Henrico pre-processing tens of thousands of absentee ballots ahead of Election Day

Henrico pre-processing tens of thousands of absentee ballots ahead of Election Day

HENRICO Co., Va. (WWBT) - Nearly 50% of Henrico County registered voters have already cast their ballots ahead of Election Day!

The Henrico County Registrar’s Office reported nearly 68,000 people voted early in-person from Sept. 18 through Oct. 31. Meanwhile, more than 47,000 absentee ballots were mailed out earlier this fall, breaking records from previous years.

“In 2008, 2012, and 2016 we’ve never had more than 17,000 absentee ballots,” said Anne Marie Middlesworth, Henrico’s Deputy Registrar.

Due to nearly three times more ballots this year, the registrar’s office started pre-processing the ones they’ve gotten back.

“We’ve had the opportunity to do this in previous elections, we just haven’t had a need,” Middlesworth said. “But with 47,000 ballots issued and we’ve received 37,000 back, there was nothing to do but begin that pre-process.”

Teams of three follow a specific method as well to ensure your ballot is checked and counted.

“They read off the voter’s name, address,” Middlesworth explained. “There’s another officer who is the ‘check-in officer’ and they are verifying the name on the envelope matches the name on the poll book, and once they verify those two are the same they open up the ballot.”

It is a process that takes on average two to three minutes per ballot. For these workers, they have been working endless hours to get through as many as possible ahead of the big day.

“We are still not completely done,” Middlesworth said. “We still have about 10,000 that we need to scan and whatever comes through the mail the next few days.”

While the pre-processing continues behind the scenes, chief poll workers were busy picking up last minute staging materials Monday for voters who plan to come out on Election Day.

“Signs and their drop off ballot boxes are also being taken out,” Middlesworth said. “So voters can drop off their ballot if they have not mailed it or have not used one of our drop boxes, they can take it to their neighborhood polling place.”

While nearly 50% of voters have already cast their ballots across the county, poll workers are prepared for whatever crowds come on Tuesday.

Click here for information about voting in Henrico County.

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