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County Clerks' Offices Manage Thousands Of Ballots

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Laura Palmisano

With the climax of midterm elections happening, County Clerks offices around the nation are in the middle of one their busiest times of the year.

Lura Kuchyt is an election supervisor for Montrose County.  She’s been involved with elections for 10 years, and says that there’s actually several steps in counting the ballots.  Once they verify the signatures on the outside of the envelope, they open and digitally scan the ballots, similar to scantron tests that students take. 

"The first day we started scanning was the 24th of October," says Lura, "we've been scanning several times since then and we're scanning all day today.  At 7 o'clock we'll get the last of it from our BSPC's, and we have to wait for our West End to come in."

As those ballots are being scanned, the results aren’t just popping up on a screen.  They’re stored secretly on a memory card.  Lura is not allowed to look at them and start adding them up until after 7 p.m. 

They’re still getting ballots, but so far the numbers look good this year.

"Right now, we have 14,329 ballots in house, that's  61.8%.  It's a dang good turnout," she says.

That’s just what they had Tuesday.  Ballots are still coming in.

"We have a lot of ballots to scan.  People have waited until the last minute to drop their ballot off," she says.

She hopes it’s not as bad as 2006.

"In 2006, I came in at 6 a.m. and did not leave for 36 hours," she says, " I worked almost a 40 hour work week in one span.  You do what you have to do, though."

After this crazy day, Lura won’t be able to go on vacation.

"It's not over until we do our canvas, and our canvas is November 13th, so we still have a lot of work to do after the election," she says.

The canvassing is basically an audit.  Certain races are chosen and ballots are rerun through the machine to double check that the machine spits out the same results, and then the ballots are triple checked by hand counting them and matching them to the machine’s results.  She understandably says she’ll be happy when all this is over.

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