "Thank You" screen is displayed.
You will also see this screen if the voter has an under-voted ballot. This means the voter voted for fewer candidates or contests than they were allowed. For example, in a presidential election, some voters will only vote for president and no other contests on the ballot. Again, in this case, the DS200 will accept the ballot without issue and the "Thank You" screen is displayed.
Most ballots should be accepted by the scanner without issue. However, there are a few cases when the scanner will ask for additional confirmation before accepting the ballot.
One situation is if the voter inserts a blank ballot. This may happen if the voter accidentally does not mark their ballot or perhaps wishes to cast a blank ballot as a protest vote. In this case, the DS200 will confirm they want to cast a blank ballot or give them the option to return the ballot and allow them to vote.
Another situation is an over-voted ballot. This happens when a voter filled in too many ovals in one or more contests. For example, they were only supposed to select one candidate for Mayor, but they couldn't decide and filled in ovals for two candidates. The DS200 will give them the option to cast the ballot as it is, informing the voter that the over-voted contests will not be counted (other properly-voted contests will be counted). Or the DS200 can return the ballot to the voter, which they can SPOIL and exchange for a new ballot.
In both of these situations, clear visual and audio cues will indicate the scanner did not accept the ballot. If you're not sure how to handle them, remember your favorite word: "Chief!"
Finally, some ballots may be rejected entirely by the DS200.
The most common situation is a mismarked ballot. This is when a voter has made erroneous marks outside the ovals which prevent the scanner from properly reading their selections. In this case, the DS200 will return the ballot, make a loud beeping sound, and display an error screen.
If this happens, call the Chief or Assistant Chief. They will review the situation and likely help the voter SPOIL the ballot and issue them a new ballot.
Now let's go through all the steps for CLOSING a DS200 scanner. The Chief, Assistant Chief, and many other officers will have experience doing this before. The Chief will provide election officers assigned to close the DS200 with printed instructions, the Machine Certification Form, the DS200 keys, a red zip-tie seal, and empty voted ballot boxes.
Let's continue the steps to close a DS200.
Let's continue the steps to close a DS200.
You're almost done! Now it's time to seal up the machine.
The last step is to unlock and open the Ballot Compartment. With multiple officers present, carefully move all voted ballots into the voted ballot boxes and seal them. The Chief will return these ballots on election night and they will be transported to the courthouse for safekeeping.
Be sure to return all materials to the Chief, including the signed tapes, the 2 memory sticks, the printed instructions, the Machine Certification Form, and the DS200 keys.
You have now successfully learned how to open, use, and close the DS200 scanner on election day.
Let's do a quick review! Take a moment to think about these questions before you read the answer below.
If you need to contact us anytime, call 703-324-4735 or email us.
If you would like to review more training resources, you can find past slides, handouts, and videos on our website at the displayed link.
And finally, as a full-fledged election officer, you can use the Election Officer Portal to indicate your availability each election, enroll in training, and check your precinct assignment.
Congratulations! You have now completed the online class for New Election Officers.
To receive credit for this class, you must still take and pass the quiz. You can find the quiz in the Election Officer Portal. Go to the Training tab, scroll down, and look in the bottom-right for a link labeled "Quiz". If you do not pass the quiz the first time, you can take it again until you pass. If you need any help, don't hesitate to call or email us.
This class is now complete. Thank you and we know you'll do great on election day!
Congratulations! You have now completed the online class for New Election Officers.
To receive credit for this class, you must still take and pass the quiz. You can find the quiz in the Election Officer Portal. Login, go to the Training tab, scroll down, and look in the bottom-right for a link labeled "Quiz". If you do not pass the quiz the first time, you can take it again until you pass.
ELECTION OFFICER PORTAL: https://www.vote4fairfax.com
If you need any help, don't hesitate to call us at 703-324-4735 or email us at ElectionOfficerTraining@fairfaxcounty.gov.