When an audit is completed and a report is issued, auditees must provide the State Auditor with information regarding their progress in implementing recommendations from our reports at three intervals from the release of the report: 60 days, six months, and one year. Additionally, Senate Bill 1452 (Chapter 452, Statutes of 2006), requires auditees who have not implemented recommendations after one year, to report to us and to the Legislature why they have not implemented them or to state when they intend to implement them. Below, is a listing of each recommendation the State Auditor made in the report referenced and a link to the most recent response from the auditee addressing their progress in implementing the recommendation and the State Auditor's assessment of auditee's response based on our review of the supporting documentation.
|Recommendations 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.
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.
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.
Santa Clara should promptly seek compensation from its vendors for all costs associated with rectifying vendor errors that occur in the future.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Recommendations 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.
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.
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.