By Frank Lewis
The day breaks and the sun begins to peak through the darkness. It seems much like every other day of the year, but to the employees at the Scioto County Board of Elections, this day is different. Actually it all started months ago, and now it comes to a crescendo.
On Friday, all of the trustees picked up their supplies for all the townships. That’s when the election suddenly becomes a reality to those who labor year round in support of what many consider our greatest right.
Then comes the Monday before the election.
“All of the voting location managers came and picked up their supplies between 9 (a.m.) and 4 (p.m.) to take out the the polls,” Julia Gearheart, Director of the Scioto County Board of Elections said. “Our equipment manager delivered all the machines on Monday and also to in-town people.”
Monday is a time to inhale and step into the process and get ready for the rush of activity that is an election day on Tuesday.
“The polls open at 6:30 a.m. and they close at 7:30 p.m.,” Gearheart said.
Then things get really busy. There’s hardly time to breathe before the actual tabulation process begins.
“They start bringing in their supplies and everything and we start uploading as soon as they bring in,” Gearheart said. “Our first set of results is always our absentee results. They get uploaded at 7:45 p.m..”
The question many people have on election night is how the provisional votes are counted. Gearheart explained they are added later.
“Provisionals are counted with the official count,” Gearheart said. “We have already set our official (count) for the (Nov.) 17th. The Board counts all the provisionals then. We take that 10 days or so to prepare the provisionals to make sure that they are ready to go for that day.”
Gearheart has learned through experience not to predict what time all the numbers will be counted because of the variables involved.
“It just depends when all the precinct officials get everything back to us,” Gearheart said. “I know we’ve had sometimes that they forgot the memory cards and they had to go back and get them and that delays us getting the results up in time.”
Oh, by the way, when all of that process is completed – they can finally exhale.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.
Scioto County Board of Elections workers prepare for another election day.