What happens to your ballot after you vote by mail? If you are voting by mail in the Mad River Valley this election, you can expect your ballot’s journey to look something like this:
Once you put your ballot in a USPS mailbox or ballot drop box, it gets delivered to your town’s town clerk.
“They come to the door or through the mail,” said Warren town clerk Reta Goss. “Then I enter them as received into the state voter registration system.”
Once your ballot is registered, it is eligible to be tracked. You can track your ballot’s status by logging into mvp.vermont.gov, the state ballot-tracking site. You’ll notice that your ballot status will say “received” once it has been counted by the town clerk.
“Then they are placed alphabetically in a vault and locked up,” said Goss, explaining where she puts ballots after they’ve been received. “Those who vote in person do the same thing. They put it in an envelope, seal it up, hand it to me, I enter it in the system, then it would go in the vault and be sealed up.”
If you check your ballot status and see that it has been received, Goss says you can be sure that “it was in my hands and now it’s locked up tight.”
After being received, ballots stay in the vault until they can be counted. Election officials are allowed to start processing ballots before Election Day to speed up the vote-counting process.
“My board of civil authority will meet this Friday afternoon and next Friday afternoon to run the votes that are here through the tabulator,” said Goss.
“Afterwards, those votes are sealed up again and the tabulator is taken to the town hall on election day, where it continues to tabulate.”
While election officials may be tabulating votes before Election Day, they cannot see any results until 7 p.m. on November 3. “We don’t see the results until the final button is pushed on November 3,” said Goss.
For the final tally process, a state official comes to town to report results to the state. “A nice lady comes to the polls and gets on the state’s website. Then she takes the results from the tabulator and enters them into the state system,” said Goss.