Madison County volunteer explains process of counting absentee ballots

Sara Feldmeier says the most time-consuming part isn't counting the vote itself, it's opening the envelopes. She says per ballot, there's a large envelope and then a secrecy envelope that must be carefully opened first.

Posted: Nov 6, 2020 5:17 PM
Updated: Nov 6, 2020 6:09 PM

Key states in the presidential election are still counting ballots

Many of these votes are absentee ballots, and WAAY 31 is hearing from one local woman who counted absentee ballots in Madison County on Tuesday.

Sara Feldmeier says the most time-consuming part isn't counting the vote itself, it's opening the envelopes. She says per ballot, there's a large envelope and then a secrecy envelope that must be carefully opened first.

"Tedious probably. You're just sitting there, opening envelopes. We were very glad to get done by that time of night and not have to sit there for several days like some other states," said Feldmeier.

Absentee ballot counter, Sara Feldmeier, says she was expecting to spend a long time opening ballots on Tuesday.

"We started at 7 a.m. and we all left the building by 9:30," said Feldmeier.

Feldmeier says she could typically open two absentee ballots per minute, but that's just the first step

"All of the ballots went to the actual circuit clerk employees, they were the ones that ran them through the machines," said Feldmeier.

She says with about 40 openers helping out, they processed 40,000 absentee ballots in about 15 hours.

"We just sat there and opened and opened," said Feldmeier.

Feldmeier says while Alabama counted votes more quickly than other states, there's a reason for that.

"I think it's just the amount of ballots," said Feldmeier.

She says she understands that more absentee ballots means more time and effort from volunteers.

"Just do your best to be patient, because this is how democracy works. They are supposed to count every ballot," said Feldmeier.

Feldmeier says she thinks election day ran smoothly in Madison County because the probate judge, Frank Barger, and other volunteers planned everything out months in advance.

While ballots in Alabama have been counted, they won't be officially certified for several more days.

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