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Election Certification Laws

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Election Certification Laws

Only Laws regarding certification documents are below. (as of 2010Aug)

RCWs

 

 

 

29A.60.230
Abstract by election officer — Transmittal to secretary of state.

(1) Immediately after the official results of a state primary or general election in a county are ascertained, the county auditor or other election officer shall make an abstract of the number of registered voters in each precinct and of all the votes cast in the county at such state primary or general election for and against state measures and for each candidate for federal, state, and legislative office or for any other office which the secretary of state is required by law to canvass. The cumulative report of the election and a copy of the certificate of the election must be transmitted to the secretary of state immediately, through electronic means and mailed with the abstract of votes no later than the next business day following the certification by the county canvassing board.

     (2) After each general election, the county auditor or other election officer shall provide to the secretary of state a report of the number of absentee ballots cast in each precinct for and against state measures and for each candidate for federal, state, and legislative office or for any other office which the secretary of state is required by law to canvass. The report may be included in the abstract required by this section or may be transmitted to the secretary of state separately, but in no event later than March 31st of the year following the election. Absentee ballot results may be incorporated into votes cast at the polls for each precinct or may be reported separately on a precinct-by-precinct basis.

     (3) If absentee ballot results are not incorporated into votes cast at the polls, the county auditor or other election official may aggregate results from more than one precinct if the auditor, pursuant to rules adopted by the secretary of state, finds that reporting a single precinct's absentee ballot results would jeopardize the secrecy of a person's ballot. To the extent practicable, precincts for which absentee results are aggregated must be contiguous.


29A.60.235
Certification reports.

(1) The county auditor shall prepare, make publicly available at the auditor's office or on the auditor's web site, and submit at the time of certification an election reconciliation report that discloses the following information:

     (a) The number of registered voters;

     (b) The number of ballots counted;

     (c) The number of provisional ballots issued;

     (d) The number of provisional ballots counted;

     (e) The number of provisional ballots rejected;

     (f) The number of absentee ballots issued;

     (g) The number of absentee ballots counted;

     (h) The number of absentee ballots rejected;

     (i) The number of federal write-in ballots counted;

     (j) The number of overseas and service ballots issued;

     (k) The number of overseas and service ballots counted; and

     (l) The number of overseas and service ballots rejected.

     (2) The county auditor shall prepare and make publicly available at the auditor's office or on the auditor's web site within thirty days of certification a final election reconciliation report that discloses the following information:

     (a) The number of registered voters;

     (b) The total number of voters credited with voting;

     (c) The number of poll voters credited with voting;

     (d) The number of provisional voters credited with voting;

     (e) The number of absentee voters credited with voting;

     (f) The number of federal write-in voters credited with voting;

     (g) The number of overseas and service voters credited with voting;

     (h) The total number of voters credited with voting even though their ballots were postmarked after election day and were not counted; and

     (i) Any other information the auditor deems necessary to reconcile the number of ballots counted with the number of voters credited with voting.

     (3) The county auditor may also prepare such reports for jurisdictions located, in whole or in part, in the county. 
 


 

29A.60.240
Secretary of state — Primary returns — State offices, etc.

The secretary of state shall, as soon as possible but in any event not later than the third Tuesday following the primary, canvass and certify the returns of all primary elections as to candidates for state offices, United States senators and representatives in Congress, and all other candidates whose district extends beyond the limits of a single county.


29A.60.250
Secretary of state — Final returns — Scope.

As soon as the returns have been received from all the counties of the state, but not later than the thirtieth day after the election, the secretary of state shall canvass and certify the returns of the general election as to candidates for state offices, the United States senate, congress, and all other candidates whose districts extend beyond the limits of a single county. The secretary of state shall transmit a copy of the certification to the governor, president of the senate, and speaker of the house of representatives.
 


29A.60.260
Canvass on statewide measures.

The votes on proposed amendments to the state Constitution, recommendations for the calling of constitutional conventions and other questions submitted to the people must be counted, canvassed, and returned by each county canvassing board in the manner provided by law for counting, canvassing, and returning votes for candidates for state offices. The secretary of state shall, in the presence of the governor, within thirty days after the election, canvass the votes upon each question and certify to the governor the result. The governor shall forthwith issue a proclamation giving the whole number of votes cast in the state for and against such measure and declaring the result. If the vote cast upon an initiative or referendum measure is equal to less than one-third of the total vote cast at the election, the governor shall proclaim the measure to have failed.

 

WACs

434-262-010
Definitions.

  As used in these regulations:

     (1) "Canvassing" is that process of examining in detail a ballot, groups of ballots, election subtotals, or grand totals, in order to determine the final official returns of a primary, special, or general election, and to safeguard the integrity of the election process.

     (2) "County canvassing board" is that body charged by law with the duty of canvassing ballots, of ruling on the validity of questioned or challenged ballots, of the verifying all unofficial returns as listed in the auditor's abstract of votes, and the producing of the official county canvass report; it shall be composed of the county auditor, prosecuting attorney, and chairman of the board of the county legislative authority, or their designated representatives.

     (3) "Auditor's abstract of votes" is that report prepared by the county auditor which lists the number of registered voters, votes cast, all of the vote totals by precinct, or by combination of precincts if applicable, absentee ballot totals, legislative and congressional district subtotals, if any, and county-wide totals. The auditor's abstract of votes must also include the reconciliation report required by RCW 29A.60.235(1). Vote totals in the auditor's abstract of votes shall be unofficial until verified and certified by the county canvassing board.

     (4) "County canvass report" is the auditor's abstract of votes after verification by the county canvassing board and shall contain a certificate which shall include the oath as specified in RCW 29A.60.200, the original signatures of each member of the county canvassing board, the county seal, and all other material pertinent to the election.

     (5) "Certified copy of the county canvass report" is that report transmitted by the county auditor to the secretary of state which contains registered voters and votes cast by precinct, or combination of precincts if applicable, votes cast for and against state measures, and votes cast for candidates for federal and statewide offices and for any office whose jurisdiction encompasses more than one county, absentee ballot totals for those measures and candidates, subtotals if applicable, and county-wide totals. It shall also include a certificate, bearing original signatures and an original county seal, identical to that included in the official county canvass report, and any other material which may be pertinent to the canvass of the election.


 

 

434-262-030
County auditor's abstract of votes.

  No later than the fifteenth day following any primary or special election and the twenty-first day following any general election the county canvassing board shall meet and canvass all ballots. Upon completion of this canvass, the board shall direct the county auditor to prepare the auditor's abstract of votes as defined by WAC 434-262-010. The reconciliation of absentee and vote by mail ballots must include documentation that the number of ballots counted plus the number of ballots rejected is equal to the number of ballots received. In addition, county auditors must provide any additional information necessary to explain variances between the number of ballots counted compared to the number of ballots received and credited. The certification reports established in RCW 29A.60.235(1) must be included with the abstract of votes and must be submitted at the time of the county certification.


 

434-262-070
Official county canvass report.

  Upon completion of the verification of the auditor's abstract of votes and the documentation of any corrective action taken, the county canvassing board shall sign a certification that the abstract is a full, true, and correct representation of the votes cast for the issues and offices listed thereon. The certification shall also state the total number of registered voters and votes cast in the county. The certification shall contain the oath required by RCW 29A.60.200, signed by the county auditor and attested to by the chairman of the board of the county legislative authority, and shall have a space where the official seal of the county shall be attached. This certification, the auditor's abstract of votes, any adding machine tapes produced during the verification process, and the written narrative of errors and discrepancies discovered and corrected, if applicable, shall constitute the official county canvass report. This report may not be subsequently amended or altered, except in the event a recount conducted pursuant to chapter 29A.64 RCW, or upon order of the superior court, or by the county canvassing board reconvened specifically for that purpose. The vote totals contained therein shall constitute the official returns of that election.


 

434-262-080
Transmittal of certified copy of county canvass report to the secretary of state.

  Immediately following the certification of the returns of any primary, special, or general election in which state measures, federal or state offices, or legislative or judicial offices whose jurisdiction encompasses more than one county appeared on the ballot, the county auditor must transmit those returns to the secretary of state by fax, e-mail, or other electronic means. No later than the next business day, the county auditor must send to the secretary of state a certified copy of that part of the county canvass report and, if applicable, the written narrative, covering those issues and offices.


 

 

434-262-090
Receipt of certified copy of county canvass report by secretary of state.

  The secretary of state shall ensure that all material required to be submitted pursuant to state law and these regulations has been included in the certified copy of the county canvass report transmitted to his or her office. In the event the secretary of state determines that the report is incomplete, he or she shall notify the county auditor of that fact and shall request that the missing part be forwarded immediately. No county's certified copy of the county canvass report shall be considered complete for acceptance by the secretary of state until all of the material required by statute and regulation has been received by the secretary of state. In the event the certified copy of the county canvass report is illegible or in improper form, the secretary of state shall return it and require an immediate resubmission of the report in proper or legible form.


 

 

434-262-100
Canvass of returns by the secretary of state — Powers and duties.

  Upon receipt of a complete certified copy of the county canvass report from a county auditor, the secretary of state shall proceed to include the results from that abstract in the official canvass of the primary, special, or general election. This shall be accomplished by adding the certified returns from each county abstract of votes in order to determine the final results for those offices and issues he or she is required by law to certify. The secretary of state shall accept the certified copy of the official abstract of votes from each county as being full, true, and correct in all respects. The secretary of state may include in the official canvass, a narrative which details or describes any apparent discrepancies discovered during the canvassing procedure, and may notify the county or counties involved of such discrepancies.


 

 

434-262-110
Certification of primary returns by the secretary of state.

  Pursuant to RCW 29A.60.240, upon completion of the canvass of each county's certified copy of the auditor's abstract of votes and no later than the third Tuesday following the primary, the secretary of state shall certify to the appropriate county auditors the returns for all state ballot measures, federal and statewide offices, and those legislative and judicial offices whose jurisdiction encompasses more than one county. In the event the secretary of state is unable to certify all or part of a primary election by the third Tuesday following that primary because he or she has not received a certified copy of a county canvass report from one or more counties, he or she shall certify the state ballot measures and candidates for which completed abstracts have been received. The secretary of state shall also set forth, by letter to the county auditors, those reasons which render him or her unable to certify the entire primary. The certification of the remainder of the primary shall take place when all outstanding certified copies of county canvass reports have been received and filed.


 

 

434-262-120
Certification of general election returns by the secretary of state.

  Pursuant to RCW 29A.60.250, upon completion of the canvass of each county's certified copy of the auditor's abstract of votes and no later than the thirtieth day following a general election, the secretary of state shall certify to the governor, president of the senate, and speaker of the house of representatives the returns for all state ballot measures, federal and statewide offices, and those legislative and judicial offices whose jurisdiction encompasses more than one county. In the event the secretary of state is unable to certify all or part of a general election by the thirtieth day following that election because he or she has not received a certified copy of a county canvass report from one or more counties, he or she shall certify the state ballot measures and candidates for which completed abstracts have been received. The secretary of state shall also set forth, by letter to the governor, president of the senate, and speaker of the house of representatives those reasons which render him or her unable to certify the entire election. The certification of the remainder of the election shall take place when all outstanding county canvass reports have been received.


 

 

434-262-132
Election results for multicounty candidate races.

  In a candidate race in a multicounty jurisdiction, with the exception of certificates of election issued in accordance with RCW 29A.52.360 and 29A.52.370, the filing officer must collect and combine the certified results from the county canvassing boards in order to issue a certificate of election.


 

 

434-262-133
Election results for multicounty local ballot measures.

  In a local ballot measure election for a multicounty jurisdiction, the county auditor from the county with the greatest number of registered voters in the jurisdiction must combine the final results for that ballot measure from all relevant counties.


 

 

434-262-135
Thirty day reconciliation report.

  Within thirty days of certification, the county auditor must prepare and make publicly available at the auditor's office or on the auditor's web site a final election reconciliation report that is substantially similar to the following:



 
  



 

 

434-262-160
Write-in-voting — Voter intent.

  (1) In all cases of write-in votes the canvassing board shall exercise all reasonable efforts to determine the voter's intent. Write-in votes in the general election are not to be counted for any person who filed for the same office as either a regular or write-in candidate at the preceding primary and failed to qualify for the general election. If a write-in declaration of candidacy has been filed, the voter need only write in that candidate's name in order for the vote to be counted; the candidate's party preference does not impact whether the write-in vote shall be counted. If no declaration of write-in candidacy has been filed, the voter must write in the name of the candidate and, if the office or position number cannot be determined by the location of the write-in on the ballot, the office and position number, in order for the write-in vote to be counted.

     (2)(a) If a write-in candidate for partisan office does not file a write-in declaration of candidacy but does qualify for the general election ballot, the candidate has not stated a preference for a political party and therefore shall have "(states no party preference)" printed on the general election ballot.

     (b) If a write-in candidate for partisan office files a write-in declaration of candidacy and qualifies for the general election ballot, the party preference stated on the write-in declaration of candidacy, if any, shall be printed on the general election ballot.