001. Slide 1
Hello and welcome to the online training session for the Fairfax County Page Program. My name is Beth Dixon Methfessel, the coordinator of the Page Program in Fairfax County. This service-learning project is designed for the motivated high school student (at least 16 years old) who wants to learn more about the electoral process.
Due to the health crisis caused by COVID-19, you must receive permission from your parent/guardian to participate as an election page. You will be assigned to a Fairfax County polling place and as such, you will be required to wear a mask at all times when you are in the voting room. You will also follow all health protocols while serving as a student page.
Election Day is Tuesday, November 3. Although you will have been virtual learning, there will be no school on Election Day.
002. Slide 2
The training will be divided into three sessions and should take about an hour to complete. You will be taking a quiz prior to completing your application to ensure that you understand all the material that has been discussed. Only after you have completed training and passed the quiz will your application be considered. If you do not achieve 80%, we will contact you.
The link to the quiz will be provided at the end of training.
003. Slide 3
Most people when asked how old someone needs to be to vote would answer, “18.” This is correct, however the law allows you to register to vote if you are a U.S. citizen and you will be 18 on or before Election Day. So if you are 17 now but will be 18 on or before November 3, 2020, you can register. Use the link www.vote.virginia.gov and have your Virginia driver’s license or identification card handy. You will need to provide the ID number on it to register.
Did you know that if you are 18 and registered to vote, you can serve as an election officer and earn $175? If this is you, please visit https://www.vote4fairfax.com/apply/.
004. Slide 4
Because you will have taken this training and will also take an oath on Election Day, you are considered part of the official election team. As such, you will follow the same code of conduct as the election officers. You will treat voters with respect including seniors and those with disabilities. This is not a partisan activity so everything you do must be impartial and nonpolitical. You will not engage in discussions about candidates or other political issues.
Although the act of voting is public, how an individual votes must be private. You, along with the rest of your election team, will work to ensure voter privacy thus safeguarding the security and integrity of the election.
005. Slide 5
To further illustrate your importance on Election Day, in 2000, the Virginia General Assembly made the Election Day Page Program part of Virginia election law. The Page Program in Fairfax County is considered one of the finest in Virginia, and even in the nation, and we have been instrumental in expanding the responsibilities of student pages over the past 20 years.
006. Slide 6
And so we begin Session One, the classroom portion of the training.
007. Slide 7
After this session, you will know the answers to the following questions…How long do I work? What should I wear? What should I bring? And What will I be doing?
Let’s answer the first question now…When you fill out your application, you will choose between two 8-hr shifts: 5 a.m. – 1 p.m. or 12:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Your Election Day assignment will include the shift you have chosen plus the name and address of your polling place.
008. Slide 8
Those who choose the 5 a.m. – 1 p.m. (morning) shift will help open the polls. Please make sure that you have checked the directions to your polling place. It will be dark at 5 a.m. so things will look different and we do not want you to get lost. If that happens or you are running late, you need to contact your Chief Election Officer. We will discuss who the Chief is a bit later in the training.
009. Slide 9
Some of you will choose the 12:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. (or afternoon) shift. Your responsibilities will include helping the election team close the polls after voting ends. Even though it will be light outside when you head to your polling place, you should still take the time to review the directions, and again, call your Chief Election Officer if you are running late for any reason.
010. Slide 10
On Election Day, dress is business casual. Please do not wear shorts, sweatpants, sweatshirts, or T-shirts. You may wear patriotic attire, but remember, do not wear anything with a candidate or political party’s name, statement or slogan. This includes buttons and hats.
011. Slide 11
Although the election team is not permitted to wear political attire, a voter is allowed to do so. However, voters may not campaign inside a polling place. The lady in the picture would be allowed inside to vote except for one thing. Do you know what it is? If you said, the sign, you are right!
012. Slide 12
Please bring everything you will need for your shift. Unless emergency circumstances require you to do so, you may not leave the polling place during your shift. Bring food, snacks, and homework (you can bring your laptop). Remember, only if the Chief gives you permission during a slow period with low voter turnout, can you read or do your schoolwork.
013. Slide 13
Once you arrive at your assigned polling place, both morning and afternoon pages will check-in with the Chief Election Officer. Who is this person?
The Chief Election Officer, or Chief, is the person in charge of the polling place on Election Day. The Chief is an experienced officer of election and oversees the election team and polling place operations. The Chief is responsible for making sure the polls open and close on time and accounts for all ballots, supplies, and forms.
Prior to Election Day, the Chief will be given a roster that includes the names and contact information for his or her election team. This list will include the student pages. The Chief will contact their team within the week or two before the election to verify attendance and answer any questions. When your Chief calls you, they should give you their cell phone number in case you need to reach them for any reason.
So, once you arrive at your assigned polling place, you will check-in with the Chief. You will take an oath and sign the oath form. The Chief will give you a badge to wear for the duration of your shift.
014. Slide 14
There are three parts to Election Day, opening the polls from 5 a.m. until 6 a.m., voting from 6 a.m. until 7:00 p.m., and closing the polls, beginning at 7:00 p.m. and will take approximately two hours.
015. Slide 15
So let’s start with opening the polls for those of you who will choose the early bird shift from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m.
016. Slide 16
It looks like this team did not get to sleep early enough the night before the election. Please be well rested for Election Day!
017. Slide 17
Under the direction of the Chief, the morning pages may be asked to help with the following tasks: Posting signs; arranging furniture and election materials. This may include personal protective equipment or PPE. PPE includes masks, gloves, cleaning supplies, and face shields. The Chief may ask you to help mark 6-ft spots to help voters maintain social distance while they wait in line to vote.
You may be asked to count unmarked ballots; or maybe to help arrange the placement of the voting machines and privacy booths used to mark the ballots.
Additionally, you may be tasked with making sure that the path that voters will follow from the parking lot into the building and to the voting room is clear from any obstruction or hazard that may cause problems for people with wheelchairs, canes, or walkers. Fairfax County polling places must be accessible to ALL voters.
018. Slide 18
These are some of the signs that will be posted inside the polling place. They include directional arrows; voting instructions on how to mark the ballot; sample ballots; a map of the 243 precincts in Fairfax County; and a poster that will explain the referendum on the ballot. This year there will be two Virginia constitutional amendments and four County bond questions on the ballot. A bond is like asking the voters if they want to take out a loan to finance projects like building schools, or renovating libraries, or maybe improving park facilities.
019. Slide 19
These are some additional signs that morning pages will help put up to guide voters. What do you notice about these signs other than providing instructions?
Fairfax County provides language assistance in three languages other than English. Those languages are Korean, Vietnamese, and Spanish.
020. Slide 20
This is the curbside voting sign and notice placed outside the polling place near the curb so people can see it from their car. The phone number on the yellow sandwich board is usually the number of the Chief Election Officer. It allows a voter to call into the polling place and inform the election team that they would like to vote in their vehicle.
021. Slide 21
This is the prohibited area sign that will also be posted outside. According to law, no activity such as loitering; attempting to influence a voter in any way; or hindering an election officer, is permitted within 40-ft of the entrance to the polling place. This not only includes campaigning but non-political activity like bake sales, or spirit-wear sales, even a band playing to raise money for their school.
Certain activity is also not permitted beyond the 40-ft prohibited area, such as using loud speakers within 300 yards; hindering or intimidating voters; or insulting or abusing an election officer.
Part of the election materials is a yellow plastic rope that measures 40 feet. The morning pages may be asked to help mark the prohibited area before the polls open. The Chief may ask pages to check the prohibited area throughout the day to make sure that nothing is violating the 40-ft requirement.
022. Slide 22
Wow, a lot needs to be done between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m.! But with your help, the election team will be ready for the first voter at 6 a.m. sharp.
023. Slide 23
Now, for the next 13 hours, the job of the election team is to run an efficient and safe election for voters.
024. Slide 24
This diagram illustrates the path of the voters through the voting room. Keeping in mind social distancing, once voters reach the check-in tables, they will provide their name and address to the election officer. The election officer will look them up on an electronic device. In Fairfax County, this is called the Poll Pad. It contains all of the voters registered in every precinct in Fairfax County. The law requires that on Election Day, voters must cast their ballot in the precinct to which they are registered. The law also requires that every voter present one form of required identification.
In some polling places, once a voter is checked in, they are given a paper ballot and a single-use “I Voted” pen. Some voters may choose to vote on the ExpressVote, or EV machine. The EV allows voters to use a touch screen to generate a marked ballot. This is especially important for voters with limited mobility, eyesight, or even limited English because it allows them to vote independently and privately.
In some polling places, a voter may be directed to a ballot table after he or she has been checked in on the Poll Pads.
Once the voters have either marked their paper ballot or generated their ballot in the EV, it is then taken to the scanner. The scanner accepts both types of ballots. Once the ballot is successfully cast, the voter then leaves and instead of an “I Voted” sticker, they can take their “I Voted” pen with them.
025. Slide 25
This is an example of the paper ballot that is marked by the voter. This ballot will be printed in English, Korean, Vietnamese, and Spanish. If a voter messes up or wants to change how they voted in a contest, their ballot must be marked “Spoiled” and returned to the ballot table before the voter can be issued a new one.
026. Slide 26
During the day, in addition to seeing a lot of voters, let’s talk about other people you will encounter. We discussed the Chief Election Officer. The Chief is supported by an Assistant Chief. The Assistant Chief is usually an experienced election officer that helps the Chief carry out his or her responsibilities. The Assistant Chief should be able to assume the role as Chief if for any reason the Chief cannot fulfill their assignment.
According to Virginia law, the Chief and the Assistant Chief represent the two political parties. In Virginia, those two parties are the Democratic Party and the Republican Party.
The number of election officers assigned to a precinct depends on the size. In Fairfax County, we have precincts with over 5,000 voters and precincts with less than 1,000 voters.
On Election Day, you will also see Rovers. These people are technical experts that can help the election team trouble shoot issues with the voting equipment. They also carry extra equipment, election materials, and ballots.
The elections in each of the 133 localities in the Commonwealth of Virginia are overseen by a 3-member board. These individuals are politically appointed. Two of the members represent the Democratic Party and the remaining member represents the Republican Party. Why do the Democrats get two Board members? Virginia law says the majority on the Electoral Board represent the party of the Governor, and Ralph Northam, Virginia’s governor, is a Democrat.
Other people you might see on Election Day are candidates (campaigning outside the 40-ft prohibited area);
Authorized poll watchers – these are individuals who have permission from their political party or independent candidate to be inside the polling place to observe.
Poll workers – this is anyone working outside the 40-ft prohibited area…passing out sample ballots, candidate information, collecting signatures for petitions, even exit polling.
Press – news media are allowed to come inside and film or photograph for a limited amount of time. They cannot interview anyone inside the polling place. They cannot film or photograph in any way how a person votes their ballot. Remember, the voter must be able to vote privately and cast a secret ballot.
And finally, authorized visitors. These are usually delegations from other countries that want to observe the process and have asked the Electoral Board for permission to do so.
027. Slide 27
This is a data collection activity especially suited for student pages. It’s the Line Length Survey. Every hour you will count how many people are waiting in line to check in. Morning pages will do 6 a.m. until noon and afternoon pages will do 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Pretty simple and straightforward, but a very important task because the results will be provided to CalTech/MIT’s ongoing voting technology project “Polling Processes of the Future.” The recommendations from the project are used to refine and develop new, practical tools to help us better allocate resources dedicated to voting. Fairfax County continues to provide annual comprehensive line length data for this project. This distinction would not be possible without the participation of our high school election pages.
028. Slide 28
So here is a list of many of the tasks assigned by the Chief to both morning and afternoon pages. Counting unmarked ballots throughout the day; helping keep the voting room clean while assisting with social distancing measures; greeting voters and asking them to have their ID ready. Note: Virginia law changed on July 1, 2020, and a photo ID is no longer required. You may be asked to show voters the list of what is now acceptable identification.
Keep lines orderly and if you are assigned to co-located precincts (two polling places in one building), you will make sure voters go to the correct voting room; you can show voters the instructional and informational posters and brochures; assisting seniors and voters with disabilities (more on this in Session Three!); Complete the Line Length Survey; Throughout the day, you may be asked to check on the inside and outside signs to make sure they are still up; and very important, if you are bilingual, you may have been assigned to a precinct with a higher concentration of voters who speak a language in which you also have fluency. I encourage you to offer your assistance in these circumstances.
029. Slide 29
There are a few things that you cannot do, primarily because student pages are not election officers. This includes opening and closing the Poll Pads; checking voters in on Poll Pads; supervising the use of the voting machines. You cannot leave the polling place without permission. Because this is a service-learning project, it is a volunteer activity and you will not be compensated for your service.
030. Slide 30
Ok, now we come to the close of voting at 7:00 p.m. An election officer will go outside at 6:45 p.m. and announce that the polls will close in 15 minutes. At 7:00 p.m. sharp, the polls close. Anyone standing in line at 7:00 p.m. will be permitted to vote.
031. Slide 31
Now is the time for the afternoon pages to help the election team wrap things up.
032. Slide 32
Afternoon pages, along with your election team, will basically break down everything that was put up in the morning. This includes taking down the signs and carefully removing the tape; restoring and cleaning up the voting room; helping pack up all of the voting equipment; organizing and packing up the election materials and supplies, including the personal protective equipment. Some of the supplies will be placed back into the machine cart which will be picked up by county personnel within a few days after the election.
You will help load the items that need to be returned to the Government Center in the Chief’s car. Now you afternoon pages can head home to get some rest!
033. Slide 33
This form is very important. Once your shift is over, please complete the Election Page Evaluation Form. It will give us an idea of how well prepared you were for Election Day. It is also where the Chief confirms how many hours you served. If you complete your shift, you will receive a Certificate of Recognition from the Office of Elections, as well as 9 hours of service learning (1 hour for training and 8 hours at your polling place).
034. Slide 34
Now we begin Session 2, Voting Systems.
035. Slide 35
This is what the Poll Pad looks like. It is a state-of-the art, electronic pollbook. It is easy to set up with no peripherals. It looks up voters electronically when they check in to their precinct. Because it processes voters in seconds, it reduces wait time. It also provides precinct statistics for accurate reporting.
While you cannot operate the Poll Pad and check-in voters, you make be asked to help set it up in the morning or pack it up after the polls close.
036. Slide 36
These are the privacy booths to ensure that voters can mark their ballots secretly. You may be asked to help set these up and take them down.
037. Slide 37
Here is the digital scanning machine, sometimes referred to as the DS200. After voters mark their paper ballot, they place it in the scanner. The scanner captures an image of the ballot, records the votes, and informs the voter that their ballot has been cast. The machine lets the voter know immediately if the ballot is blank or over-voted (more selections made in the contest than allowed.)
All voters use paper ballots providing a paper trail for every vote in case of a recount.
038. Slide 38
The DS200 sits on top of a ballot bin. The bin has wheels to make it easy to move. After the ballots are scanned, they drop down into this secured bin. Once voting ends, the bin is opened. The ballots are retrieved and placed into boxes that are then labeled and sealed with security tape. After the election, all ballots, voted or unused, will be taken to the Fairfax County Courthouse and stored for two years.
039. Slide 39
Here is the ExpressVote, or EV machine. It uses technology similar to touch screen equipment to generate a marked paper ballot.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal civil rights law that provides protections to people with disabilities to ensure that they are treated equally in all aspects of life. Title II of the ADA requires state and local governments to ensure that people with disabilities have a full and equal opportunity to vote. The ADA’s provisions apply to all aspects of voting.
040. Slide 40
And with that explanation of ADA, welcome to Session 3, Disabilities Etiquette and Awareness. In this session, we will learn how to be sensitive to the needs of voters with disabilities.
041. Slide 41
Relax when talking with someone with a disability. Just treat the person the same as you would anyone else, and don’t be embarrassed if someone with a disability corrects your etiquette.
Don’t make assumptions or decisions on what a person with a disability can or cannot do. If the person needs assistance, they will ask.
042. Slide 42
Ask before you help. Don’t assume the person needs help. Some senior citizens and persons with disabilities can vote without assistance. If a person does need assistance, allow the person to indicate how best to assist them before taking action.
043. Slide 43
Be sensitive about contact with assistive devices such as wheelchairs, walkers, canes, and guide dogs. These aids are part of an individual’s personal space.
Always identify yourself and others with you when meeting someone with a visual impairment.
044. Slide 44
Be sensitive about personal contact. Grabbing someone, even if you intend to give assistance, could knock the person off balance. Don’t pat anyone on the head, shoulders, or back. It can be demeaning and throw the person off balance. Lightly tap the person’s shoulder if you need to get their attention.
045. Slide 45
Speak directly to a person with a disability, not to his or her companion or sign-language interpreter. When speaking with someone who has a hearing impairment, speak directly, clearly, slowly, and expressively. If you need to get someone’s attention, lightly tap his or her shoulder or wave your hand.
046. Slide 46
Please complete your Page Evaluation form so that the Chief can confirm the hours you served on Election Day. We want you to receive your Certificate of Recognition!
047. Slide 47
Now that you have completed training, please use the link below to take the Survey Monkey quiz. Your application will be submitted along with your test score. If you achieved 80%, your application will be considered. If you do not receive at least 80%, we will contact you.
When you complete your application, please carefully enter all the required information, including the Acknowledgement of Participation from your parent or guardian. Only after all requirements are fulfilled can your application be accepted. You will receive your Election Day assignment electronically.
048. Slide 48
If you have any questions or need help, here is my contact information. You can call, email, or text. Good luck and thank you for your interest in the Page Program!