23.    How easy is it to process all the ballots, if they are counted only on election day?  Are they machine read? [submitted]

Very easy.  Vote by mail ballots look just like your absentee ballot.  And with vote by mail, the counting doesn’t all have to wait until Election Day.

These paper ballots are read and counted by running through an electronic scanner in the clerk’s office. In fact, absentee ballots also can be scanned (but not tallied, according to Monongalia County Clerk Carye Blaney) before Election Day, which saves time.

Del. Hansen’s bill specifies how many days before Election Day clerks could begin this process for vote by mail.  Of course, release of any results before Election Day would be prohibited.

For making comparisons, it is important to remember that the cost of the 2020 primary election will be skewed — unusually high numbers of absentee ballots plus a full-scale polling-place election.  Vote by mail would take the latter out of the cost equation.

We thank the League of Women Voters of West Virginia and the League of Women Voters of Morgantown-Monongalia County for their sponsorship.  The League is not responsible for content.
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