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A Good Idea - Fresno, CA.

If you've been around elections for 15 minutes, you know that our AccuVote-OS results all come in during the first 45 minutes, then we stand around waiting for the last 10% of the precincts, sometimes for hours.  Fresno has a method of avoiding this long wait.  They have developed a way to automatically capture the incoming precincts that send results via modem,and get that info to their drop off sites around the county.  The drop off supervisor's job is to make sure that the AccuVotes that aren't sent yet, do not get put into trucks, but instead are taken inside the drop off site and results sent from there.  Here is how they do it.
  1. Fresno has some simple software that parses the GEMS Server "log" file, looks for "finished" phrase and the first precinct number following that word in the log file.  From this the software knows which vote center has reported.  They capture the precincts from the log's finish statement and write the precinct numbers to an Access database.  These precincts have reported.
  2. A PC with some simple software reads the Access database, noting the precincts reporting.
  3. The PC then has an autodialer connected to a paging system and pages the dropoff site.
  4. The Supervisor at the dropoff site reads the precincts that have reported from their pager (up to 5 at a time) and checks off the precincts on his checklist.
  5. Any precinct that drops off an AccuVote NOT already checked off on their list, is immediately taken inside the dropoff center and transmitted. 
  6. Finally, if the precinct can't be transmitted from the drop off site, and needs to be recounted for some reason, there are driving teams spread around the county to bring in the ballots and AccuVote to be counted at the elections office.
Fresno indicates they will give us this software after this election.  Sounds interesting, and I'm sure we can improve on it.  Fresno has 350+ polling locations.
Steve Knecht
Global Election Systems
415-893-9941 office   415-893-9951 fax
415-225-6591 cell       800-508-5710 pager