GRANGEVILLE -- Ballot sorting started this week for Idaho County Elections Office personnel to get a jump on the count that will have to be tallied by election results night, June 2.
With the deadline now passed for voters to request an absentee ballot, what remains is for outstanding ballots to be turned in by mail or at the Idaho County Courthouse; a locked drop box is available at the back door to receive ballots.
To be counted, ballots must be received in the elections’ office by 8 p.m., Tuesday, June 2.
As Idaho County hand-counts its ballots, county clerk Kathy Ackerman stated there would be no way to count all these the night of June 2. So, the process will be handled in stages.
As of Tuesday, May 19, a four-person team began opening the white ballot envelopes, with each person involved in one part of the process of separating the colored ballots and sorting them into boxes: judicial, levy, Democratic and Republican. This is anticipated to take two days. Starting next Tuesday, May 26, a four-person team will count ballots in the following order: judicial, levy, Democratic, Republican.
“We will try to count as many as we can that week,” she said. The uncontested judicial races should go quickly for counting, as should the Democratic ballot with only two contested races. The levy vote will be more complicated to tally yes and no votes.
“The Republican ballot is going to take the longest time,” Ackerman said, due to the number of races – contested and uncontested -- involved.
Anything not counted by that Friday, May 29, will be carried over to June 2 for the final count. The day prior, ballots received after the first round of opening will be separated in the same process as before and secured. On June 2, all remaining ballots will be counted by a four-person team. Results will be available no sooner than 8 p.m. that night.
“It really depends on what ballots we have left that day and how long it takes to get through that,” Ackerman said, concerning when final election results would be available. “Part of that will be streamlined, because we’ll already have opened envelopes and sorted ballots, which normally takes time for the counting crew to do.”
In a statement on this process released by Ackerman last week, she said: “I want to assure voters that their votes matter and will be counted with the goal of maintaining the integrity of the elections process.”
Providing transparency on the process, she explained in using her staff for many of the steps in the preparation and count, she has the ability to terminate any one for any impropriety; “I do not have that leverage over poll workers, who are paid minimum wage for a long day of work.” Ackerman also stated one of her employees is the spouse of someone closely related to the sheriff’s election. This person, she said, will not be participating in handling, opening, or counting ballots, with the exception of routine mail sorting that may include sealed ballots.