MONTPELIER, Vt. (WFFF) — Voting technologies can range from hand-counted paper ballots to voting machines. Vermont uses both, said Secretary of State Jim Condos.
Condos said 140 towns in Vermont use tabulators, or portable scanners, which tally about 80% of ballots cast. Tabulators scan the ballots and count the number of ovals that are filled out in the appropriate places. The tabulator keeps an internal tabulation that no one can see until election night.
Other towns will hand count each ballot individually and tally up the results on election night. With a record-breaking number of mail-in ballots this year, the Condo’s office issued a directive allowing town clerks to process their ballots up to 30 days ahead of time, although the actual results won’t be available before 7 p.m on election night.
Montpellier’s City Clerk John Odum said they started putting ballots in the tabulators in the weeks leading up to Election Day. “It’s just going to be that the balance between the votes we are expecting to come in and the votes that have already come in is going to be completely turned on its head,” said Odum.
Odum said Montpelier is participating in pilot technology programs to ensure security and voter integrity.
In St. Albans, Town Clerk Anna Bourdon said they won’t be processing any ballots until Election Day.
“We thought about it but, ya know, I think it’s more transparent if we just do it right at the election poll,” said Bourdon.
Once towns have counted all ballots, they send unofficial results to the Secretary of State’s office. In the days following the election, clerks will verify the results and process any write-ins. Clerks then have 48 hours post-election to get that information to the Vermont Secretary of State’s office.