Behind the process of counting vote-by-mail ballots

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. – Lake County Supervisor of Elections Alan Hays said they have started to count the 2020 Election vote-by-mail ballots coming in.

Florida is one of more than 20 states that can count absentee or vote-by-mail ballots ahead of Election Day, up to 40 days before Nov. 3.

Hays gave News 6 a look inside at the process of tabulating the ballots.

“It’s a very methodical process, it has to be attention to detail,” said Hays.

Hays said they’ve mailed out 82,610 vote-by-mail ballots, and said, so far, they’ve had 32,000 returned to the county election office.

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He said when they open the ballot envelopes, the envelopes are kept in a position so that the names and signatures are facing down, so that the person opening the ballot doesn’t see the name of the voter.

Teams of eight people open the envelopes and separate the ballots from the secrecy sleeves.

After groupings of ballots are ready, they put 60 pound weights on them to flatten out the creases.

“It improves the accuracy of it, and not only that, but the wrinkles in it may cause the machine to jam, running at that speed,” said Hays.

He added that being able to tabulate as many ballots as possible now, puts them in a good position on Election night.

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