Ballot’s Pathway from Candidate filing to the Poll Site
(A walk through our Mohave County election process!)
Revised March 2014
Want to be a candidate?
An interested citizen wishing to become a candidate can begin the process by gathering
information from our web site on the “Candidate Filing Information” link: or by visiting our
Becoming a Candidate:
1. Perspective Candidate decides whether to run as a Partisan Candidate, 16-341
Candidate (Independent, PND, or any other party candidate that is not a recognized
political party), Write-In Candidate, Non-Partisan Candidate (Fire, Water, or Mohave
Community College School Board), or as a Precinct Committeeman -- which decision will
help determine whether they will run in the Primary, the General, or both.
2. Perspective Candidate must be aware of the following receiving/spending
requirements before or while collecting signatures:
-If receiving or spending under $250, they may begin collecting signatures
-Once the perspective Candidate receives or spends over $249
but under $500, they must file a “$500 Threshold Exemption Statement”
(must file within 5 business days of receiving or spending over $249)
- Once the perspective Candidate receives or spends over $500, they must
file a “Statement of Organization” (must file within 5 business days of
doing so) --this filing will require additional reports to be filed during the
3. Once the required number of signatures have been collected, the candidate will
file their Nomination Paper, Financial Disclosure Statement, and petitions with
the Mohave County Elections Department or their filing officer
Candidates monitor each other’s actions and often check each other’s paperwork as the
process proceeds. If any candidate finds grounds for a challenge, once the last day to file has
arrived, they can proceed to challenge their opponent’s paperwork in court. A Judge will make
the final decision. Once all challenges have been decided, the Elections Department will begin
to “build” the ballot!
The Elections Department prepares the ballot:
-Confirm with candidates the correct spelling of how they want their name to
appear on the ballot
-Confirm races and issues to be placed on the ballot
-Send information to Printer, who arranges races & issues in proper order on
Ballot (determined by Arizona law)
-Upon receipt of proposed ballot, the ballot is again checked for errors
-Once approved, the Printer is given the word to print the test ballots
-When the test ballots arrive, the ballot is tested to see if it will read in our
-Once confirmed the ballots are correct, the Elections Department and Voter
Registration Division place their orders for the total number of ballots that will be
needed for poll site voting and for early voting
The ballots arrive and the testing begins:
-Ballots are marked by hand, and then tallied by hand, and in our larger elections
this could be as many as 680 different styles of ballots-state candidates will be
on all ballots, but then the city, school, fireboards, and precinct committee
candidates will be “precinct specific” (that is why it is so important the Voters
vote in the precinct where they reside)
-Every candidate, race, issue, & oval on the ballot will be tested to see that it
-These tallied, marked ballots are then ran through their individual precinct voting
optical scan machines - and their totals checked against the hand tally numbers
-These same tallied, marked ballots are entered into the individual precinct voting
touch screen machines-and their totals checked against the original hand
-These same tallied, marked ballots are run through the central count machines
(which will be used to process early ballots and provisional ballots)-and their
totals checked against the original hand tallied numbers
-Reports are run and checked against ballots, tapes, and machine counts-all
counts must tally the same-these reports are filed for verification purposes if
-An In-House L&A (Logic & Accuracy Testing) is completed on every single
machine to be used during an election, and reports filed for evidence
-Public L&A (Logic & Accuracy Testing) is published in the papers, & the public
and political parties are invited to attend and witness the testing of all equipment (on
statewide elections, the Secretary of State conducts their own “Public L&A” testing in
each county as well) -the public is always invited & welcome!
-Once tested, the machines” memory cards are sealed immediately (same seal will be
verified at the poll site by both major political party Judges, and again at the Receiving
Center by political witnesses there to see that the seals have not been tampered with)
Other preparations before the L&A:
-Memory cards for each optical scan and touch screen machine are created
-Spanish translations are added to the audio ballot machines (required by
-Audio ballots are checked for accuracy
-Encoders for the touch screen machines are created and tested for accuracy,
along with each headset and touchpad for the blind
-Poll Workers are contacted, and 4 hour training sessions arranged-as many as
650 poll workers are hired for county wide elections
-Supply boxes are prepared
-After the L&A all sealed equipment is delivered to each polling location (73
precincts in a county wide election) and secured in locked cages
Security of Voting Equipment:
-On Election Day before the polls open, two Judges, representing the two major
political parties, at each poll site, verify that their equipment has the same seals
on each of the machines that were originally placed on the equipment after the
Public L&A, and that no one has tampered with the seals. They compare and
sign an “Equipment Seal Log” verifying the seals. These seal logs are then
returned the night of the Election after closing the voting equipment. Once the
equipment is received back at the Elections Office, the Receiving Board, again
made up of representatives from both major political parties, will then check
again to verify the seals have not been tampered with. This Board will also
verify and record the seals, thus creating a continuous paper trail from the time
the voting equipment was first tested and sealed, all the way through to the
completion of the election.
Goal of each election:
-Another successful election for Mohave County that will be accomplished with
accuracy and integrity
I hope this has been informative and helps build a better understanding of
your election process and the security and precautions that are in affect here
in Mohave County!
What happens to my Early Ballot?
Part 2 -- Getting to Know Your Election Process
Revised March 2014
Ever wonder what happens to that Early Ballot once you have voted it, signed the back of the
affidavit envelope, and placed it into the mail? Well, let’s follow it and see what occurs!
The Early Ballot is on its way!
The mailman picks up the early ballot and heads off to the main Post Office. The Post Office
has been alerted that it is “Election time!” and ballots will be arriving. Early voting begins 26
days before an election so the Post Office braces for the extra load! In many of the General
Elections they will be looking at over 34,000 Mohave County early ballots passing through their
(Voters do have the option of dropping their early ballots, sealed in their signed affidavit
envelopes, off at any polling location on Election Day. This late return of early ballots does
slow down the process of capturing the final results of the election in a timely manner.)
Voter Registration confirms the ballot is yours!
Once the early ballot arrives at the Administration Office, it is delivered to the Voter
Registration’s office on the 2nd floor. The Voter Registration Office starts the process of
verifying the signatures on the outside of the back of each early ballot affidavit envelope. They
must make sure that the signature matches the signature the Voter has on file with their
registration. The officials verifying signatures in Voter Registration have been sent off for
intensive training in identifying signatures as this is a very serious process that insures that the
Voter’s ballot has not been stolen and filled out by another person. Once the signature has
been verified as the registered Voter, the ballot is accounted for on the Voter’s history record
(just in case one should forget and try to vote twice!). Once verified, Voter Registration packs
the early ballot affidavit envelopes, with the ballots sealed inside, into bundles of 50, attaching a
list of the Voters names, seals them in a tote, and sends them to the Early Ballot Board for
further processing. (These ballots are stored in a secure fireproof vault during processing, and
Something New for the Early Voter:
A new addition to the Elections Department web site and to the Voter Registration web site is a
link for the Early Voter to see if their early ballot has been received and processed. The link is
called “Search Your Early Ballot” and is located at the following: Link (Other Voter information
can be found at this site also.)
Notes from Voter Registration to Voters:
1. The Voter must sign the early ballot affidavit envelope on the outside, designated
place. If not signed, the ballot cannot be processed.
2. Do not sign the affidavit envelope for someone else without permission and marking
the proper box. If at all possible, notify Voter Registration in advance.
3. If your signature has drastically changed, contact Voter Registration and sign a new
signature card. Your signature is your personal identification and protects your
ballot and your vote from being stolen by another person.
4. Notify Voter Registration as soon as possible if there is a name or address change
so that Voter Registration can correct your record, send you the correct ballot style,
and process your early ballot as quickly as possible. (Should the Voter go to their
polling location, this will also insure that they are in the correct polling place and
should prevent them from having to fill out a provisional ballot.)
5. Remember that the early ballot must be in the hands of the Election Officials by 7
p.m. the night of the Election. Post mark dates do not count.
6. If it is the Primary Election, you must vote the party ballot you are registered as. If
you have registered as an Independent, PND (Party Not Designated), or any party
not recognized in Arizona, you must let Voter Registration know which party ballot
you want to be sent to you.
7. If you request an early ballot or have registered as a “Permanent Early Voter”,
please vote and return your early ballot. If you do not, and you go to your polling
location on Election Day, you will have to vote a provisional ballot. This provisional
ballot is required by law.
The Early Ballot Board does their part!
The Early Ballot Board is comprised of at least one Republican and one Democrat (the two
major political parties in Arizona at this time), along with other registered voters representing
various political associations. Thus the political parties have representation on this Board that
will witness to the integrity and legal processing of the early ballot process. This Board is
sworn in each day, and they have specific laws and guidelines that they must follow.
The Early Ballot process:
1. The 1st member on the Board will receive the Voter’s early ballot in a bundle of 50
and check to make sure each name on the ballot affidavit envelope matches the
name printed on the list from Voter Registration-a double check to make sure no
ballot was lost or misplaced.
2. The ballot is then passed to the 2nd Board member who cuts the top of the envelope
and, without opening the envelope, passes the envelope to the 3rd Board member.
3. The 3rd Board member removes the ballot from the envelope without opening the
ballot, places the envelope to one side (this separates the name of the Voter from
the actual ballot and maintains the secrecy of the ballot) and places the ballot in a
pile in front of the 4th & 5th Board workers.
4. The 4th & 5th Board workers unfold the ballots and press out the folds so that it will
lay flat. They also scan the ballots for tears, food smears, marks that will prevent
the ballot from being read by the voting equipment, etc.
5. The 6th Board member counts the ballots into piles of 10, then into a stack of 50.
6. When all 50 ballots have been stacked and counted, the tally is compared: the list
had 50 names, the 3rd Board member has 50 envelopes, and the 6th Board member
has 50 ballots-TALLY! The 50 ballots are now ready to go to the Processing
Board. This six-person Board will process up to 3,200 ballots in 8 hours.
Notes from the Early Board to Voters:
1. Do not send in your sample ballot in place of your official ballot, sample ballots
cannot be counted. (Sample ballot is stamped “Not Official Ballot” and is often a
generic version of your precinct ballot.)
2. Do not send in your Primary ballot in place of your General Election ballot! The
Primary ballot is for the Primary only, and the General ballot is for the General only.
3. If you spoil your ballot in any way, request a new ballot to be sent to you.
4. Do not put notes on your ballot, the machine can’t read them and the Board is not
interested. By law, the Board is not allowed to guess at the Voter’s intent.
5. Do not sign your ballot!
6. Do not include name changes, address changes, or other requests with your ballot.
Voter Registration does not open your envelope so does not receive your
7. When voting the ballot, fill in the oval near your choice. Do not circle the candidate’s
name or party.
8. If the Voter wishes to vote for a Write-in Candidate, print the name clearly and fill in
9. Do not fill in the oval by a candidate’s name, then write the candidate’s name again
on the Write-In line and fill in that oval. This does not get the candidate two votes,
rather it becomes an over vote and neither choice can be counted.
10. The instruction on the top of each ballot informs the Voter how to request a new
ballot-the Voter needs to follow the instructions. (The instructions also shows the
Voter how to fill in the ovals correctly!)
Now all would be wonderful if all the ballots that are returned were nice and clean (do you know
what chocolate cake smeared on a ballot looks like?!, or coffee sprinkled all over it looks
like?!). Not only does the Board have to check to make sure the ballot is clean enough to go
through the counting machine, they must check to see if the Voter mismarked their ballot by not
actually filling in the ovals on the ballot but instead they just circled the oval, or circled the name,
or maybe marked the party (DEM) or (REP) instead of the oval. Sometimes the Voter tears
their ballot but instead of asking for a replacement ballot they just stuff the pieces into the
envelope and mail it in-this isn’t going to work in the counting machine! If the Early Board
receives a damaged ballot, they must send the ballot to the Duplication Board to be
duplicated, again witnessed by members of the two major political parties. When duplicating a
ballot, the Board must mark the original as “Original #1”, “Original #2”, etc. and the duplicated
ballot as “Dup. #1”, “Dup. #2”, etc. That way the ballot can be traced back to verify the
markings were copied accurately (just a reminder: there is no way the Voter’s name is ever
connected to the ballot). The Board is restricted from interpreting the intent of the Voter. With
both major political parties represented on the Board, and working to determine each
circumstance, the integrity of the election process is protected.
Notes from the Duplication Board to Voters:
1. If you mismark your ballot, do not write “No”, X out a marked oval, or put a note on
the ballot trying to explain. Remember a machine is reading this ballot and will not
understand. Also, the Duplication Board cannot interpret the Voter’s intent.
2. If you spoil your ballot, call Voter Registration and request a new ballot be sent to
3. Do not write notes or doodle in the timing bars on your ballot, this prevents the
original ballot from being read, thus triggering the duplication of the original ballot.
(If the Voter does not like Spanish, the Voter needs to contact their congressmen
not the Elections Department!)
4. If the Voter should tear, or spill food on their ballot they need to request a new
5. Voters need to be aware that extra time spent by the Duplication Board is an added
expense to the taxpayers of Mohave County.
6. The instruction on the top of each ballot informs the Voter how to request a new
ballot-the Voter needs to follow the instructions. (The instructions also tells the
Voter how to fill in the ovals correctly.)
The early ballot heads to the Processing Board:
Once all the ballots are ready to be counted they are sealed and sent to the Processing
Board. They are delivered to the ballot count room (the room you see when you watch the live
video on the Elections Department’s website from your home computers!) and there the ballots
are ran through the counting machines. Their totals are entered into the central count tabulator.
Now, the Processing Board has access to the number of ballots counted but no one has
access to the candidate totals until one hour after the polls close on election night. Again the
number of ballots counted here must match the number of ballots processed by Voter
Registration and by the Early Board.
Ballots with Write-Ins?
If there is a Write-In candidate, the Processing Board returns the counted ballots with write-ins
on them to the Write-In & Tally Board who goes through each ballot writing down and tallying
the valid write-ins. No, they don’t count “Mickey”, “John Wayne”, etc., nor do they count the
Voter’s neighbors that were so” thoughtfully” printed on the ballot! These invalid write-ins have
been a waste of time and are costly for the tax payers who pay the Tally Board to check each
and every name.
Notes from the Write-In Board to Voters:
1. When a Voter fills in the oval by a candidate’s name on a “vote for one” race, goes
down to the write-in line and writes the same candidate’s name, then fills in the
oval, they are not giving that candidate an extra vote. In fact, they have made an
“over vote” for that race and neither mark will be counted.
2. If the Voter does want to vote for a legitimate Write-In candidate, they must fill in the
candidate’s name on the write-in line, then they must fill in the oval. Without the
oval being filled in, the name will not be counted. (Remember, a machine is reading
this ballot, and our Boards cannot interpret the Voter’s intent.)
3. The instruction on the top of each ballot informs the Voter how to request a new
ballot-the Voter needs to follow the instructions. (The instructions also tells the
Voter how to fill in the ovals correctly.)
Once the ballots are processed and counted, they are locked into the vault. The affidavit
envelopes are also boxed and locked separately in the vault. Should there be a recount, the
ballots will be brought back by the order of a judge and recounted. Otherwise they are stored
for 2 years for the Federal and Presidential Preference Elections, or 6 months for State and
Local Elections, then properly disposed of.
Do early ballots get counted? Yes, they sure do. Look on the “Past Election Results” link in
the left hand menu, on our website, then click on an election of your choice under the
“Statement of Votes Cast (PDF FILE)”, you will see the total number of early ballots processed
in each precinct, and also the total number of ballots cast at the polling place and the
provisional ballots processed. The different Boards involved in the election process verify the
numbers over and over. They work hard to insure the integrity of Mohave County’s election
I hope this has been informative and helps build a better understanding of the
election process and the security and precautions that are in affect here in
Gatekeepers of our Republic!
Part 3 - Getting to Know Your Election Process
Revised August 2014
Poll Workers are one of our unsung “Hero” groups. These citizens are willing to be the gatekeepers of
our freedom to vote at the poll sites. They put in long hours with very little pay. These dedicated
citizens work hard to see that registered Voters may cast their ballots at their poll sites.
Who can be a poll worker?
ü Must be registered to vote in Mohave County
ü May be over 16 years of age with written permission from guardian if would otherwise qualify to
register to vote
ü Be able to work long hours, possibly from 5 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Election Day
ü Submit name & phone number to Mohave County Elections Department
ü Attend a mandatory 4 hour training class prior to the election
What is the process to select a poll worker?
ü Sort the names according to home precincts
ü Begin phone calls to confirm potential poll worker will be available for next training & election
ü Balance each poll board with at least 2 Democrats & 2 Republicans (representing the two major
political parties in Arizona at this time)
ü Check for bilingual poll workers in both Spanish (local dialect) & Yuman tribal language (required
by the U.S. Department of Justice)
ü With at least a 33% turnover of poll workers for each election, it is a constant job of replacing
workers that either change their mind, find another job, or become ill
What does a Poll Board consist of?
ü One Inspector (the “boss”, a veteran poll worker willing to take on the extra duties)
ü Two Judges (one from each major political party)
ü One Marshal (enforces the laws, especially those concerning the 75 foot limit for electioneering-
and calls the police if needed)
ü Two ID Clerks (checks each Voter’s ID to confirm they are who they say they are)
ü One Poll List Clerk (records the name of each Voter that votes at their poll site & accounts for
ü One Special Situations Clerk (assists Voter needing to change their name or address, find Voter’s
correct polling place, or perform other jobs in protecting a Voter’s ballot through the provisional
What does the mandatory 4 hour training class cover?
ü There are strict guidelines established by the AZ Secretary of State listed in their Procedures
Manual that must be presented to each class within 45 days of any election:
1. Delivery of ballots/supplies to precinct
2. Election board officer duties
3. Election board political party representation
4. Pre-election responsibilities
a. pre-election set-up meeting
b. poll site building access
c. time & location of meeting
d. checking supplies
e. equipment & furniture arrangement
f. voting equipment check
g. official ballot count/precinct ballot accounting
h. early voters-must be marked in Roster & Registers as they have been sent a
ballot & must receive a provisional ballot if they come back to a poll site
5. Election day
a. opening polls (synchronize watches/cell phones)
b. hours the polls are open (6 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
c. working hours (5 a.m. to 9 p.m.-can’t leave the poll site once sworn in)
d. 75-foot limitation, signs, (electioneering limits)
e. sharing polling places (tribal elections or other precincts)
f. procedures for Proof of Identification and Provisional Ballot Processing at the Polls
g. voting equipment (set up, zero’s reports, operating during day, & closing)
h. accessible voting equipment (encoding cards, assisting Voters, monitoring)
i. troubleshooting (what all can go wrong!)
j. Voter registration (Voter assistance)
k. who may vote (Presidential Preference Election, primary, etc.)
l. standard voting procedures (ID matches register)
m. Recorder’s Certificates (if any issued by Voter Registration)
n. spoiled ballot procedures
o. procedure for early ballot drop off
p. political observers (party representatives)
q. challenges (what to do should someone challenge a Voter’s right to vote)
r. closing the polls (transmitting results, deliver of ballots, integrity maintained)
s. Ballot Report & Certificate of Performance, Signature Roster signed by Board (all
t. Poll List Book completed & signed by Board (legal document)
u. official/unofficial envelope contents that must be returned Election night
6. Customer Service
a. assisting the voter
b. assisting the voter with disabilities - also setting up the poll site ADA compliant
c. assisting the voter with bilingual needs/accessibility of interpreters
7. Compensation of election workers (Mohave County poll workers are paid a total of
$120 for the Inspector; $105 for Board members)
8. New Laws - any U.S. Federal or Arizona State Laws that regulate the elections and
the duties of poll workers that have changed since the last training session must
be covered in the training. (There is a 700+ page Arizona Revised Statutes Book
placed in the supply box for each poll site!!)
9. All poll workers receive a Training Manual that will help them through Election Day
. . . . after 4 hours the new poll workers realize that they don’t just get to sit all day, eating cookies
& doughnuts, while handing out ballots! These training classes are held in Bullhead City, Kingman, Lake
Havasu City, Colorado City and in Beaver Dam. In the large elections, there will be 600 - 650 poll
workers required to fill all 73 polling locations.
What happens at the set-up meeting the day before the election?
ü Inspector & Board members meet at poll site
ü Set up tables & lay out supplies
ü Enter all “Early Voters” into the Roster & Registers (these are voters who were mailed an early
ballot by Voter Registration, should they come to the poll site they must vote a provisional ballot
as the poll workers have no way of knowing whether the Voter mailed in the first ballot or not-
this process prevents a voter from voting twice in the same election)
ü Review the duties of each poll worker
ü Setup may take 2 hours and is mandatory or $10 will be deducted from pay check
What happens on Election Day?
ü Poll workers arrive at 5 a.m. (often in the dark!)
ü Inspector reads the Oath & swears in the Board (once sworn in they can’t leave the poll site-
unless taken out on a stretcher!)
ü Check all seals on equipment & ballots to make sure no one has tampered with their equipment &
ü Finish setting up the voting equipment & confirm that no ballots have been cast prior to the
opening of their poll site
ü Outside signs are set up, especially the 75’ limit signs (creating an electioneering neutral zone
around the front entrance) & the handicap parking signs
ü Promptly at 6 a.m. the polls are opened by the Marshal who goes outside & hollers, “Hear ye!
Hear ye! Hear ye! The polls are now open!” (It is the law & it dates way back in our country’s
early History to the time of the town crier!)
ü Each Board member, but especially the two Judges, take seriously their job of protecting the
integrity of their poll site by insuring that all AZ election laws are followed
ü ID Clerk checks to see that every Voter presents acceptable ID & that it matches the information
in the Voter Registration register (this insures that the Voter is who they say they are)
ü If the ID matches, the Voter moves on to the Signature Roster Judge to sign the Roster, then to
the Ballot Judge to receive their ballot
ü If the ID does not match or the Voter is marked an “Early Voter, the Voter is sent to the Special
Situations Clerk so that the Voter’s information may be updated or corrected for Voter
Registration (Voter Registration will confirm the Voter & their information the next day), or to
protect the process from the possibility of an “Early Voter” voting twice in one election. The
provisional ballot enables the Voter to still vote while changing their information & protecting the
ü If a Voter has no ID, they have two options: 1. Go get acceptable ID 2. Vote a “Conditional
Provisional” ballot, & take their ID to a verification location later in order to have their ballot
processed (otherwise, their ballot will not be processed or counted)
ü The Poll List Clerk records the name of every Voter that casts a ballot, & records any spoiled
ballots so they can account for every Voter & every ballot at the end of the day
ü By being well informed the Board is able to help their fellow citizens in the voting process & make
it possible for their fellow neighbors to come to their poll site & cast their vote
ü One hour before the polls close the Marshall proceeds to warn that the polls will close at 7 p.m.
(The Marshall will shout his warning outside at 6 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m., 6:59 p.m., then stand
behind the last person in line at 7 p.m. while shouting “Hear ye, Hear ye, Hear ye, the polls are
ü All Board members join together to begin the job of securing the ballots & closing down the voting
What happens after the polls are closed?
ü Voting equipment is closed, transmitted, & prepared for transporting
ü Complete & sign the Poll List Book which accounts for every Voter & every ballot issued
ü Sign the Signature Roster, confirming that all Voters that voted were ID’d properly
ü Ballot Report & Certificate of Performance is completed and signed (an accounting of actual
numbers of voters that voted on the optical scan equipment, touch screen unit,or by provisional
ballot; plus an accounting of all paper ballots issued to that poll site & what happened to each
one-voted, spoiled, & unused)
ü Payroll Voucher filled out
ü Pack & secure all official materials to be returned to the Election Receiving Center that night (all
voted ballots, signed legal documents, voting units with memory cards, & the sealed container of
provisional & early ballots received during the day)
ü Store other materials away in a security cage & return poll site to normal
ü Inspector dismisses the Board
ü Inspector & a Judge of the opposite political party then return the official materials to the Election
Receiving Center (a balance of political representation is maintained at every stage of the voting
process which insures the integrity of each poll site & thus of the whole Mohave County election
After this Election Day, the new Poll Workers are no longer “new”. They are veterans. They will tell
their friends of the interesting and challenging job they had while protecting the “freedom to vote” of
their fellow neighbors. They will coach the next set of newbies, and help them with their questions. It
isn’t the pay that keeps them coming back-rather it is the feeling of pride and of being a part of
something very special and very “American”.
Next time you walk into your polling place, give your Poll Workers a big “Thank you”! And if you would
like to really educate yourself on your electoral process, forget the cookies and doughnuts, just give the
Mohave County Elections Department a call and ask to become a Poll Worker!
I hope this has been informative and helps build a better understanding of our
election process and the security and precautions that are in affect here in