A write in candidate in the Nacogdoches County judge's race takes the "electronic" out of electronic tallying. Election administrator Debra Gaston explained, "They all have to be hand counted per the memo we just received from the Secretary of State's office. That will delay us from releasing any count for some time."
Fifteen people will work in teams counting votes cast for declared write-in candidate Harlon Brooks. They'll count each paper ballot and verify each electronic write-in.
Election worker Maggie Driggers helps get the mail-in ballots ready. "We put them in a stack to be counted tonight," said Driggers, who has worked about 18 elections.
Electronic and paper cast votes for Republican candidate Joe English can be counted in a matter of seconds, but won't be released until his opponent's votes are counted. All the other race totals will be made public right away.
Counting the votes is pretty simple, but it can sound pretty complicated. The votes come in on a card called an Election MBB. It's placed in a USB-PC, and then the tallied votes show up on a Servo PC. The whole process is dubbed electronic data collection.
No matter the efficiency, county judge candidates and their workers will have to stay up for their results. Harlon Brooks' supporter, Mary Brooks Anderson, said, "Whether it's a victory or not, we're prepared to stay up all night to see the returns."
Joe English worker, Logan Warren, said, "I'm hoping in the morning, tomorrow evening, we're gonna be hanging around eagerly by the phones."
Perhaps it won't be that long. Gaston anticipates all early votes will be available by 10 p.m. Tuesday night. The others tallies will, hopefully, be known before midnight.