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Glossary

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – mandates that all facilities must be equally accessible to persons with disabilities.

Assistance – a voter who is physically unable to mark the ballot or unable to read the ballot is eligible to receive assistance.

Ballot Box No. 1 – for collecting voted ballots at the precinct on Election Day; it is rotated with Ballot Box No. 2.

Ballot Box No. 2 – for collecting voted ballots at the precinct on Election Day; it is rotated with Ballot Box No. 1.

Ballot Box No. 3 – for holding voted but uncounted ballots emptied from Ballot Boxes No. 1 & 2 through out Election Day.

Ballot Box No. 4 – is used for delivering defectively printed, spoiled, or unused ballots, and, in paper ballot elections, the ballots sealed in the Provisional Voter Affidavit Envelope.

Certificate of Appointment – is a written document poll watchers present to the presiding election judge to gain admission to the polling place. The certificate must include the following:
• Name, residence address, and voter registration number of the poll watcher;
• The election and the number of the precinct where the poll watcher is to serve;
• The signature of the person(s) making the appointment;
• The signature of the poll watcher;
• An indication of the capacity in which the appointing authority is acting;
• In an election on a measure, an identification of the measure (if more than one is to be voted on) and a statement of which side the appointee represents; and
• An affidavit executed by the poll watcher that the poll watcher will not have possession of any mechanical or electronic means of recording images or sound while serving as a watcher or that the appointee will disable or deactivate the device.

Certificate of Voter Registration – is issued by the county voter registrar to a voter after approval of the voter’s registration application. It contains the voter’s county election precinct number and registration (or VUID) number It contains the voter’s county election precinct number and registration (or VUID) number. The initial certificate takes effect on the effective date of the registration and expires the following January 1 of an even-numbered year. In December of each odd-numbered year, a renewal certificate is issued to each voter in the county whose registration is effective on the preceding November 14 and whose name does not appear on the suspense list. The Certificate of Voter Registration is presented by individuals at the polling place as part of the qualifying process. The Election Clerk checks the information on the certificate against the List of Registered Voters. Discrepancies must be resolved before the person is qualified to vote. Alternative forms of identification are acceptable (see “Identification (ID)”).

Clerk – also called Election Clerk, is appointed by the presiding election judge of the polling place to work at the election polls on Election Day. These are the individuals who qualify and process the voters at the polling place on Election Day. To be eligible to serve as a clerk of an election precinct, a person must be a qualified voter.

Combination Form – a form that combines the poll list, signature roster and affidavits. This form is used in connection with the acceptance of voters at Election Day polling places and at early voting locations. This form is also used for a voter without a certificate who is on the list or a voter with an incorrect certificate who is not on the list.

County Election Precinct – the basic unit of county elections; a geographical division of the county you live in that determines where you vote and what jurisdictions you live in. Each county election precinct (unless combined or consolidated) contains a polling place.

Direct Recording Electronic Voting System (DRE) – The voter votes directly on the machine without a physical ballot.

Distance Marker – Signs placed 100 feet from each entrance to the polling place. There is no electioneering or loitering within these boundaries.

Early Voting Clerk – person specified by law or appointed by the governing body who conducts early voting in each election. Deputy early voting clerks may be appointed as provided by law. A voter who wishes to cancel his/her early vote must see this person or one of the person’s deputies.

Early Voting Roster – indicates those voters who voted early by personal appearance and those who voted early by mail. On Election Day, clerks indicate on the List of Registered Voters by their respective names those persons who voted early by indicating “Voted Early” (you could use a stamp for this) (if this has not already been done).

“Early” or “Voted” notation on the Election Day List of Registered Voters – Indicates that the voter voted early, either by mail, or in person during the early voting period.

Election Judge – also called a presiding election judge; a presiding judge and an alternate presiding judge shall be appointed for each election precinct in which an election is held. The alternate presiding judge shall serve as presiding judge for an election if the regularly appointed presiding judge cannot serve. The presiding judge and alternate judge must be affiliated or aligned with different political parties (see Section 32.002 of the Texas Election Code for further explanation). The election judge is responsible for administering the election at a particular polling place. To be eligible to be a judge of an election precinct, a person must be a qualified voter of the election precinct; however, if an eligible qualified voter of the precinct who is willing to accept the appointment of presiding judge or alternate judge cannot be found, it is sufficient if the presiding judge or alternate judge is a qualified voter of the county.

Election Kit – container of election forms, name tags, stamps, envelopes, seals, locks, ballots, official list of registered voters, and signage poll workers will use at the polling place. The kit may include: “Provisional” and “Voted” stamps & ink pad; Affidavit of Provisional Voter (envelope); Certificates of Party Affiliation (primary election); Combination Form; Corrections RegistrationList; Envelope No. 5 (primary election); Lists of: Voters with ID Notation, Provisional Voters, Registered Voters; Notice to Provisional Voter; Official Ballots; Party Affiliation stamp (primary election); Poll List; Provisional Ballots; Register of Spoiled Ballots; Registration Omissions List; Request to Cancel Application for a ballot by mail; Signature Roster; Supplemental Registration List; Voter w/incorrect certif. who is on list; Voter w/o certificate who is on list; Secrecy Envelopes (white, for provisional ballots); Envelopes No. 1- 4; Distance Marker; Voter Information (poster); Notice of Voter Complaint Information (poster); Oath of Assistance; Name Tags; Notice of Total Number of Voters Who Have Voted; Envelope for Requests and Canceled Ballots; Envelope for Spoiled Ballots; Tally List (if manual counting will be done); Statement of Compensation and Oaths; Register of Official Ballots; Ballot and Seal Certificate; Return Sheet (if manual counting will be done); Instructions for Casting An Optical Scan Ballot (if optical scan ballots are used); Wire Seals; Statement of Residence.

Election Officials Oath – administered by the Election Judge to all election workers on Election Day, usually before the polls open. Shift workers take the oath when they arrive at the polls — “I swear (or affirm) that I will not in any manner request or seek to persuade or induce any voter to vote for or against any candidate or measure to be voted on, and that I will faithfully perform my duty as an officer of the election and guard the purity of the election.”

Electioneering – the act of promoting a particular candidate or issue in order to influence voters.

Elections Administrator – referred to as a county elections administrator; the Commissioners Court by written order may create the position of county elections administrator for a county. The duties of the county elections administrator include duties and functions of the voter registrar and duties and functions of the county clerk relating to elections.

Envelope Nos. 1 to 4 – used to distribute election records from the election precinct polling place after the polls close on Election Day. Contents of each envelope and who receives it varies (for details see Sections 66.022-66.0241 of the Texas Election Code.

Federal Election – an election in which an officer of the federal government is on the ballot. This includes the general election for state and county officers, party primary elections, and any special election to fill a vacancy in the U.S. House of Representatives or U.S. Senate.

General Election – an election, other than a primary election or special election, that regularly recurs at fixed dates.

General Election for State and County Officers – the election at which officers of the federal, state, and county governments are regularly elected; held every November in even-numbered years.

Gubernatorial General Election – the general election is held every four years to elect a governor for a full term.

Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) – a federal law signed into law in 2002 that required a number of changes in the way elections are conducted when a federal office is on the ballot. Among other things: It required and provided funding for the placement of new voting systems in each polling place that are accessible to voters with a disability. It created a new provisional ballot procedure for voters whose eligibility to vote is in question.

Identification (ID) – A person may present any of these 8 acceptable forms of ID instead of a Certificate of Voter Registration as part of the qualifying process: 1. a driver’s license or personal identification card issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety or similar documents from other states; 2. a form of identification containing a photograph that establishes a person’s identity (such as an employee identification card); 3. a birth certificate or other document confirming birth that is admissible in a court of law and establishes a person’s identity; 4. United States citizenship papers; 5. a United States passport; 6. official mail addressed to the person by name from a governmental agency; 7. a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter; or 8. any other form of identification prescribed by the Secretary of State’s office.

List of Provisional Voters for Early Voting – the Early Voting Clerk or the deputy of the Early Voting Clerk must enter the name of a voter who votes provisionally during early voting on this form. The List of Provisional Voters for Early Voting accompanies the Provisional Ballot Affidavit Envelopes from early voting when they are submitted to the voter registrar, and the voter registrar signs the List to verify receipt of the Provisional Ballot Affidavit Envelopes.

List of Provisional Voters on Election Day – the Election Judge or Election Clerk must enter the name of a voter who votes provisionally on Election Day in the election precinct on this form. The List of Provisional Voters accompanies the Provisional Ballot Affidavit Envelopes when the Election Judge delivers, as applicable, Ballot Boxes 1-4, the election records (Envelopes 1-4), and voting equipment and/or electronic media from such equipment on election night from the election precinct to the General Custodian of Election Records. The List of Provisional Voters is placed in Envelope No. 2, which goes to the General Custodian of Election Records on election night. The General Custodian removes the List and delivers the List along with the Provisional Ballot Affidavit Envelopes to the voter registrar.

List of Registered Voters – an alphabetical list of all persons registered to vote in a county election precinct. The Election Clerk matches the information on the List to a person’s Certificate of Voter Registration and resolves any discrepancies to qualify a person to vote on Election Day.

National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) – federal law that requires voter registration at DPS, agencies providing public assistance, and agencies offering services to the disabled. NVRA also requires the Secretary of State to provide regular updates to the FEC detailing the sources of voter registration.

Notice to Provisional Voter – the Election Judge gives this form to voters casting a provisional ballot. The form explains that the voter will receive notice in the mail informing the voter about whether the provisional ballot was counted.

Oath of Assistance – is administered by the Election Judge and taken by people who assist voters, at the voter’s request, who need help reading or marking the ballot. Election workers will usually take the oath before the polls open, when they take the Election Officials’ Oath, and it will suffice for the entire Election Day. An individual selected by the voter to provide assistance will need to take the oath each time he or she assists a voter. “I swear or affirm that I will not suggest, by word, sign or gesture, how the voter should vote; I will confine my assistance to answering the voter’s questions, to stating the propositions on the ballot, and to naming candidates and, if listed, their political parties; and I will prepare the voter’s ballot as the voter directs.”

Oath of Interpreter – is administered by the Election Judge to persons who translate spoken and written English instructions, and the ballot, to a voter who does not speak or read English, into the language the voter speaks. The interpreter may be an election officer or someone designated by the voter. See Chapter 3, Section D of Qualifying Voters on Election Day, Handbook for Election Judges and Clerks, for more information about the interpreter’s qualifications and actions. “I swear or affirm that, to the best of my ability, I will correctly interpret and translate each question, answer, or statement addressed either to the voter by any election officer or to an election officer by the voter.”

Official Ballot – is a paper ballot that has been signed by the Election Judge at the election precinct, or whose name is stamped on the back of the ballot. In precincts using DRE machines, official ballots are electronic and stored in the voting equipment.

Omissions List – also called Registration Omissions List, may be provided by the authority holding the election to the precinct Election Judge who must make changes on the List of Registered Voters so it conforms to the Omissions List. It will include name changes, address changes, etc.

Optical Scan – a voting system under which paper ballots are counted by an infrared or light sensitive reader. The device may be located either at the polling place or a central counting station.

Paper Ballot – ballots counted by hand by election officials at the polling place.

Peace Officer – a person designated by the authority conducting the election to enforce no loitering and no electioneering within the boundaries of the Distance Markers. A person is eligible for appointment as a special peace officer for the polling place only if the person is licensed as a peace officer by the Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education.

Political Subdivision – a county, city, school district or any other governmental entity embracing a geographic area with a defined boundary, that exists for the purpose of discharging functions of government, and possesses authority for subordinate self-government through officers selected by it.

Poll Watcher – a person appointed by an eligible person or entity that may be present in the early voting location, election day polling place, or central counting station to observe all conduct of election workers. Up to 2 poll watchers per election day polling place can be appointed by a candidate on the ballot, a campaign treasurer of a specific-purpose political action committee in an election on a measure, or a political party in the November general election. (There are different limits for early voting and for central counting station.) See Chapter 1, Section B of Qualifying Voters on Election Day, Handbook for Election Judges and Clerks for details about qualifications and allowable actions at the polling place.

Poll Workers – also called Election Judge or Clerks; the election workers in the polling place responsible for administering the election.

Polling Place – site where voting takes place in an election precinct.

Provisional Ballot Affidavit Envelope – the voter puts his/her sealed secrecy envelope containing his/her voted provisional ballot in this envelope and seals it. It is transmitted with the election records to the authority conducting the election where it will be examined and, possibly, counted if the qualifying issue can be resolved.

Provisional Voting – HAVA created a new voting process called “provisional voting” which is designed to allow a voter whose name does not appear on the List of Registered Voters due to an administrative error to vote. It involves an affidavit the voter must complete stating the reasons he or she is qualified to vote, and it is used if the voter cannot be qualified by the methods described above. The provisional ballots are kept separately from the regular ballots, and the voter’s records will be reviewed later by the provisional voting ballot board (the early voting ballot board) after the voter registrar has researched the voter’s registration records. The provisional ballot is counted only if the voter is determined to be a registered voter. Provisional voters will receive a notice in the mail by the 10th day after the local canvass advising them if their provisional ballots were counted, and if they were not counted, the reason why. See Chapter 2, in Qualifying Voters on Election Day, Handbook for Election Judges and Clerks for more information about provisional voters.

Qualifying Table – the first table that the voter approaches in the polling place. The election officials located at this table should have necessary supplies, such as: pens, Poll List, Signature Roster (or Combination Form), List of Registered Voters; Voted stamp, etc.

Register of Spoiled Ballots – list of ballot numbers that are misprinted, defective, or spoiled by voters on Election Day at the election precinct polling place. It is transmitted with the other election records at the end of Election Day.

Registered Voter – means a person registered to vote in this state whose registration is effective.

“S” notation on List of Registered Voters – Stands for “Suspense List.” The voter has probably moved and must complete a statement of residence to qualify to vote.

Sample Ballot – a poster or flyer with all the offices and candidates presented just as they are on the official ballot. Copies are posted around the polling place so voters waiting to vote can see them. A voter may take a copy of a sample ballot, as well as other written materials to assist him or her, into the voting station. The voter must take such materials out of the voting station. If the voter does not, an election officer must remove from the sight of other voters any such written materials found in the voting station.

Secrecy Envelope – the voter places his/her voted provisional ballot in this envelope and seals it and places it in the Provisional Ballot Affidavit Envelope and seals that envelope.

Secretary of State (SOS) – the Secretary of State is the chief election officer of the State of Texas. The SOS shall establish in the SOS’s office an Elections Division with an adequate staff to enable the SOS to perform the SOS’s duties as chief election officer.

State Election Inspector – persons appointed by the Secretary of State to visit election precinct polling places on Election Day to observe activities performed by Election Judge and Clerks. They may also visit county election offices, warehouses, etc. Also called State Inspector. See Qualifying Voters on Election Day, Handbook for Election Judges and Clerks, Chapter 1, Section C for more information.

Statement of Residence – a form filled out by an individual on Election Day at the direction of the Election Clerk to correct the individual’s address on the List of Registered Voters in order to qualify to vote.

U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) – federal agency charged with carrying out HAVA mandates for federal elections. For more information visit: www.eac.gov.

U.S. Federal Election Commission (FEC) – existent federal agency to administer and enforce the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). For more information see www.fec.gov.

Voting Station – means the voting booth or other place where voters mark their ballots or otherwise indicate their votes at an early voting location or election day polling place. The voting station must offer privacy to the voter while marking his or her ballot.

“Early” or “Voted” notation on the Election Day List of Registered Voters – Indicates that the voter voted early, either by mail, or in person during the early voting period.