Counting the Vote

As you may know, the polls close at seven election night. And that's when they'll begin announcing the results of absentee and early voting. But unlike past elections, we may actually be able to predict some of the winners based on those first numbers. Bill Stamps tells us why.
Once the clock strikes seven in Houston, poll workers will not allow anyone else to get in line in order to vote. Anyone already in line will be allowed to vote, no matter how long the line is.

Each voting booth is hooked up to an central piece of equipment called the judge booth control. After everyone has voted the judge for that polling location will take that equipment and all paperwork to one of five different drop off stations. Hector DeLeon of the County clerk's office explains.

"They check in at the drop off station and there's paperwork done there to verify that the system they're bringing is is the same system they were given, that the security seals in place are still the same and have not been tampered with."

Inside that control system is something similar to a memory card. It contains every ballot cast at that location. Each one of those cards is then sent to a main location via phone line and a computer tallies up all the votes.

Now normally we'd have to wait until all this is done to know the winners of each race, but elections officials say more than 700-thousand have already voted.

"It means that 70-percent of voters have already voted. The initial results are actually going to be very telling."

That's using numbers from a typical Houston election. But even if we get a record turn out, they still say half have already voted. And that means instead of waiting for hours…we'll have a good idea who the winners and losers are in local races before many people have eaten dinner.

Bill Stamps KUHF Houston Public Radio News.