Election Day


Did you vote today?

Are you going to observe the tallying tonight?

How did the voting machines work?


Click here to discuss the election and/or file reports:


Click here for Nov. 8 election trouble reports:


Observations: After the polls close, there are several things we'd you to observe, if you can.


1) Poll closing activities - simply write down the process (and any deviations from it)


2) CENTRAL TABULATOR - each jurisdiction has one location where they add up all the votes from various polling places. They start tallying up just as the polls close. Under the law, observers are allowed in almost all jurisdictions.


Become a "human audit log" -- write down the names, times, machine numbers, precinct locations etc for each anomaly.


3) Depot locations: Large jurisdictions often bring materials from polling places to intermediary locations for transmittal to headquarters. Again, observation is permitted in these depots in almost all jurisdictions, but very little observation has been done.


4) Any and all handling of memory cards (credit-card sized electronic ballot boxes).  Observe and ask questions about chain of custody.


5) Behavior of political party observers: Are they alert? Are they watching for the right things? Do they understand points of vulnerability?


Try to avoid the very strong temptation to become chatty with other observers or public officials. Watch for and record small anomalies. Almost all of the events will be humdrum and boring, but tiny observations can be significant, so avoid the temptation to leave early after a general glance at things. You will find elections activities to be well organized, and the people working there will usually be quite nice. Record the procedures and the explanations, but do not take them at face value. Many elections workers are surprisingly unsophisticated about attack trees or failure points.




1. Notebook and writing implement

2. Binoculars (so you can read computer screens)

3. Video camera

4. Cell phone


Note on trouble reports: Most problems are not apparent during the election, but appear on election night during tallying and during the week following the election, when canvassing (auditing) is performed.





Black Box Voting is a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501c(3) consumer protection group for elections.  We are funded solely by citizen donations.

To donate, click here: