How election officials and volunteers count mail-in ballots

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ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind.-- A total of about 116,000 total votes came through in St. Joseph County and there’s about 15,000 mail-in ballots still left to count. The process of counting mail-in ballots is a long one.

“It’s actually organized chaos you know because we have everything organized but there’s so much going on and so many people coming at everybody wanting numbers and just everything else it’s just been crazy,” Republican Board Member for Voter Registration Kimberly Riskovitch said.

But how do they get through that chaos?

First, stacks of sorted absentee mail-in ballots are given to a group of two people, a democrat and republican.

Together they sort through each ballot matching the signatures on the envelope to the signature on the ballot to make sure they match.

If everything goes smoothly, the ballots are then given to the Election Board to double check initials on the back of each ballot, and then put through the tabulators to complete the process.

“We just want the extra set of eyes to see that no one’s ballots have been missed so that everybody’s vote counts,” Riskovitch said.

Voter Registration Member Kim Riskovitch said while the experience has been hectic, that she’s confident in the process.

“I believe in the system and I really, really feel that this is going to be a good thing,” Riskovitch said.

Riskovitch also said that she’s proud of everyone’s dedication to making sure votes are counted efficiently and accurately.

“The politics has been left at the door,” Riskovitch said. “It’s about getting the job done. Everybody has to get along. You can’t fight. If you’re constantly fighting and are against each other then you’ll never be able to come together and get a solution and get business taken care of.”

Poll workers were asked to stay a bit longer to help out and get the ballots counted, with the goal to get them finished by the end of the day Thursday.

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