Polling Place Management – Election Assistance Commission
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(Narrator) Today we’re talking about the best way to set up and manage a polling place. Voters expect and deserve to have a
smooth efficient experience at the polling place. That means extensive
planning before voting begins, and effective management on Election Day.
Think about the room setup and the needs of poll workers. Pack supplies
accordingly. This will speed up the setup process at the polling place. For
instance make sure registration table materials are packed in a single box.
Since this box is labeled, workers will know when they get to the polling place
exactly where it belongs. And put simple easy to read written instructions in the
corresponding boxes. Remember that it’s also a good idea to include visual aids.
Written instructions and visual diagrams will help poll workers set up the
polling place. Include checkoff lists and reminders about what must be returned to the election office. Provide floor plans that show how signs voting equipment and other materials should be situated. Include flow charts that show the voting
process. If you are managing your own delivery of supplies and equipment, it’s
important to track these activities in a database. You should track polling place
addresses, equipment delivery times and dates, and whether a key is provided to
polling place staff before Election Day. Some jurisdictions use a barcode
tracking system to confirm the delivery of materials to each polling place. Now
you’ve successfully moved everything to the polling place, you’ve gone through
the checkoff list, and you have all the supplies. You’re ready to set up the
layout of your polling place is critical to managing crowds on Election Day. Think about how people will move through the room, flowing easily from voter check-in
to receiving a voter card or a paper ballot . Place signage along the walls so
that voters can review the sample ballot while waiting in line. Typically voters
check in first. The next area is crucial to ensuring an
efficient traffic flow. This is where it all happens – the ballot clerk table. This
is where voters get a ballot or a voter card to insert in a touchscreen machine. If they are not on the voter rolls, they’re sent to the provisional ballot
table to get a provisional ballot; then the ballot clerk sends them on to cast
their vote. Signs outside and inside of the polling place also help manage
traffic flow. Exterior signs should include “Vote here,” “No campaigning,” and “Accessible entrance.” American flags also alert voters that they have arrived at a
polling place. The bottom line is that details matter when it comes to
elections. Forgetting just one thing such as provisional ballots can make all
the difference. So start out by making lists of what you need, packing smart by
putting related items and instructions in the same box; use a database to track
distribution of supplies; and when you get ready to set up the polling place,
put yourself in the shoes of the voter. What’s the best way to set up the room
so traffic will flow? What information does the voter need to present when they
check in to vote? Thank you for joining us today. For additional information
about polling place management and a variety of other election administration
topics, please visit our Election Official Center at www.eac.gov.

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