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Your Vote Counts. But How Does Your Ballot Get Counted?

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Gaston Alexander
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But when the government needs just one night to count more than 100 million ballots—in 2012, total voter turnout was just over 129 million—people might wonder how it did the job accurately.

But when it comes to tallying who won the popular vote, you don t need a crack team of high-speed ballot counters.

Like many aspects of the electoral system, ballot counting and reporting processes vary widely by state, and sometimes by county.

It is so variable, says Heather Gerken, a Yale Law School election law expert who was senior legal advisor to the 2008 and 2012 Obama for America campaigns.

In some places like LA county, results are reported as one enormous county.

But Maine has 533 separate units, and you used to have to call them all to find out what was happening.

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Gaston Alexander
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