Slides Summary

001. Welcome

Welcome to the CAP Election Officer online training class!

This class will provide the information you need to become an election officer for CAP.

002. Notes and class topics

Review all information in these slides and notes at your own pace. You may pause at any time.

We will go over information you need to know before you can become an election officer for CAP, including COVID-19, an explanation of what CAP is, basic information, EO resources (including the Electronic Pollbook), evaluating and checking in a typical voter submission using a domestic mailer example, various types of mailers and envelopes you might see in a voter submission and how to count ballots by hand.

At the end, you must complete a quiz to receive credit for this class.

003. Contingency Response Plan for COVID-19

These training materials will prepare you for any upcoming election.

However, if you are reviewing this material in advance of the November 2020 General Election, note that the county is continuing to prepare and execute their Contingency Response Plan for COVID-19. Chiefs and assistants will receive more detailed procedures during their pre-election briefing. Election Officers will also be provided with current information about our Contingency Response Plan for COVID-19 before the election.

At minimum, we will provide PPE Materials for the November 2020 Election with gloves, face masks, and hand sanitizer for election officers. If any election officer is ill before or on election day, they will be dismissed immediately.

004. What is CAP?

CAP stands for Central Absentee Precinct. CAP is located in the Fairfax County Government Center and is responsible for processing absentee ballots.

There are two primary types of absentee ballot processes. Voters may request an absentee ballot and return their ballot by mail or voters may vote an absentee ballot in person prior to the election (early voting).

CAP has three responsibilities for mailed-in absentee ballots:

  • Adjudicating – evaluating the voter submission to determine if the voter has completely and correctly filled out the required information
  • Checking in – using an electronic pollbook to check in voters
  • Counting votes – scanning or handcounting the voters’ ballots to determine how they awarded their votes

CAP has one responsibility for in-person absentee ballots, counting them. Voters who choose to participate in early voting at an in-person absentee location fill out an application, are checked in and place their ballot in a digital scanner at that location. CAP’s responsibility on election day is to receive the digital scanners from all early voting locations and tabulate the recorded votes.

005. Guiding principles

As we plan for and conduct each election, we follow four guiding principles to maintain the integrity of the election.

These inform each step and action we take. It is important for you to read, understand and embody these principles as well.

006. Basic Information

We will now go over the basic information you need to know to be a CAP election officer.

007. FAQs

CAP EOs work either full day shifts, a morning shift or an afternoon shift. A full day shift is from 5:30 a.m. until dismissal. Morning shift is from 5:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. Afternoon shift is from 1 p.m. until dismissal. Note that polls close at 7 p.m. and it generally takes at least two hours to close CAP.

What to wear: business casual and clean, unripped jeans are acceptable. Wear layers as the temperature in the Government Center can be variable. No political commentary is allowed on garments.

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. You may bring electronic devices such as a phone or tablet, but you may not use them while at a processing table.

Payment: You are paid $175 for a full day of service (or $87.50 for half-day shifts). Officers who arrive late (more than 15 minutes) may be penalized $25 or dismissed immediately.

Voting: CAP election officers are encouraged to take advantage of early voting as it will be difficult for most EOs to vote on election day.

Location and Badges: CAP operations are conducted in the Fairfax County Government Center conference area on the second floor. When you come in the front door of the Government Center, veer to your left and go through the double doors. Pick up your badge inside that door (it will have your name and room location). Wear your badge at all times as CAP is a secure area with security personnel at both ends of the center.

Training manual: An EO training manual is available for download from PollChief. It provides extensive detail on conducting CAP operations.

Reminder: No political discussions in CAP. You cannot leave the CAP area, so make sure you bring everything you need with you for the day.

008. Security

Safeguarding voter and ballot information is the responsibility of every election officer. You may not communicate any information you see or hear in CAP to any unauthorized person while CAP is in session.

That includes:

  • Not posting on any social media while CAP is in session (including morning shift EOs after they have departed).

  • Not using your cell phone while handling any voter or ballot information.

  • Not taking photos while in CAP.

  • Not connecting to the Internet while in a CAP processing room.

009. CAP Positions

One chief officer (CAP Chief) is responsible for all CAP operations across the three Fairfax County congressional districts (CDs) and will complete the CAP Statement of Results (SOR) at close of business. Assistant chiefs aid the chief as needed and perform the duties of the chief in his/her absence.

Election officers are responsible for administering the absentee voting process. This may include serving as a check-in officer, electronic pollbook (EPB) officer and/or ballot officer to process absentee ballots, serving as a member of the ballot preparation team and serving as a member of a handcount team.

The handcount team physically counts all ballots that cannot be digitally scanned.

The closer team is responsible for obtaining data from the voting machines used at the in-person absentee voting locations when there are multiple locations. EOs may be asked to assist the closers.

The scan team operates the DS850 high-speed digital scan voting machine.

Poll watchers and other authorized individuals may be present in the polling place for periods of time on Election Day. Poll watchers are party or candidate representatives with written authorization. They are authorized to hear and observe CAP activities, but may not interfere with the orderly conduct of the election or touch or handle any ballot, voting machine or official document.

010. Election Morning

When you arrive at the Government Center, your location and team number are on your badge. Find your team quickly. The chief will administer the election oath to all EOs; you must sign the election oath as well as the compensation sheet.

The chief will brief all EOs on conducting the CAP operation and will provide a review of ballot processing procedures.

The poll will open at 6 a.m., so it is important that you arrive on time.

011. Election Day Activities

There are two essential parts of election day which are (1) from opening to closing of the poll and (2) after closing of the poll.

During the day, EOs will spend much of their time processing mailed-in ballots, but may also assist with preparing ballots for scanning, with handcounting ballots or whatever other tasks the chief may assign. The shift change will typically occur between 1 and 1:30 p.m.

After the poll is closed, some EOs may continue processing mailed-in ballots and others may assist in obtaining vote counts from scanning machines or handcounts, packing, sealing and signing boxes, moving boxes or equipment or general cleanup of the CAP area.

012. Post-Election Day Activities

Effective July 1, 2020, a new state law requires CAP to process all mailed-in absentee ballots that arrive at the election office by noon on the Friday after election day. Absentee ballot must be postmarked by election day, but ballots with missing or illegible postmarks will also be accepted.

From Wednesday through Friday, EOs will conduct the same activities they did on election day prior to close of the poll, such as processing or handcounting ballots. A new set of EOs will be appointed to serve for this extended processing period as necessary.

After noon on Friday (or after all ballots received have been processed), EOs will assist in determining final vote counts and other CAP closing activities such as packing ballots and cleaning up.

013. Where do we Start?

As you proceed through this online training class, you will be presented with a lot of detailed information regarding ballot processing. So, before we start, just a word of encouragement. Hang in there! All these details will come together on election day.

Are you ready? Let’s start with the basics.

014. Voter Submission – A Voter in an Envelope

On election day, when a voter arrives at his polling location, he provides his name and address and presents identification, all before he is able to cast his ballot. Of course, the process is very different for an authorized absentee voter who is casting his ballot by mail.

An absentee voter who is taking advantage of the Vote By Mail option must submit a ballot packet (i.e. voter submission) that contains, at a minimum, 3 components:

  • An outer mailer
  • A “B” envelope inside the outer mailer
  • A ballot inside the “B” envelope

These 3 components may look different based on the status and location of the voter, but they will always be there.

For a CAP election officer, the “B” envelope is very important during ballot processing. The “B” envelope represents the absentee voter. On the B envelope, the voter is stating his name and address. In lieu of presenting identification, the voter provides his signature attesting that the information is correct.

Note that in some instances, a voter must provide additional documentation. This 4th component will also be placed in the outer mailer. We will talk about these specific instances later.

015. Ballot Processing Teams – 2 EOs

On election day, ballot processing is completed by teams of 2 election officers. It is a best practice to become familiar with the responsibilities and functions of each team member, allowing for flexibility during the day.

EO#1 is the Check-in Officer. The Check-in officer will review the information on the voter’s B envelope to determine whether the information is complete. The Check-in officer will also clearly read the name and address of the absentee voter from the B envelope to…

EO#2, who is the EPB Officer. The EPB Officer locates the correct absentee voter in the electronic poll book, verifies that the information on the voter’s B envelope is correct, and checks the voter in on the EPB.

Once EO#2 checks the voter in on the EPB and verbally confirms that the check-in is complete, EO#1 opens the B envelope and passes the voter’s complete submission packet to EO#2. EO#2 removes the ballot from the B envelope and places it, FOLDED, in the appropriate ballot box.

016. What's on your EO table?

The image indicates the tools of the processing trade.

  • The yellow candy box contains stationery supplies.
  • The chief will continue to place batches of mailers for processing throughout the day in the white plastic distribution box.
  • Two reference documents for accurate ballot processing: A “Material Omissions” chart and the “HAVA” (Help America Vote Act) guidelines.
  • Various stickers to be placed on outer mailers when appropriate.
  • Four clear plastic boxes labeled for Provisional Mailers, Rejected Mailers, Email Ballots for Collection, and Mailers with Empty B Envelopes.
  • The large cardboard box on the floor is used to collect the folded digital ballots after removal from the B envelope.
  • The Electronic Poll Book (EPB)

017. Reference Sheets

You will find two valuable reference guides at your workstation.

  • The Material Omissions Chart is a comprehensive, user-friendly table outlining acceptable/unacceptable standards for the review of B envelopes. As an election officer, you will be expected to make important decisions regarding the acceptance or rejection of a voter’s ballot based on the information provided by the voter on his B envelope. These decisions must be made fairly and consistently. If there is any question about the information on a voter’s B envelope, the answer can usually be found in the Material Omissions Chart.

However, if you are ever in doubt, CALL THE CHIEF.

  1. The HAVA (Help America Vote Act) Guidelines is used when reviewing submissions from voters who must provide a copy of an acceptable form of identification with their ballot. Refer to these guidelines to determine if the voter has submitted an acceptable form of ID.

018. Stickers

You will also find a selection of stickers at your workstation.

Rejected Ballot Sticker: If an election officer team determines that a voter’s B envelope contains material omissions or that required documentation is incomplete, affix a Rejected Ballot sticker to the lower left-hand corner of the outer mailer. Ensure that the reason for rejection is clearly marked on the sticker and that each EO has signed the sticker.

Provisional Ballot Sticker: A moss green Provisional Ballot sticker is placed in the lower right-hand corner of the outer mailer under the chief’s direction. This sticker indicates to the chief that an issue may exist and further research needs to take place before this ballot can be accepted/rejected.

ID Provisional Sticker: A bright green ID Provisional Ballot sticker is used when a voter has not provided an Identification Document (ID) as required. This is usually a first-time voter who has opted to vote by mail. This voter must provide an acceptable form of identification with his ballot. If this voter does not provide this ID, place the ID Provisional sticker in the upper right-hand corner of the mailer; this voter has until Friday to bring an acceptable form of identification to the Office of Elections. Thus, the ballot is considered “provisional” until the voter presents his ID.

019. Electronic Pollbook - EPB

The Electronic Pollbook (EPB) contains information on ALL registered voters in Fairfax County. Voter information is downloaded onto a thumbdrive from the state-wide voter data base not later than the Monday morning before election day.

In CAP, however, we are only interested in the registered Fairfax County voters who have applied for and received authorization to Vote By Mail.

Because the data is downloaded before election day, you may encounter a voter whose name is not on the EPB; for example, there are a limited number of reasons a voter may came to the office on Monday and vote an emergency ballot. This voter’s name will not appear in the pollbook. In such a case, CALL THE CHIEF.

The chief will set up the EPBs before election officers arrive on election day. During the day, NEVER close the EPB lid, log off, or turn the computer off.

Also, note the thumbdrive in the image above. Be careful that the thumbdrive does not become dislodged during the day.

020. EPB Start Screen

When teams arrive at their workstations on election day, they will see the EPB Start Screen. Let’s take a tour of this Start Screen.

In the upper left-hand corner: Locate the Checked-in number. As teams process ballots during the day, this number increases. The pollbooks within a room are networked, so this number will increase faster than the progress of any one team.

Under the checked in number:

  • Locate the Search Fields: Typically, you will search using a last name, but it is also possible to search by Voter ID number or address.
  • Note that Search is set at Advanced and the Absentee field indicates “true”. By placing the word “true” in the Absentee field, a search will only reveal voters who are authorized to vote by mail.

In the upper right-hand corner: Locate the green “Search” button and the “Clear” button. The Clear button clears all the data on the page. When your team takes a break, clear the screen to protect the poll book information. After the break, ensure that you reset the Advanced search and re-enter “true” in the Absentee field.

In the bottom right-hand corner: Locate the connectivity information. Keep an eye on this throughout the day. Ensure that the EPB is connected to the power source and that the correct number of EPBs are networked.

In center screen: Search results will appear here.

021. Searching for a voter on EPB

To search for a voter on the EPB:

  • Ensure that the EPB is in Advanced Search mode and that Absentee indicates “true”.
  • Type the first 2 or 3 letters of the voter’s last name into last name field. Press the “Search” button or hit the “Enter” key on your keyboard.A list of possible voters will appear in center screen.
  • Find the correct voter. Note the AB icon in front of the voter’s name, indicating that the voter is authorized to vote by mail.
  • Note the voter’s Absentee Status in the last column.

Finally, when you are ready to search for a different voter, remember to delete previous search information.

022. Absentee Status Definitions

Remember, a voter’s Absentee Status is located in the last column on the search results page. It is important to verify a voter’s absentee status.

You may only check in a voter whose absentee status indicates Issued or Marked.

If the voter’s Absentee Status indicates Unused, FWAB, On Machine, or Preprocessed, CALL THE CHIEF.

023. Voter Detail Page

This is an example of a Voter Detail Page. After you have searched for and located the correct voter in the EPB and clicked on that voter’s name, the voter’s Detail Page will appear.

Locate the green “Check Voter In” button in the bottom left-hand corner. When a voter has submitted a complete and correct B envelope, you will select the “Check Voter In” button.

Locate the “Rejected” flag in the upper right-hand corner. If a voter’s B envelope is incomplete or incorrect (i.e. contains material omissions), you must first click on the rejected flag, then select the “Check Voter In” button.

This will be explained in greater detail later in the training.

024. Processing Fundamentals

Processing mailed-in absentee ballots incorporates a number of steps that must be followed precisely and deliberately; and commitment to the integrity of this process is essential.

Once you master these fundamentals, you will quickly recognize the various types of voter submissions, confidently evaluate information on B envelopes, and become an expert on the EPB!

025. Domestic Ballot Mailer

The above is an example of the most common type of outer mailer submission: the Domestic Ballot Mailer.

The domestic ballot mailer is supplied by the Office of Elections and contains a preprinted return address label in the upper left corner of the front of the envelope.

Please note the information on the preprinted return address label. It includes a

  • Bar code specific to that voter

  • The voter’s ID number

  • Voter’s name

  • Voter’s address

  • The current election

  • Voter’s Congressional District and Precinct

  • Indication whether extra documentation is required.

026. CD Color Codes

In this image, please note the different colored stripes printed above the County of Fairfax, Office of Elections address on the front of the outer mailer. These are circled in red.

The color of this stripe indicates the Congressional District (CD) in which the voter resides.

These different colored stripes serve as a valuable sorting tool to ensure that ballots from the same CDs are kept together during the processing operations.

027. Domestic B Envelope

The domestic B envelope is found inside the domestic outer mailer. The ballot is found inside the B envelope.

  • If there is no B envelope, this is a material omission and the ballot must be rejected.

  • If the ballot is not inside the B envelope, this is also a material omission, and the ballot must be rejected.

  • The B envelope does not have to be sealed.

The information on the B envelope is very important.

  • EO#1 reviews the information on the B envelope to determine if any material omissions are present.

  • EO#1 reads the voter’s name from the B envelope so that EO#2 can locate that voter on the EPB.

Note that normally a witness signature is required; that requirement has been waived for the November 2020 election.

028. Matching Mailer and B Envelope

Before processing a ballot, you must ensure that the correct authorized absentee voter completed the B envelope. Therefore, it is very important that the voter’s name and address on the address label match the information on the B envelope.

Typically, the B envelope and the outer mailer’s address label will contain the same voter information…but not always.

Note the example on the image.

According to the address label on the outer mailer, Howard Fienberg is the authorized absentee voter. A ballot was sent to Howard Fienberg. However, it appears that the B envelope was completed by Julius Fienberg.

If you encounter such a situation, CALL THE CHIEF.

029. Evaluating the B Envelope

Once EO#1 is sure that the correct authorized voter has completed the B envelope (i.e. mailing label and B envelope information agree), he must review the B envelope for material omissions.

  • The B envelope must be completed correctly and completely. It must contain:

    • Voter’s name

    • Voter’s address

    • Voter’s signature

  • A date is NOT required.

If there are no material omissions, EO#2 can find this voter in the EPB. Once again, it is important to verify the identity of the voter. The information on the B envelope must also match the information on the EPB.

If there are any discrepancies, CALL THE CHIEF.

030. Acceptable Names

Let’s take a moment to discuss what is acceptable in the name field on the B envelope. To demonstrate, we will use a voter named Robert Matthew Jones.

  • The voter must include his full first name and full last name. For example: Robert Jones. However, a voter may provide only the initial of his first name if a full middle name is included. For example: R. Matthew Jones.

  • The voter may include his name in an order different than “first, middle, last”. For example: Jones, Robert.

  • A middle name is not required, or a middle initial may be substituted. For example: Robert M. Jones.

  • A voter may provide a recognized nickname. For example: Bob Jones.

  • Be cautious when generational suffixes ( Jr., Sr., I, II, III) are included. Ensure that you are checking in the correct voter.

031. Acceptable Address

What is an acceptable address on the B envelope?

  • An address must include the voter’s house or building number and the street name. An apartment or unit number is NOT required.

  • A voter must provide the city OR the zip code.

  • A voter may NOT provide a Post Office Box (POB) or Personal Mail Box (PMB) on the B envelope.

More things to remember:

If a voter has provided an address on the B envelope that is different than his registered address in the EPB, CALL THE CHIEF.

In a few instances, you will find a POB or PMB for a voter on the electronic poll book. CALL THE CHIEF. You have encountered a protected voter. The chief will provide further instructions.

032. Checking in the voter on the EPB

What to expect when you check in a voter on an EPB:

Elisabeth Marie Ambrose has submitted an absentee ballot by mail. EO#1 has determined that her B envelope is complete; there are no material omissions.

EO#1 reads the first two or three letters of the last name from the B envelope: “am”. EO#2 types “am” into the last name field and clicks on the green search button (or hits the enter key).

A list of possible voters appears in center screen. EO#1 may now provide the voter’s full name as written on the B envelope. EO#2 finds the correct voter and looks for the AB icon in front of the voter’s name. Her absentee status is “MARKED”. Remember, this status must read “Issued” or “Marked” for you to proceed.

EO #2 then selects the correct voter by clicking on the voter’s name. “Ambrose, Elizabeth Marie”.

033. Voter Detail Page

Elizabeth Marie Ambrose’s detail page appears. Is this the correct voter? We must be sure so…

EO#1 reads the full name and address from the voter’s B envelope to verify that the correct voter has been selected.

  • If this is the correct voter, select the “Check Voter In” button.

  • If this is not the correct voter, select “Back to List” button on the lower right-hand corner of the page. This brings you back to the original list of voters. Find the correct voter on the list.

034. Confirmation Page

After you have selected the “Check Voter In” button, a confirmation screen will appear. Click “Confirm”. It is important to communicate verbally to your team member that check-in is confirmed.

You will be returned to the original list of voters. A red bar now appears over the voter’s name.

What to do if you have checked in the wrong voter: CALL THE CHIEF. He will explain how to undo the check in.

035. Last but not least – 2 things

Once EO#2 states that the voter check-in is confirmed, EO#1 may now open the B envelope and pass the mailer and B envelope (with the ballot still inside) to EO#2.

EO#2 removes the ballot from the B envelope and places the ballot, folded, in the appropriate ballot box. EO#2 then places the mailer with the remaining contents in the “Mailers with B Envelopes” table box.

036. Rejecting a Ballot

During processing operations, unfortunately, you will come across B envelopes that contain material omissions. In other words, these B envelopes are incomplete (missing names, addresses, signatures) or incorrectly filled out (incorrect name, out of state address, etc.). This voter submission must be rejected.

EO#1 states that the voter’s B envelope contains a material omission. EO#2 verifies that there is a material omission. If there is a discrepancy in opinion, CALL THE CHIEF.

EO#2 finds the voter on the EPB in the usual manner. After selecting the correct voter to access the voter’s detail page, EO#2 clicks on the rejected flag (in the upper right-hand corner of voter’s detail page), then selects “Check Voter In”. The confirmation screen appears; EO#2 clicks “Confirm”.

If you check in a voter and then realize you forgot to check the rejected flag, click on the voter’s name to return to that voter’s detail page. Check the Rejected flag and select the “Back To List” button on the lower right-hand corner of the detail page. You will return to the original list of voters. The voter’s ballot will now show as rejected.

If you mistakenly reject a ballot, click on the voter’s name to return to the voter’s detail page. Remove the Rejected flag and select the “Back To List” button on the lower right-hand corner of the voter’s detail page. You will return to the original list of voters. The rejected status has been removed.

037. Rejected Ballot Mailer

When an EO team determines that a voter’s ballot will be rejected:

EO#1 completes a rejected sticker explaining the material omission and affixes the sticker to the bottom left hand corner of the mailer. Both EOs must sign.

DO NOT REMOVE THE BALLOT FROM THE B ENVELOPE. After signing the rejected sticker, EO#2 places the mailer with all contents intact into the “Rejected Ballots” table box.

After the election, these voters will receive photocopies of their mailer and B envelope with an explanation as to why their ballot was rejected.

038. Other types of submissions

As noted previously, a digital ballot enclosed in a domestic B envelope inside a domestic mailer is the most common voter submission.

However, during processing, election officers will encounter various other types of mailers and B envelopes. It is important that EOs familiarize themselves with these different types of voter submissions.

039. UOCAVA Mailers

The image shows a UOCAVA mailer. UOCAVA stands for Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act. The UOCAVA mailer will contain a special UOCAVA B envelope with a standard digital ballot inside.

A UOCAVA submission is sent to the Office of Elections by an authorized absentee voter who is living overseas or by military personnel living anywhere.

The mailer is similar to the domestic mailer. It comes from the Office of Elections and contains a preprinted return address label on the front left side. The only difference is that the acronym “UOCAVA” appears on the front of the mailer in a white box (inside the blue portion of the mailer).

040. UOCAVA B Envelopes

The UOCAVA B envelope, however, is very different.

No address is required. No date is required. In fact, the voter does not even have to provide a printed name.

What is required? Only the voter’s signature (the witness signature requirement is waived for the November 2020 election).

In dealing with a UOCAVA voter, the voter’s printed name on the B envelope may be illegible or even missing. Therefore, it may not be possible for EO#1 to discern the correct spelling of the voter’s name for search on the EPB. In this case, you may refer to the voter’s name on the preprinted return address label on the outer mailer. Make every effort to ensure that the correct voter is chosen on the EPB.

The check-in procedures for accepted and rejected UOCAVA ballots are the same as for domestic ballots.

As always, remove the ballot from accepted UOCAVA B envelopes only after the voter is checked in and confirmed. Place ballots in the large cardboard ballot box. Place mailers with empty B envelopes in the appropriate table box.

As always, do not remove ballots from rejected B envelopes. Complete the rejected sticker and affix it to the UOCAVA mailer. Place entire UOCAVA mailer with unopened B envelope in the rejected table box.

041. Request for Assistance

Some voters have indicated on their absentee ballot applications that they will need assistance to complete their B envelopes and/or to mark their ballots. The letters NA (Needs Assistance) will appear on the preprinted return address label on the right side.

If assistance is requested, the voter will receive a blue “Request for Assistance” form. In most cases, the voter will return a completed form in the mailer along with the B envelope. EO#1 must examine both the B envelope and the Request for Assistance form when determining if material omissions are present.

Sometimes the Request for Assistance form is placed inside the B envelope. EO#1 may open the B envelope slightly to check if it is inside.

When looking at the B envelope, EO#1 may see that the voter actually signed the B envelope. Therefore, a Request for Assistance form is NOT required. In this case, the B envelope must be completed correctly with no material omissions.

042. Request for Assistance Form

The Request for Assistance form has 3 sections.

  • Instructions

  • If the voter or his assistant chooses “Yes, I need assistance”,the assistant must complete both the form and the B envelope correctly.

  • If the voter voter chooses “No”, the blue form may be returned blank, but the voter must complete the B envelope correctly.

  • Voter information: The assistant must complete this section. “Unable to Sign” or “Blind Voter” must appear on the voter signature line. In some instances, the voter may actually sign on the signature line. If the voter provides his signature on the form, he must also sign the B envelope.

  • Assistant’s information: Name, address and signature of assistant must appear on the form.

If the Needs Assistance form is complete and correct, the voter’s signature can be missing from the B envelope, but no other material omissions may be present.

If the Needs Assistance form is incorrectly completed and/or the B envelope contains material omissions, this voter’s ballot must be rejected.

Make sure to refer to the Material Omissions chart. If there are still questions, call the chief.

The blue Needs Assistance form should remain with the mailer.

043. ID Required Mailer

Note the “ID Required” which appears on the preprinted return address label. This voter has registered by mail, so he must present an identification document (ID) before voting for the first time.

EO#1 must look for a copy of an acceptable form of ID in the mailer. Remember, the voter may have placed it in the B envelope with the ballot. The acceptable forms of ID are listed in the HAVA guidelines on your worktable.

If the ID is acceptable and the B envelope is complete, check the voter in on the EPB as usual. Remove the ballot from the B envelope and place the ballot in the appropriate ballot box. The ID will remain in the mailer.

If the ID is acceptable, but the B envelope contains material omissions, the voter’s ballot will be rejected. As with all rejections, check the voter in after clicking on the rejected flag. Do not remove the ballot from the B envelope. After completing and affixing a rejected sticker, place the mailer with all contents in the Rejected Ballot table box.

044. ID Required Mailer

What do you do if the voter does not enclose an ID in the mailer? This voter actually has a number of days post-election to bring an acceptable ID to the Office of Elections.

Even if no identification is present in the mailer, EO#1 must evaluate the B envelope.

Is the ID missing but the B envelope completed correctly? Place a bright green provisional sticker on the upper right-hand corner of the mailer. Be sure to enter the correct Congressional District for this voter from the return address label. DO NOT CHECK THIS VOTER IN! Place the mailer with all contents intact into the Void/Provisional table box.

Is the ID missing and the B envelope contains material omissions? This ballot will be rejected. Check the voter in, using the rejected flag on the voter’s detail page. Do not remove the ballot from the B envelope. Place the mailer with all contents in the Rejected Ballot table box.

045. Email Ballot Mailer

A voter living overseas may request that a ballot file be emailed to him. The voter will print out the ballot and B envelope and return the hard copies by regular mail.

The emailed ballot file does include a template for an outer mailer (see the image on right). However, often, the voter will supply his own outer mailer. Neither form of outer mailer includes a preprinted return address label. Instead, when the ballot arrives at the Office of Elections, a staff member will write the voter’s ID # to help in the search on the EPB.

046. Email B Envelope

The email B envelope is similar to the UOCAVA B envelope and is subject to the same set of material omissions. Remember: A voter signature is the only requirement because the witness signature requirement is waived for the November 2020 election.

As mentioned previously, the voter prints a copy of the email B envelope. Notice the dotted lines that indicate “Fold Lines”. After the voter marks his ballot, he will fold the B envelope around the ballot so that the ballot is enclosed within. Be prepared for lots of tape, glue, etc.

The ballot must be enclosed in the B envelope.

  • Some voters cut on the dotted lines and tape the information portion onto a separate envelope, placing the ballot inside this envelope before inserting everything inside the outer mailer. That is acceptable.

  • If a voter cuts along the dotted lines and only places the information portion into the outer mailer with the ballot, this ballot must be rejected. The ballot was not enclosed in the B envelope.

When processing email ballots, the usual check-in procedures are followed.

If an email ballot is accepted, however, remove the ballot from the B envelope and place it in the Email Ballots table box. Mailers and B envelopes are placed in the usual table box.

If a ballot is rejected, process as usual and place email mailer with all contents in the rejected table box.

047. Unused Ballot Mailer

Sometimes a voter’s original packet is returned unopened either by the voter or by the post office. It typically contains all the papers that were sent to the voter, including the instructions.

The office of elections staff usually finds these and sets them aside. This voter is NOT checked in.

If you do come across an unused packet, give it to the chief.

048. FWAB Mailer

A FWAB is a Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot. It is typically used by a voter who is living in a remote location where mail service may be unreliable; for example, a submariner may submit a FWAB before leaving for an extended deployment.

When a FWAB arrives at the Office of Elections, a staff member affixes a FWAB sticker to the front of the mailer, indicating the Voter ID # and sets it aside. However, if you find one, give it to the chief.

FWABS must be processed after 7:00 PM on election day and are subject to a unique set of material omission standards. The chief will form a team to process FWABs and will review the material omissions specific to FWABs with that team.

049. Handcounts & Write-ins

Most mailed-in ballots are scanned by digital scanning machines. If a ballot cannot be scanned, however, the votes on it still must be counted. These ballots are typically email and damaged ballots.

A non-scannable ballot will have two types of information – votes for candidates/issues and votes for candidates the voter wrote in on the ballot. CAP has to record both types of information.

The chief will assign EOs to handcount teams, typically 3 to 6 people on a team depending on the number of contests on the ballot. The chief will review the procedures with the teams.

050. Communications Oath

State law allows the chief to begin the handcount process as early as 3 p.m. Because you will be seeing votes on mailed-in ballots prior to the poll closing at 7 p.m., all personnel present in CAP are required to take a communications oath. You swear to not reveal any voting information you might see to outside parties until the poll closes. You will also be required to turn your cell phone off or to airplane mode.

051. Handcount Team – 3 Functions

There are three essential functions for handcount team members.

EO #1 is the Ballot Officer. The Ballot Officer receives and counts a stack of ballots, then announces the ballot count to the first Recording Officer. The Ballot Officer reads each ballot and announces the name of each contest and the name of the candidate who received the vote. If the voter chose to write in a different name for a contest, the Ballot Officer will announce the name that was written in. After completing a ballot, it is placed face down in a receiving box.

EO #2s are Recording Officers. These are the EOs who record the votes on tally sheets and EOs who record the names of write-in candidates. The EO who has the first page of the tally sheets also records the number of ballots that the Ballot Officer counted.

EO #3 is the Verifying Officer. This EO is the independent verifier for all of the handcount team activities. He or she checks the ballot count, ensures the Ballot Officer is reading the ballots correctly and completely, ensures Recording Officers are recording vote tally marks or write-in names correctly and helps clear the table after all ballots have been read. A handcount team may require more than one verifying officer.

052. Handcount Tally Sheets

There are four key parts to most handcount tally sheets.

The top section of the first tally sheet is where the number of ballots are recorded. The number of ballots in each batch of ballots is recorded (in the example, 30 + 40 + 15). After the chief has notified the team that there are no more ballots to count, the batch numbers are added together to get “Total Ballots” (in the example, there are 85 total ballots).

The main section of the first and all other tally sheets has two key parts.

  • Before the polls close, the Recording Officer makes a tally mark for each vote a candidate receives on each ballot. A tally mark is also recorded for each write-in vote (but not a name).

  • After the polls close, the Recording Officer adds together all the tally marks for each candidate, including write-in votes, and puts those total vote numbers in the right column.

Some voters do not vote in every contest or enter too many votes in a contest. The chief will instruct the team on how to deal with those situations.

053. Write-in Certification

The Recording Officer records the name of each valid write-in candidate on the Write-in Certification sheet. The Write-in Certification sheet contains all of the contests on the ballot. A valid name is written each time the Ballot Officer reads it (in the example for Governor, Joe Smith was read three times and written down three times).

Invalid names such as cartoon characters are not written down, but a tally mark is made instead in the “Invalid Candidates” box for that contest. If the Ballot Officer is not certain a write-in name is invalid, he/she can discuss the name with the Verifying and Recording Officers.

054. Conclusion

We have covered the major information you need to be a successful CAP election officer.

  • What CAP is

  • What happens in CAP

  • How to check in voters

  • The different types of envelopes

  • How to conduct hand counts

More detailed information is available in the Election Officer manual.

055. Review and Final Reminders

Let’s take a moment for a quick review and final reminders.

056. Mini-Review

  • What does CAP stand for? Central Absentee Precinct

  • How many EOs are on a ballot processing team? Two

  • What are the three parts of a ‘voter submission’? ballot, B envelope, mailer

  • What are some ‘material omissions’ on a B envelope? No name, no or incomplete address, missing voter

  • What is an EPB? Electronic Pollbook. It is used to check in voters.

  • What are three ways you can search for a voter on the EPB? Name, voter identification number or address

  • Must you check in a voter if you reject their B envelope? Yes

  • What B envelopes do you never open? Rejected and Provisional

  • What do you do with a ballot that cannot be scanned? Count it by hand

057. Final Reminders

Vote absentee in person or by requesting a ballot to mail in.

Download a copy of the EO manual and study it.

Be on time – we need two EOs for every team to process ballots.

If you can’t serve, call us immediately.

If you have any doubts or questions about a B envelope or any other task you are asked to perform, CALL the CHIEF. Better to ask questions than possibly disenfranchise a voter.

Use your reference materials – don’t guess.

Bring everything you might need for the entire day or shift.

058. Resource Information

If you need to contact us anytime, call 703-324-7739 or email us.

The EO manual and additional training resources are available on the displayed resources link.

As a full-fledged election officer, you can use the Election Officer Portal to indicate your availability for each election, enroll in training and check your CAP assignment.

059. Congratulations

Congratulations! You have now completed the online class for CAP 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 “CAP 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 us at 703-324-7739 or email us at

Thank you for serving as an election officer!