Report 2017-107 All Recommendation Responses

Report 2017-107: Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters: Insufficient Policies and Procedures Have Led to Errors That May Have Reduced Voters' Confidence in the Registrar's Office (Release Date: October 2017)

Recommendation #1 To: Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters

To ensure the accuracy of voting district boundaries and to allow Santa Clara to make changes to existing boundaries as necessary, Santa Clara should establish a procedure requiring Mapping staff to ask each voting district either to certify that its boundaries are accurate and unchanged or to provide an updated map of its boundaries at least 125 days before each general district election.

Recommendation #2 To: Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters

Santa Clara should immediately coordinate with Information Services to access the most current maps from other county departments, such as the Santa Clara Assessor, to verify the accuracy of the district maps.

Recommendation #3 To: Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters

To reduce errors and potentially its workload, Santa Clara should research by January 2018 its opportunities to integrate mapping software with its election management software, and Santa Clara should implement this integration of mapping software technology by June 2018.

Recommendation #4 To: Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters

Santa Clara should promptly seek compensation from its vendors for all costs associated with rectifying vendor errors that occur in the future.

Recommendation #5 To: Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters

To make certain that its staff learn of election-related errors and identify trends in error types, and to allow Santa Clara to identify necessary modifications to processes that will reduce or eliminate such errors, Santa Clara should immediately formalize a policy requiring the continued use of a spreadsheet similar to the one it created to track election-related errors.

Recommendation #6 To: Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters

To ensure accuracy and consistency in the creation, review, and distribution of election-related materials, Santa Clara should review and document in detail all policies and procedures by October 2018, prioritizing its documentation for the divisions that are responsible for the most frequent and egregious election-related errors. Specifically, Santa Clara should review and formalize Mapping policies and procedures by January 2018, to allow time for implementation before the June primary election process. By October 2018, Santa Clara should review and formalize policies and procedures for the remaining divisions--including Ballot Layout, Candidate Services, and Vote by Mail--to provide adequate time for implementation before the November general election process.

Recommendation #7 To: Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters

To reduce the risk of staff errors, inconsistencies in procedures, and the loss of institutional knowledge in the creation, review, and distribution of election-related materials, Santa Clara should develop and implement training for its staff that includes instructions on its comprehensive policies and procedures. The development of this training should take place concurrently with Santa Clara's detailed documentation of its policies and procedures, and Santa Clara should require relevant staff to attend this training before each major election.

Recommendation #8 To: Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters

To ensure the accuracy of election-related materials, Santa Clara should immediately implement a procedure for candidates, voting districts, or others who submit documents to have them verify the accuracy of the electronic versions of those documents once Santa Clara has formatted them.

Recommendation #9 To: Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters

To ensure consistency in responding to election-related errors, Santa Clara should immediately implement a contingency plan or decision matrix that includes specific guidelines for the actions it will take based on the number of voters affected and the significance of the error. In instances in which it chooses to deviate from this plan, Santa Clara should document its reasons for deciding to do so.

Recommendation #10 To: Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters

To maintain the public's confidence in it and its functions, Santa Clara should immediately include in its postelection reports descriptions of any election-related errors, accounts of why the errors occurred, and explanations of how it plans to prevent similar errors from occurring in the future.

Recommendation #11 To: Secretary of State, Office of the

The Secretary of State should adopt regulations establishing clear criteria for mistakes in election-related materials that constitute reportable errors and require counties to report these errors to it after each election.

Recommendation #12 To: Secretary of State, Office of the

Beginning in December 2018, the Secretary of State should implement annual risk-based reviews of a selection of county election officials' offices to ensure their compliance with state election laws and regulations.

Recommendation #13 To: Secretary of State, Office of the

To inform and enhance the guidance it provides to county election officials, the Secretary of State should analyze error reports and its risk-based review results to focus its guidance on topics most relevant to improving elections throughout the State.

All Recommendations in 2017-107

Agency responses received are posted verbatim.


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