One by one, the Lauderdale County Election Commission counts the votes from a rejected ballot. It's just one step in the certification process that started when the polls closed on Tuesday.
"We actually reconstruct everything that goes on in a box. We have the tabulation sheets filled out by the poll worker. Then we come behind them with a blank one, just like we've never seen that," said Ann Watts, commission chairman. "It has the total number of ballots issued, absentees and then the breakdown of what went on during the day, such as affidavit ballots, rejected and challenged ballots, spoiled ballots. Those are the ones that will not go through the machine for some reason."
To throw another step in the process, the commission has to count the electoral votes, which involves separating the ballots and running them through the machine. It's actually a count that only matters when the election is thrown to the House of Representatives.
"It has been a complicated process this year. We're supposed to have ten days to complete it. And I sure hope we get it done," Watts said.
By Nov. 14, the commission has to submit a final report of votes counted to the secretary of state's office.
Candidates and citizens then have twelve days to contest and review the ballots. After that, the election stands.
"There are going to be some counties who won't have it done on Friday, and I hope we're not one of them," said Watts.