At the end of election day, poll workers count the number of votes in each ED for each candidate on each ballot line. An election district, or ED, is the smallest voting district in the state, and each voting machine covers only one ED. The voting machines are then sealed and those poll worker vote counts become the unofficial returns that are reported on election night.
The voting machines then go back to the warehouse, where the Board of Elections has 15 days to verify the vote counts by recanvassing the machines. The recanvass works like this: each machine gets opened and a Board of Elections worker writes down how many votes each candidate got on each party's ballot line for that ED. If the recanvass counts a different number of votes than the poll workers counted on election night then the number from the recanvass is the official number that gets used.
Basically, you walk down row after row of voting machines and stop at each one to count the number of votes recorded for the election. Here's what you're looking at on each machine:
There's 15 days from election day to finish the recanvass. How long the recanvass takes depends on where you are. The Staten Island recanvass was finished by lunchtime. But in Manhattan, the recanvass started at 10am on Tuesday and at 6pm it was about halfway done. A contested election with representatives from multiple campaigns verifying the recanvass can take even longer.
What comes next? The paper ballots are counted, and after that the election is certified. That's when we'll know our official vote totals.
Check back in the coming days for another update on the vote count.
Technorati tags: Working Families Party | 2006 Election | Vote Row E