Franklin's Town Clerk Nancy Danello posted the notice of "Notice Of Advanced Removal Of Early Voted Ballots From Envelopes And Advanced Depositing Of Early Voted Ballots" on Oct 13, 2022 announcing multiple sessions to process the State election early returns. While the notification contains some legal terms as required by MA General Law, the notification in "kitchen English" outlines the following.
As there are over 6,000 vote by mail and absentee ballots sent out (and more being requested), to ensure a timely and accurate count on Tuesday, Nov 8, the state outlined a process to enable a secure two-step process of these ballots in advance of election day.
Step 1 - Advanced Removal Of Early Voted Ballots From Envelopes
The vote by mail ballots are returned via mail or directly to the Municipal building drop boxes. The outer white envelope is scanned to acknowledge receipt for tracking by the State system.
For example, my ballot was dropped into the box at the Town Clerk's window on Tuesday as I went into the School Committee meeting. The ballot tracking shows it was acknowledged as "accepted" on 10/26/22. I dropped it off after their working hours, and they processed it during their next business day. (photo below)
The advance removal session will allow us to watch the brown envelope with the ballot be opened, the ballot itself put in a pile, and the voter system updated to show the voter has proved a ballot. Two people perform this process for each precinct.
There is no actual counting of the votes on the ballot. The ballots are simply piled by precinct for feeding into the voting machines at the next session.
The votes by precinct are stored in ballot boxes and secured in the vault. The security of the process is open to observation by Franklin residents.
There are six sessions scheduled for this advanced opening process:
• Friday, October 28 - 9:00 AM
• Monday, October 31 - 9:00 AM
• Tuesday, November 1 - 9:00 AM
• Wednesday, November 2 - 9:00 AM
• Thursday, November 3 - 9:00 AM
• Friday, November 4 - 9:00 AM
Step 2 - Advanced Depositing Of Early Voted Ballots
On Saturday, Nov 5, the advance processed ballots will be moved by Franklin police detail from the Municipal building vault to Franklin High School where they will be processed in the second step. If the processing is not completed on Saturday, it can be continued on Sunday, Nov 6.
The ballots as opened and processed in Step 1 will be securely transferred from the vault to Franklin High School by a Franklin Police detail.
Each set of ballots separated by precinct will be feed into the voting machines. The voting machine overall tally will be noted but the tape to 'count the votes' will not be run. The second set of memory cards for each machine will be installed and the machines will be ready for processing on election day.
At the end of the session, the memory cards for this deposited process, along with the ballots, will be securely transferred from the High School back to the Municipal building vault by a Franklin Police detail.
Normal in person voting will take place beginning at 6 AM and complete at 8 PM. The precinct voting totals will be tallied and the machines tapes (with the vote totals for each election position or ballot question) will be manually entered into the election spreadsheet.
The memory cards from the Advance Depositing action on Saturday will be placed into each precinct machine so their totals can be run on the tape. That tape will also be entered into the spreadsheet to help complete the unofficial results.
There are other steps required by the Town Clerk to create the 'official' results, including cross checking all the totals of votes by precinct. She has three days to complete the process and send the results to the Secretary of the Commonwealth to be part of the State certification process.
In summary, all ballots are paper, counted and tallied in an observed and secure process to guarantee a fair result. The paper ballots can be audited or recounted as required to ensure the results are what they are.
The Advance Notice document (PDF format)
The link to the Town Clerk page where it was posted Oct 13, 2022
Town Clerk link (directly opens up a Word doc)
My vote by mail ballot status
You can check your vote by mail status at this link
|You are welcome to observe multiple sessions of the advance removal and deposit of vote by mail ballots for the Nov 8 election|