How Are Votes Counted?

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While I normally write about things I recommend, I want to have more variation. I will continue to do recommendations of things I come across, but I also want to post my findings of questions that I have (on any topic). These are not questions unique to myself; however, I have taken the time to research the topics and find out the answers. When I find an article that has been written about the subject, I will simply summarize the findings and direct you to the article (for further investigation).

With the election still taking place, I have been curious about how votes are being counted. If you have been watching the election closely, you have likely heard things like “there’s still 50,000 votes left to tally”, but you do not know how exactly this process is done.

According to an article by ThoughtCo., the process of counting ballots varies from state to state. However, the general process is similar throughout the country. You should check out the article for more specific details, but below is a summarization of how votes are counted.

First, ballots are dropped at the voting center, and they are then transported to a central voting facility (normally a city hall or county courthouse). In many places, digital counting machines are used, with certified observers from both Democrats and Republicans making sure the count is fair. The process is also carefully monitored by law enforcement and an election judge.

In other places though, they still use manual, paper ballots. These paper ballots are read by election officials (and oftentimes double checked by another official) to count the number of votes. This style is old-fashioned, and in some cases there is an issue of determining what the voter was trying to do on his/her ballot. There are also punch-card ballots, which are similar and can have many of the same issues.

Additionally, there are mail-in ballots. Mail-in ballots have to be certified by election officials, who ensure that the person is registered to vote, as well as voting from their legal address. These ballots are then removed from the envelope before being added to the total on Election Day.

Finally, there are digital ballots for some of the newer voting systems, which seem to be the most secure. However, like all technology nowadays, there is always the risk of hacking.

Overall, there are many systems available for voting nowadays, and you should research to see which one the counties/cities you are interested in are using. All of them have their pros and cons, but they do all count the same in the end. While no system is perfect, it is at least good to know what procedures and precautions are in place during such a crucial time.


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