Make sure every vote is counted. Take photos of poll tapes at voting centers after the polls have closed.

6 mins read

Smartphone cameras are weapons against voter suppression.

Take photos of poll tapes at voting centers after the polls have closed to help preserve election integrity.

Taking photos of poll tapes quickly at hundreds of polling places and organizing them is a huge task. How can photos be taken, collected, transcribed, totals prepared and mapped quickly? This blog describes an innovative project by non-profit, non-partisan groups including ScrutineersDemocracy Counts and others to do this for the Georgia Senate run-off elections. You’ll learn about crowdsourcing, free apps for volunteers to collect and upload poll tape photos and how photos from different groups are consolidated into an easy-to-use dashboard.

State of Georgia regulations related to posting poll tape photos publicly
Groups working for fair and accurate elections
Apps available to take and upload poll tape images
Guidelines and online training on how to take poll tape images legally and properly
Consolidating poll tape images collected by different groups into single searchable map by precinct

But first a timely Georgia Voting Options guide from Reclaim Our Vote

Voting options guide for Georgia Voters from Reclaim Our Vote.

Background on taking poll tape photos

Volunteer taken poll tape photos help protect vote count integrity.

State of Georgia Rules & Regulations

Rules & Regulations of State of Georgia related to poll tapes. Please refer to the official website for specifics. – “One of the three tapes of the tabulated results printed from the ballot scanner shall be affixed to the door of the polling place for the information of the public along with a copy of the provisional ballot recap form for the polling place.”

Georgia statute on results of ballot scanner to be posted on the door of the polling place.


Scrutineers is a non-profit, non-partisan group of volunteers, activists, and seasoned election experts that “works to protect elections from interference, discrimination, and errors”. Emily Levy, the founder and director is a long-time election protection leader who has worked with such groups as AUDIT Elections USA, Election Protection Strike Force, and the Election Transparency Coalition. 

Scrutineers has recruited volunteers across Georgia to take photo and videos of poll tapes on election night. Cheryle Moses, their Georgia Field Director for the runoffs, is coordinating volunteer assignments to cover key sites. Scrutineers is looking for more volunteers and support to cover more precincts. Learn more about how to volunteer here and support Scrutineers here.

Scrutineers is a non-profit, non-partisan group of volunteers, activists, and seasoned election that "works to protect elections from interference, discrimination, and errors".

Scrutineers is using crowdsourcing by which a big task is spread across many workers to get done quickly. Volunteers are trained to take poll tape photos with Actual Vote, a free app from Democracy Counts and then assigned to polling locations. Scrutineers is collaborating with other groups collecting poll tape photos. Each group manages it own photos but adds link to the photos they have collected into central database. This makes it easy for voting rights groups to quickly find the photos and totals for a precinct. Scrutineers aims to partner with more groups so more precincts can be photographed and avoid duplicating effort by having many photos from one precinct and none from others. Learn more about collaborating with Scrutineers here.

Making data usable… fast

Volunteers upload poll tape photos with the Actual Vote app along with the date, time and location of where the photos were taken. Other volunteers tabulate the counts from the photos and add a record to a database for each photo. This information is then mapped in a realtime, interactive map DemLabs designed pro bono using ArcGIS with county and precinct boundaries from Living Atlas. New photos appear immediately on the map which can be searched by zooming into it or by county name. Each location on the map includes a link to the photo(s) for that precinct. This approach allows many voting right groups to collect photos independently – but also have them shown on a collective map. It really does take a village!

Poll tape photos are collected, tabulated and displayed on a public map.


Guidelines for taking poll tape photos properly from the Digital Media Law Project
Actual Vote – a free application from Democracy Counts to take poll tape photos and videos. Download the free iPhone or Android app. Watch their video.
Tips for photographers and 10 min course on the right way to take poll tape photos by Protect our Votes.
Indivisible Ventura. More about the importance of poll tapes and tips for volunteers.
Count The Vote – A non-partisan project to monitor, protect & verify election results with crowdsourcing to help make sure that every vote gets counted accurately. [Support]
Coalitions For Good Governance – volunteer-run, nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization focuses on election transparency and verifiability. [Support]
The Root – ‘Thousands of Black Votes in Georgia Disappeared and No One Can Explain It’

Takeaway: Every vote is the voice of an American citizen. Make sure each is heard and votes counted accurately by supporting Scrutineers in its effort to collect poll tape photos.


Image credit: Ketut Subiyanto on PexelsThe Noun Project
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DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks. If you appreciate our content, please consider a small monthly donation.

Democracy Labs is a hub for ongoing technology and creative innovation that serves progressive campaigns and organizations at the national, state, and local levels.

Our focus is on long term, sustainable and affordable solutions. An approach that is longer than an election cycle, and isn’t purely dependant on volunteers, can enable more qualified candidates to run for office and for more issue groups to bring about positive social change.

Democracy Labs is a project of the Tides Advocacy Fund.

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