I was at a meeting in Austin this weekend for a series of Pew initiatives, and the costs of elections remained a regular point of discussion. Thus, this story from Walton, GA caught my eye. The Board of Elections apparently told the County commissioners that they could produce a faster count, but only at the cost of paying to have staff “sequestered” to start counting absentee ballots before the polls close.
This is a point I’ve raised many times before–it is possible to have a speedier count and have no-excuse absentee ballots, but it requires a jurisdiction to begin processing those ballots as they arrive, and not wait until election day (or election night). Save such procedures (and costs), a slower count is unavoidable.