Batch Retrieval & Tally

Batch retrieval for batch comparison and full manual tally audits.

After the audit begins, each jurisdiction with batches selected will receive a batch retrieval list. Generally this list is downloaded by the jurisdiction retrieving the batches from Arlo, the audit software but sometimes it may be sent to a county by the state or to a local jurisdiction by their county.

Note: for a full manual tally, all batches will be audited and a retrieval list will not be generated.

To retrieve batches, refer to your batch retrieval list to determine which container is needed. Each batch retrieval list will show the batch name and the audit board selected to tally the batch.

Retrieve the correct container and perform required chain of custody verification steps. Then open the container. Pull the entire batch of ballots out of the storage container and manipulate into a stack of ballots that is mostly neat. If the container contains more than 1000 ballots, ballots should be removed from the container and sorted in manageable stacks, leaving the rest of the ballots in the container until the previous stack is tallied.

Batch Vote Totals

Depending on the number of contests being audited, jurisdictions may use a variety of methods to tally the vote totals for each batch. The following are instructions for two common methods.

Sort & Stack
Read & Mark
Sort & Stack

Sort the Ballots

For each ballot: one audit board member picks up a single ballot from the stack and reads the vote for the contest being audited aloud, then hands the ballot to the second audit board member. The second audit board member verifies the vote that is on the ballot is indeed what the first audit board member read, then places the ballot in the “stack” that corresponds to the vote. The first audit board member should watch to make sure the ballot is placed in the right stack. A stack should be created for each contest choice (including write-in), overvoted ballots, blank/undervoted ballots, duplicated ballots, and ballots where the audit board cannot agree on the voter’s intent.

Count the Stacks

Count the ballots in each stack by having one member of the audit board verbally count the ballot while handing it to the other member for verification. Count the ballots in groups of 10, stacking the groups at right angles to each other, so you can easily count the complete groups when you are done. (For instance, if you have seven groups of 10 ballots each plus an extra 3 ballots, the total tally would be 73.) Record the total tally for each candidate on the Audit Board Batch Sheet.

Example Audit Board Batch Sheet

Read & Mark

Prepare a Tally Sheet For this method a tally sheet should be prepared. The tally sheet should:

  • be organized in the same order as the ballot

  • list each contest and associated choices (including write-ins when applicable) to be audited

  • include a space for overvotes and blank/undervotes for each contest

  • have space for tally marks after each choice

Tally the Votes One audit board member reads the choice for the first contest being audited to the second audit board member who makes a tally mark on the tally sheet. Repeat for all contests being audited. Ideally, a third audit board member should observe the ballot marks and tally sheet tallies.

Completing this process in groups of 20, 50, 100, or some other set number allows for verification checks throughout the process. Once the set number is completed, add up the tally marks to ensure the same number was tallied for each contest.

Complete Audit Board Batch Sheet

When all ballots are tallied, total the tally marks and complete the Audit Board Batch Sheet.

Adjudicating Ballots

Some ballots may need special attention. The following ballot types may need special review. Depending on the audit, these steps may be performed by the audit board or a special review team.

Duplicated ballots - ballots that were hand duplicated require the retrieval of the original ballot. Use the original ballot to determine the vote cast by the voter in the contest being audited.

Write-In ballots - in states where write-in ballots are required to be qualified, write-in ballots should be compared to the list of qualified write-in candidates and tallied if deemed qualified according to state rule or law.

Undetermined ballots - if an audit board can not agree on the voter’s mark(s), an additional person or designated team could help break a tie. If a determination is not made, a remark can be made in Arlo to explain.

Final Steps

Once the batch has been tallied, return all ballots to the container, reseal the container, and complete any chain of custody documentation required. Return the Audit Board Batch Sheet to the Jurisdiction Manager.