RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — With control of Virginia’s General Assembly on the line on Election Day, Virginians are anxious for results. However, local registrars are warning that it could take a little time for results to trickle in once polls close at 7 p.m.
“In some locations, the ballot is really long,” said Hanover County general registrar Teri Smithson.
Smithson said it may take time for local precincts to report their data. She said that once the last voter leaves a precinct, the chief officer of election at that location runs a results tape from a ballot scanner, which lists all of the candidates and the number of votes they received.
“It’s going to take a little time for that receipt to print in the polling place,” Smithson said. “So then, the chief officer of election in each polling place will then have to transcribe those numbers from that sheet to what we call a tally sheet.”
Smithson said once the tally sheet is complete, the chief officer of election calls the registrar’s office with the results. The registrar then double checks for accuracy before putting the data on the state’s website.
In addition, Smithson said that what could really delay the results is counting absentee mail-in ballots.
“To give you a frame of reference, in the precinct it may take them 15 minutes, 20 minutes to run the tape because the ballot is so long,” Smithson said. “In our central absentee because we have 36 different ballot styles, it’s probably going to take us an hour and 35 minutes and probably six rolls of tap to go through, so they will be babysitting these.”
It’s important to note, if a race is close, we may not know the outcome for a few days. That’s because absentee ballots postmarked by Election Day will be counted if they arrive at your local registrar’s office by noon on Nov. 13. Plus, provisional ballots will be counted after Election Day.