Minutes - Summary of Feb. 28 Meeting

Call to Order

Chairmen Kate Hanley and Stu Mendelsohn called the eighth meeting of the Bipartisan Election Process Improvement Commission (“Commission”) to order in Room 232 of the County Government Center at 7:15 p.m.  Members in attendance included:  Bob Brostrom, Chuck Caputo, Bettie Baca, Alex Blakemore, Keith Damon, Cesar del Aguila, Olga Hernandez, Tania Hossain, Jay McConville, James Parmelee, Ginny Peters, Susan Platt, Marcus Simon, Brian Schoeneman and Jeffrey Wisoff.  Members of the public were in attendance, as was County staff.

Summary of Feb. 21, 2013 Minutes

The summary minutes of the Feb. 21, 2013, had been provided to the members in advance of the meeting for their review. No changes were requested.

Review of Report Draft

Chairman Hanley distributed the first draft of the commission’s report to be provided to the Board of Supervisors. She asked the commission members to read the report and that they would follow with a discussion.  She noted that the commission was on the agenda for the Board of Supervisors’ March 19 meeting.

She also explained that the report needed to stand on its own and be understood by people besides the Board of Supervisors, therefore there was a need to include educational information on elections in Virginia.  Specific recommendations were denoted in bold copy.

The commission members spent several minutes reading the draft report.

Previous Information Requests             

Mr. Long explained that there were still some information items outstanding that are still under legal review, including questions on absentee voting, provisional ballots and election officers.

Comments on Review of Draft Report

The chairman requested that commission members go around the table to provide comments and a discussion ensued:

The first discussion point referred to page 7 of the draft.  Chairman Hanley and other members requested that language be included in this section that in addition to the review of precinct voter registration totals in June, that another review be made later, possibly September, so that a sufficient amount of elections officers and resources are assigned to each precinct.  It was noted that in some cases, voter registration totals increased substantially after the June review.

Page 1, first paragraph –add school board to sentence that begins In 2011.

A request for absentee ballot changes by the state was tabled for a list to be included as an attachment for a list of recommendations to the Board of Supervisors to request of the state/General Assembly.

Page 5 – Add language that staff needs to be better trained on how to direct voters in the poll and outside the poll.

Page 8 – A request was made for stronger language regarding the DMV processing of voter registration applications.

Page 1, paragraph 3 – The request was made to delete the phrase - reducing the number of workers by half - since although those workers may not be needed working on the EPB, they were needed elsewhere in the poll.

A request was made to change the term “paper ballots” to “electronically scanned ballots,” since people may be hesitant about using a paper ballot.

Page 4 – Add language that all polling places, including spaces in schools, be closed to other uses the night before the election so that election chiefs and offers can have the rooms set up and ready to go in the morning.

The chairmen requested that requests for language and word “smithing” be forwarded to Mr. Long. 

A request was made to include specifics about the functionality of EPBs, including use of new and open source technology.  It was noted the current EPBs were helpful but have some issues.

Page 3 – It should be noted that the county purchased used optical scan machines, which indicates that they will have a shorter life-span.


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