Delaware Voters Complete Record Number of Absentee Ballots - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Reported by Michael Lopardi

Delaware Voters Complete Record Number of Absentee Ballots

(Photo: MGN) (Photo: MGN)

11/03/2008 11:55 PM ET

GEORGETOWN, Del. - Delaware voters have returned a record number of absentee ballots in all three of the First State's counties, easily surpassing previous records, elections directors said.

First State voters completed more than 20,000 absentee ballots before the first polls opened Tuesday, elections offices reported.  

In Sussex County, the Department of Elections received more than 6,800 absentee ballots, director Kenneth McDowell said. That is an increase of 21 percent from 2004 and shatters the previous record of 5,600 that same year.  

In Kent County, the department received more than 3,000 absentee ballots, director Joyce Wright said. That is an increase of roughly 25 percent from the last presidential election in 2004, breaking the record of 2,400 that year.  

In New Castle County, the elections office received more than 10,500 absentee ballots by Monday, director Anthony Albence said. He said that breaks the previous record of 9,000 in 2004, and represents an increase of roughly 17 percent.  

The elections directors said those numbers are likely to increase by the time the polls close. The department accepts absentee ballots up until the polls close if the ballot was issued before the absentee voting deadline or has a postmark date that fits the requirement, Albence said.  

Elections workers sort the absentee ballots by election district prior to Election Day and begin opening them as soon as the polls open Tuesday, McDowell said.  

McDowell said it would take about five hours to count all of the ballots in Sussex County because workers have to manually feed the paper ballots through six counting machines. After that, workers complete the same process a second time to make sure the final numbers match, McDowell said.  

The counting process adds to the list of duties for workers on Election Day. They are required to finish counting the ballots by the time the polls close while monitoring polling places across the county to make sure things are going smoothly, McDowell said.

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