Clearing the Polling Place


At the time appointed for closing the poll, the poll workers should begin to clear the polling place of voters. Qualified voters who are waiting in the room (or in a line which extends outside the room) will be permitted to vote. Voters are not allowed to leave the line and return after the polls are closed. As soon as the last ballot has been given out, the poll list clerk must record the number of that ballot on a certificate.


Voting Officials May Not Adjourn


At the end of the voting day no recess or adjournment is permitted. The inspectors and clerks proceed immediately to count the votes and continue without interruption until the certificates of results have

been signed.


Sealing Records


General Elections. Before the inspectors begin to count ballots, one of the poll lists is to be sealed in a special envelope included in the election supplies.


Primaries. Before the ballots are counted, each party’s poll list that was signed by the voters is to be sealed in an envelope designated to the appropriate political party chair, and the inspector is to sign across

every fold of the envelope. The list of registered voters is to be sealed and signed in the same fashion.


Counting the Votes


After closing the polls and sealing the required records as prescribed above, the officials are to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to lock the equipment against further voting and to obtain a printout of the votes on each office and ballot question. Only after this first printout of results is obtained shall the paper be torn from the machine so that all printing during the day from the initial test before the polls opened through the first complete printout of results will be on one continuous sheet or roll of paper.


All election officials should immediately sign the sheet. This printout, together with any necessary additions as outlined below, shall be the original certificate of result. Then six other printouts of the results shall be produced and torn out.


The next step is to complete the certificates of results adding any information that is not automatically printed. This information includes the name of the precinct, the date, the identifying number (serial number) of the tabulating equipment, the value on the public counter indicating the number of votes cast, the name of each candidate next to the total number of votes for that candidate and the number and short title of each proposition next to the number of votes for and against that proposition.


The preparation of these certificates may be facilitated by attaching each printout to a pre-printed form containing the names of candidates and the short titles of questions. However, the officials’ signatures, the name of the precinct, the date, the identifying number of the equipment, and the value of the public counter must be recorded on the printout sheet itself.


In general elections only, the equipment clerk shall remove any ballots containing write-in votes, and two clerks shall tally these ballots, one checking the work of the other. The total shall be recorded in the space provided on the certificate of results.


Then the ballot accounting certificate(s) shall be completed. Any discrepancies from the required totals on these forms shall be reported to the probate judge.


Certificates of Result


Primaries. The election officials are required to prepare separate certificates of results for each party engaged in the election. The primary election law provides for certificates of the results:


  1. One certificate of the results is posted at the polling place not later than two hours after the polls close.
  2. One certificate is to be posted at the courthouse within two hours of closing of the polls.
  3. One certificate of the results is placed in an envelope for transmission to the chairman of the county executive committee.
  4. Another certificate is returned in the records of election box.
  5. Still another certificate of results is sealed in the records of election container in an envelope addressed to the judge of probate.
  6. As in all other elections, the election officials at each polling place must make the additional copy of the certificate of results required to be delivered to the probate judge and preserved by him / her as a public record. The sealed copy is delivered to the probate judge for use in the event that the original becomes lost or illegible.
  7. A good practice is to give a copy to the news media. Placing large numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.) on envelopes and corresponding numerals on the certificate of results sheets can help ensure that each envelope contains the appropriate sheet and that each county election official receives the appropriate envelope. A simple instruction sheet can be included with the supplies to indicate, by number, which certificate of results is posted, left in the machine, returned to the probate judge, sent to the sheriff, sent to the county committee chairman, etc. Not only does this permit a quicker tabulation of the results but should also prevent confusion.


General Elections. Certificates of results must be filled out and signed by the election officers serving at each polling place.


1.   One certificate must be posted in front of the polling place immediately after the count is completed.

2.   One certificate is to be posted at the courthouse within two hours of closing of the polls.

3.   One certificate is placed in an envelope for transmission to the canvassing board.

4.   Another certificate is returned in the records of election box.

5.   Still another certificate of results is sealed in an envelope addressed to the judge of probate.

6.   As in all other elections, the election officials at each polling place must make the additional copy of the certificate of results required to be delivered to the probate judge and preserved by him / her as a public record. The sealed copy is delivered to the probate judge for use in the event that the original becomes lost or illegible.

7.   A good practice is to give a copy to the news media. In municipal elections, one certificate of results is attached to the outside of the ballot box and another, along with the poll list signed by the voters and the list of registered voters, is taken in a sealed envelope by the returning officer to the city clerk.


Posting of Precinct Results: General and Primary Elections


No later than two hours after the polls are closed, the precinct election results shall be posted by the inspectors for public inspection at a place in the county courthouse designated by the judge of probate.


Return of the Ballots and Other Election Supplies


All ballots are placed in a voted ballot container and sealed.


The following items are to be placed in a records of election container:


(a) one certificate of the results,

(b) spoiled ballot envelope,

(c) clerks poll list,

(d) all partial pads, and

(e) stubs of ballot pads.


After the voted ballot container has been sealed, it is given to the inspector who must deliver it together with the sealed envelopes to the sheriff. The sheriff must then deliver the envelopes to the committee chairman at the office of the probate judge no later than 10:00 a.m. on the Wednesday following the election. In municipal elections the returning officer takes the election materials and ballot box to the city clerk not later than 11:00 a.m. on the day after the polls close.


In practice, however, these deliveries are made during the election night after the work at the polls has been completed. In any event, the sheriff retains the voted ballots container, record of election container and provisional ballot box and the county chairman retains the envelope containing the poll list, unopened except in instances provided by law (such as election contests). After the prescribed time, the election records are destroyed by the county chairman.


Primaries. The inspector of the precinct is given the envelope containing the poll list signed by the voters, along with another containing a certificate of results. Municipal elections may also have a tally sheet. These envelopes are addressed to the chairman of the county committee of each party participating in the primary, and it is the responsibility of the inspector of the precinct to deliver these envelopes, the voted ballots container and the records of election container to the sheriff, the county returning officer.


General Elections. In general elections, a sealed envelope containing the clerk’s poll list is included among the materials taken to the sheriff by the returning officers. For cities using paper ballots, into the ballot box also go the sealed envelope containing the second poll list, the oaths of assisted voters, and the record of assisted voters. The inspectors take ballots, seal them securely, and label the bundle to identify the election and offices that were on the ballot.


Compliance with this provision means sealing the ballots in a box on which is printed the date and kind of election. Any provisional ballots are labeled as provisional, and sealed in a separate box. The ballot box is then sealed and labeled to show the nature of its contents. In practice, the box is securely fastened by locks and a label is affixed bearing a printed list of the contents of the box. The ballot boxes are then turned over to the returning officer of that district or precinct, who must then deliver them (along with the other poll list, certificates of results, and list of registered voters) to the sheriff within two hours of departing the precinct.