Posted: Nov 8, 2012 8:52 AM by David Jay - MTN News
BILLINGS - As of 7 a.m. Thursday, they were still counting votes in Yellowstone County where not all the races have been determined.
The county elections office still has thousands of ballots to count. The ballot counting machines are not working efficiently, but it is possible the ballots will get counted by Thursday morning.
Technicians were called in.
Yellowstone County Elections Administrator Bret Rutherford estimates more than 70,000 voted. With two pages of ballots, that's approximaely 140,000 pieces of paper, need to go through the machines.
The priority is the candidate portion of the ballots and there are about 20,000 more to count and about 45,000 of page two.
The balllots can sometimes run at about 200 per minute, but now the machines have to be stopped and reset after about five to 10 pages because of the folds in the absentee ballots.
"All the ballots are kind of folded the same way so they just kind of catch each other," Rutherford said. "We try to flatten them out as much as we can. We've never seen it this slow before but keep in mind we have around 140,000 ballots to count now, which is well above the normal for us."
The plan is to keep counting complete the work sometime Thursday morning.
Some in the elections office started at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday and hope to get at least a little sleep before the counting is complete.
Rutherford says the closest he's come to working this many hours was in 2008, when they finished around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday.