(WTNH) – As the polls closed on Tuesday, voters anxiously awaited the results of the election. Some races weren’t called for hours, leading many to wonder if more can be done to speed up this process.
Once the polls close, results normally aren’t available immediately. There are checks and balances in place to ensure each vote is counted and counted properly. It’s a process that takes time, but one that cities and towns are working to expedite.
The system called Poll Pad can answer questions such as what the turnout is and how many people came out.
“They can see district by district how many people have come out, what the turnout ratio is, how many voters have actually come out,” said Peter Gostin, Republican Registrar of Voters in New Britain. “It’s very helpful.”
It’s something the City of New Britain utilizes and the data is especially useful to campaigns as the numbers start rolling in. While it doesn’t replace the mandatory check-ins for voters, it serves as an additional resource.
“It will show if, for example, Peter goes to the polls and he’s already returned his absentee ballot,” said Lucian Pawlak, New Britain Democratic Registrar of Voters. “It will show in the system that Peter has an A next to his name.”
The final certified results aren’t available instantaneously. Former Secretary of the State Denise Merrill says there are checks and balances in place.
“We’d rather have it right than fast,” Merrill said. “That’s the bottom line.”
Merrill says each city and town has 48 hours to input results into the state’s system.
“You give them 48 hours because they can’t even open the absentee ballots until after the polls close on election night. Already, it’s eight o’clock and you have potentially thousands of ballots you have to open by hand, keep the envelopes in separate piles, make sure they’re all organized, and then you feed them through the machines to get them counted,” Merrill said. “That takes at least an hour, even if you’re a small town to get that all accomplished.”
It’s a process Secretary of the State-elect Stephanie Thomas will be looking at closely.
“I had a friend in from Texas and she said to me, ‘hey, our polls close later than yours and I already have all of our results,’” Thomas said. “As a candidate myself who was still waiting for final results, I totally endorse tweaking the system to make sure we get information on a more timely basis.”
Thomas said one of the first things she will be looking into is investing in new equipment. That way, she says, there won’t be issues at the polls and people can get in and out quickly with a more updated system.