There’s a light at the end of the tunnel for the final vote tally in Yellowstone County from Tuesday’s general election, but it could take most of Thursday to get there. “We hope to have everything done by the end of business hours today,” said Bret Rutherford, Yellowstone County elections administrator. After more than 48 hours at MetraPark’s Montana Pavilion, election officials were still counting votes. Due in large part to technical difficulties with the county’s three vote-counting machines, about 30,000 absentee ballots remained uncounted at the beginning of Wednesday morning.
But by early Thursday, officials had managed to make it through a large chunk of the waiting ballots. Rutherford estimated that by 3 a.m., 23,000 had been fully counted.
Upon realizing that the counting would take much longer than expected, Vote counters initially focused on getting through the first sheet — out of two — of the ballots, which contained the election races.
All of those — except a handful that, for one reason or another, couldn’t be read by the machines — have been counted. They’re now working on tallying the second sheets, which include referendums and initiatives.
Initially, the machines jammed every time an absentee ballot went through because they weren’t able to handle the folds in the paper. A tech support specialist arrived early Wednesday morning and was able to improve efficiency a bit, to where they could count about five ballots at a time and then reset the machine before it jammed.
Full Article: They’re still counting votes in Yellowstone County.