County auditor's plan to spend Zuckerberg grant


Memo to: Center for Technology and Civic Life

From: Scott County Auditor & Commissioner of Elections

Date: September 17, 2020


Scott County faces significant challenges in executing the November 3, 2020 general election.

Specifically, Scott County faced issues recruiting poll workers and the lack of facilities that wanted us in their locations along with the processes of deep cleaning if they would allow us in. Therefore, in this General Election I am focusing on early voting via mail and early voting locations.

For the general election, the number of total registered voters is expected to be between 116,182 casting ballots split between the two modes of voting. This document offers an assessment of resources needed for Scott County to safely and thoroughly prepare for the general election.

A preliminary budget overview estimate on top of what is already available to the County is as follows:

Absentee Ballot Assembly and Processing Equipment


Early Voting Sites and Ballot Drop-off Options


In-person Voting at Polling Places on Election Day


Election Day Rovers


PPE Supplies




Needs Assessment & Costs

The following sections outline initial details of the operation and costs associated with each of the aforementioned categories.

Absentee Ballot Assembly and Processing Equipment

For the November elections, we anticipate absentee-by-mail turnout to be somewhere around 81,327 roughly 70%. Automation will be critical to efficiently and accurately manage ballot envelopes and ballots in weeks leading up to Election Day and in the canvassing process afterwards. To that end, the following is needed:

  • Personnel: We currently have 30 hired to tabulate absentee-by-mail ballots. Due to the number of ballots we anticipate receiving for the November general election, we will need to hire an additional 15 and not only because of volume but the social distancing requirements that are not placed upon us.
  • Outreach Materials: To promote absentee by mail and early voting ahead of the November election by sending educational flyers and correct information about polling locations along with information about early absentee requests as well as early absentee physical sites. Along with this is the first year for us to reach out to Felons who have now regained their voting rights.
  • Processing Equipment: To process absentee by mail ballot, we request additional letter openers.

Early Voting Sites and Ballot Drop-off Options

Scott County plans to have four full-time early voting locations, with additional funding I would fund five full time locations with all ballots available at all locations for three weeks.

These must be sufficiently staffed with five to six staff with $15.00 to limit worker turnover, handle a surge in voters before polls open, and manage sites in a pandemic environment. It will cost $86,400.

Secure Dropboxes

Our state has passed a law directing that only a drop box located on a county facility is and can be used under the direction and control of the county auditor.

In-person Voting at Polling Places on Election Day

Scott County is committed to working to secure many fully staffed polling places on Election Day. For the primary, we lost 39 of Election Day polling locations of 63 planned locations. In the General, we are committed to securing between 63 in person polling locations on Election Day.

In order to staff these locations, the county will hire 20 rovers that will be our eyes and ears on Election Day to ensure adequate information is be given to poll workers and addressing any anticipated Poll Watcher issues at the polls. Along with assistance for extra materials and technical advise.

Home Land Security has offered most of the additional PPE supplies and we are waiting to visualize deployment of those items

Total cost


Unit costs

Poll Worker Hazard Pay




Poll Worker PPE




Election Day Rovers







The investments outlined above will allow Scott County to reduce the risk of exposure to coronavirus for voters, election staff and poll workers; identify best practices; innovate to efficiently and effectively educate our residents about how to exercise their right to vote; be intentional and strategic in reaching our historically disenfranchised residents and communities; and, above all, ensure the right to vote in a diversity of communities throughout the county. 

Roxanna Moritz