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Stafford County shows off its preparations for Election Day
Date published: 10/10/2012
Voters could move through Election Day lines faster than ever in Stafford County this year, thanks to new technology and scanners for ID cards.
Poll workers are wrapping up months of training this week by running mock precincts--a last-chance test for setting up, using new equipment and tallying votes for the Nov. 6 presidential election.
"This is so much easier than it used to be," said Doris McAdams, a veteran chief election official at the Anne E. Moncure Elementary School polling place.
She and four of her poll workers ran their test Monday afternoon in the registrar's new storage annex.
The biggest change is behind the scenes. On Election Day this fall, a new computer program will help election officials complete the tally at the polls at the end of the 13-hour voting day.
Usually, it would take at least one hour, if not several, to complete a handwritten 20-page report for the State Board of Elections.
Poll workers, who start the day before 5 a.m., are still at work hours after the last voters go through the line at 7 p.m.
Cameron Sasnett, an assistant registrar who works with training and technology, said too many election officials last year looked disgusted and defeated at the end of the day.
Over the past year, Sasnett developed a program called "results-logic" that can make that end-of-the-night paperwork go by much faster.
"You're going to see night and day difference in speed and accuracy," said Sasnett, who also expanded the county's training for those who work the polls.
The program, OK'd by the State Board of Elections, keeps track of how many voters cast ballots, voided and spoiled ballots, provisional ballots and accounts for all other actions, such as write-ins.
One poll worker will read the numbers off the printouts from the ballot box, and another will enter those into the computer.
As for the results of the election that everyone wants to see, election officials can simply fax in results or use a smartphone to photograph the printout and email it to the registrar.
"Stafford County is really, really good at getting our results in really, really quickly and really, really accurately," General Registrar Greg Riddlemoser said.
New voter cards have been mailed out to all active voters. An approved ID is required to vote. Here are some important dates: NOW TO NOV. 3: In-person absentee voting on weekdays. Saturday in-person absentee voting is offered Oct. 27 and Nov. 3. OCT. 15: Deadline to register to vote in Nov. 6 election. OCT. 30: Deadline to apply for a mail-in absentee ballot. NOV. 6: Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Absentee ballots must be in the registrar's office by the end of the day.