Absentee Ballot Count

Members of Hardin County's Absentee and Special Voters Precinct (ASVP) board spent 19 hours counting 4,893 ballots on Tuesday, Nov. 3, into the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 4. The process was slowed down when a rapid ballot tabulator stopped working part-way through the day.

When Jim Johnson walked into the Hardin County Courthouse on Tuesday morning, he thought he knew what to expect.

As a longtime member of the county’s Absentee and Special Voters Precinct Board (ASVP), he’d been through the absentee ballot counting process before. Open ballots, run them through a tabulator, record write-ins, go home. But Tuesday proved to be more complicated for Johnson, his fellow board members and county employees, who didn’t finish the count and leave the courthouse until 4:30 a.m. on Wednesday. A mechanical malfunction, coupled with record absentee ballot numbers, slowed progress and delayed local results of Tuesday’s general election.

Absentee Ballot Count

Hardin County Absentee and Special Voters Precinct (ASVP) Board member Larry Johnson feeds absentee ballots into a slower tabulator on the afternoon of Tuesday, Nov. 3. Initially, the slower tabulator was being used to separate ballots that contained write-ins from ballots that did not. But after the failure of a rapid tabulating machine, all absentee ballots were counted using the slower tabulator. It took 19 hours for the ASVP board to count all 4,893 absentee ballots.

Absentee Ballot Tabulation

Absentee board volunteer Nathan Super runs ballots through a tabulation machine at the Hardin County Courthouse in Eldora on Tuesday afternoon. A board of volunteers started tabulating Hardin County absentee ballots at around 9 a.m. Tuesday. Sometime during the afternoon, the tabulation machine's scanner failed. The backup tabulator is much slower, so Hardin County officials are warning the public that results will be delayed until at least midnight, and maybe later.

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