Early voting question

Normally I vote on election day at my polling place on an old mechanical voting machine where I think the choices are tailored to my election district. Today I voted early for the first time. The polling place was open to all election districts in my county and they used paper ballots that contained races outside my election district. I did read the instructions and they didn’t mention anything about voting in races outside of your district. Since we are in the middle of a pandemic and I wanted to get out of the buidling as soon as possible, I voted in all races instead of asking questions or trying to figure out which races I was supposed to vote in. Will my vote for races outside of my district be counted?

I assume that your requested mail-in ballot came with your district number handwritten on it (or possibly printed, or a UPC code) by an official. They’ll first sort your ballot into the right district pile. For very local races or referenda specific to a district (actually, for us, it would be specific to our WARD - basically just races for city council member, aka alderperson - which is smaller than a voting place district, and is also premarked on our mail-in ballot), your vote will count only for your choices in YOUR district (or ward); your markings on the ballot for other races or referenda will be ignored. State laws vary a bit on this, but I’m sure the whole ballot won’t be rejected as “spoiled” just because of this.

Apparently they are pretty desperate for poll workers, so I talked to my supervisor, and he said if he can’t find a sub, he’ll redistribute my kids on election day, so I may be working. Volunteered last week; have not heard back.

Nice — thanks for volunteering! I had my second training yesterday — only a few small differences in procedure from our summer primary, but the stakes are much higher — and there will be more votes cast, especially write-in ballots (that, in our state, we’re not allowed to process until Nov 3).

But… I think you meant to post in that other thread.

And how will your kids be redistributed? Age, gender, or education level? (Don’t forget that last one, this time!) Or urban-rural? Race?


(Sorry, you can see where my head is lately — I know, I’m hardly alone —)

I could have sworn I posted that in the other thread.

Oh well.

The thing I teach on Tuesdays in the Hebrew labs. They mix levels. All the kids are within 2.5 years of bar or bat mitzvah. The groups are really small-- no more than 6 kids, and my biggest group is five. On Tuesday, I have two groups of 4, one at 4pm, and one at 5pm. There are two other groups meeting at the same time, one with four kids, and one with three kids (one of the kids in this group has special needs, although, not to the point of being extraordinary, just enough to need the group to be smaller). They’ll put two of my kids with one teacher, and two with the other, and probably do a little more with some of the online stuff, like Gimkit, Kahoot, or Prayertech.

Okay! I was trying to make a lame joke about “redistribution” in the context of Nate Silver-style poll statistical analysis.

I appreciate the glimpse into your challenges. I’m a teacher, too. Like for you (and so many others), these past weeks have been about “redistributing” our time and energy among our students, or own families, the elections, and. … let’s not forget … ourselves. Not in the selfish, empathy-free Trumpisn sense, but just the pragmatic fact that, if we don’t get enough sleep (etc.), everything else falls apart.

I saw what you were doing. I chose to go with the straight-up answer anyway. :wink:

I thought as much! :slight_smile:

One of the wonders in this county is that all of the voting locations open now and on election day have a non-internet connection back to the Registrar’s Db so you can go to any location, they figure out who you are, and the Ballot on Demand printer spits out one tailored for your address. It’s a miracle, I tell ya.

I’ve been on the Permanent Early Voter List for years so I got mine at home, filled it out at my leisure, and dropped it off at city hall in the return envelope.

This was not a mail-in ballot. They gave me a generic paper ballot with no handwriting on it. I didn’t look closely enough to see if there were special codes printed on it but I kind of doubt there were.

I guess you are joking. In my case, they handed me a generic paper ballot that was not tailored to my address.

Wow. Did they expect YOU to fill in the district (or ward), perhaps based on a map made available to you?

More likely, you gave them enough info so that your ballot number can be linked to the correct district (or ward), while maintaining the secrecy of your vote (i.e., no link to your name or address at the moment of tabulating votes, whether it’s done automatically or by hand).

I am not. That’s why they are termed voting locations, not polls – you can go to any one you like on election day, or even before if you’re not on the PEVL like I am. On election day there will be fewer of them than the previous polling places, but they are bigger – more poll workers and more voting booths. One in the news showed the booths on a six-foot grid covering an entire basketball court.

Also on election day, the Registrar’s website will have the estimated time waiting in line so you can pick which one you want to go to.

There was no discussion of my district and no place for me to write that on the ballot. I showed them my voter registration card before they handed me the ballot so the ballot could have been somehow coded with my district. Now that I think of it, they asked for my signature on a touch screen which also displayed my name so perhaps the set up was more sophisticated than I realized.

Once they handed me the ballot, they told me to go the privacy booth where I filled in the dots (like an SAT test). When I did this, I filled in an entire row not paying attention to the district/assembly column information. When I brought it back, the poll worker told me to put the ballot in the scanner and I was done.

Do you mind saying which state? That sounds…like it will be a challenge for someone at some point.

Whatever answer may exist to the OP’s question, it will be completely local to whatever election authority was/is running that election. So most probably his county, but perhaps his state.

The USA has ~3200 counties and ~60 states / state-sorta-equivalents, so there’s that many different answers for us to guess at.

The OP might try looking on the relevant website to see whether they have an FAQ that covers this. Or call them Monday and ask.

Nassau County, New York.

These instructions from my county are consistent with what I experienced. There is no mention of districts at all. It is interesting that the instructions say the scanner checks that the ballot was filled in correctly. It did display a message like “Your vote has been counted!” after scanning my ballot.


According to this article:

early voting ballots should have been printed from a “ballot-on-demand” printer that corresponded to your location - you shouldn’t have had the opportunity to vote for anything outside of your district.
And according to this FAQ:
question 19, you should have been alerted to any issues with your vote when it was being scanned. (That’s the whole point of the scanner).

So if you were just handed one of a stack of ballots with everything and the kitchen sink on it, then someone is doing something incorrectly - you may want to call someone (the paper or the election board, depending) and let them know so that there’s an opportunity for things to be fixed in the next week.

Thanks for finding this info! Now I wish I took a picture of the ballot. I may try to call them tomorrow if time permits. Work is so hectic lately, I don’t have time to stay on the phone for hours dealing with a bureaucracy.