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The 192nd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 105A: Electronic voting methods; proceedings at close of polls; counting of ballots; announcement of vote; transportation to tabulation center

Section 105A. At any precinct using an approved electronic voting method, the clerk shall, as soon as the polls are closed, record the total number of ballots received, the number registered on the ballot box, and the total number of spoiled ballots. The election officers shall then, publicly and in the presence of the other election officers, audibly and distinctly count and announce the number of names checked on each voting list used, and the clerk shall record the same. The ballot box shall be opened by the presiding officer, and the ballots taken therefrom and counted, and the whole number of ballots cast shall be publicly announced by him.

Notwithstanding other provisions of this section to the contrary, if the approved electronic voting system is equipped to count votes electronically while the polls are open, the election officers shall read the vote totals from the counting device after the polls close, by means of a printer mechanism or otherwise and any person who in any manner ascertains or discloses the count of such votes before the polls close shall be punished as provided in section sixty-eight.

The ballots removed from the box shall be inspected by teams of two election officers, detailed by the presiding officer to represent the two major political parties. Such inspection shall include the removal of each ballot from its enclosing envelope and an examination of said envelope for write–in or sticker votes. If any such are found, the ballot shall at once be examined, and any ballot which together with its envelope contains more votes for an office than the number to which the voter was entitled shall be hand–counted in the precinct or at the tabulation center.

The count of over-voted ballots shall be entered on sheets provided for the purpose, and the total transferred to the precinct total sheet and signed by the precinct warden and clerk.

The remaining election officers shall also count all unused ballots and the total number of unused ballots shall be publicly announced by the presiding officer, who shall cause this information, to be correctly recorded on blank forms provided therefor.

No public announcement of the vote cast on absentee ballots or upon over-voted ballots shall be made at the polling place.

Unless the polling places have been designated as tabulation centers under section thirty-three F, all remaining ballots, used and unused, together with the ballot envelopes or folders and the precinct total tally sheet, shall be enclosed in a container and locked. The presiding officer shall retain possession of the key. Said container shall forthwith be transmitted to the tabulating center designated under section thirty-three F, if located within said municipality, accompanied by the presiding officer, the precinct clerk, and a police officer, where all uncounted ballots shall be tabulated. If the tabulation center is located outside said municipality, the container from each precinct shall be brought by the presiding officer, precinct clerk, and a police officer to the city or town clerk's office where said container shall be transported to the tabulation center only after all of the containers have arrived at said clerk's office. Upon arrival at the city or town clerk's office each presiding officer shall transfer possession of the key to his container to said clerk. Transportation of the containers to a tabulation center outside said municipality shall be in vehicles designated by said clerk and owned by the municipality conducting the election. The containers shall be loaded for transportation to said tabulation center in full view of the public. The unloading of the containers at said tabulation center shall be done in the presence of the election officers appointed under section thirty-three H. The vehicle transporting said containers outside said municipality shall be accompanied by the city or town clerk or his designee and a police escort at all times during transportation to the tabulation center and said containers shall not be opened at any time during their transportation from the precincts to the city or town clerk's office and then to the tabulation center.

The counted ballots, both absentee and other, shall be sealed in separate envelopes and shall be transmitted, in accordance with the provisions of section one hundred and seven, to the office of the city or town clerk forthwith. The voting lists shall also be sealed in separate envelopes and transmitted to the office of the city or town clerk.

The voting lists and all ballots removed from the ballot box shall be kept in open view of the voters present until enclosed and sealed up, or until locked in containers for transport to the tabulation center, and there shall be no adjournment or postponement of the proceedings at the polling place until all such proceedings have been completed and the ballots or ballot cards transmitted to the tabulation center.

Sealed and locked ballot or card carrying cases shall be under the constant control and supervision of the precinct warden and clerk and accompanied by police guard during the transportation of said ballot or card carrying cases to the tabulation center, within or outside the municipality.