How elections in Greenbrier County are processed and secured
By Greenbrier County Clerk Robin Loudermilk
Recently I was asked to explain our Election process in Greenbrier County by a lifelong resident/voter of Greenbrier County and write this letter to educate the voters.
We start the Election year with people filling out applications for Absentee Ballots. These are individual who are disabled, medical conditions that have them confined, college students, traveling out of state etc. Once the application comes back to the County Clerk’s office, we check to make sure the person is a registered voter, then we verify the address, birthday and signature of the voter with the information on the voter registration system.
If all information matches, a ballot is then prepared to be sent to that person at the address listed on the application. Ballots can be mailed or hand carried back in the proper sealed envelope provided by the County Clerk. If a ballot is hand carried, the person delivering it will have to sign the envelope stating they hand delivered the ballot. The ballot envelope is then checked by verifying the voter’s signature on the outside of the envelope with the signature in the voter registration system. If all matches then the voter is marked as voting Absentee in the system for Election Day.
An individual can only hand deliver two sealed ballots back to the County Clerk’s office. We do not allow ballot harvesting. Once verified the Absentee goes into a locked ballot box until Election Day.
Precincts have five election workers from the two political parties. We do not ever allow all five workers to be of the same political affiliation. On Election Day the poll workers check the public count on the voting machines throughout the day to make sure they match the poll stubs that are being stringed.
Voters are checked in making sure they have some form of Identification (this is the law). Their name and address are confirmed in the poll book if all is correct then the voter signs the poll book and the poll worker verifies the voter’s signature with the signature printed in the poll book. Any individual who votes Absentee or Early Voting will be marked in the poll book out from their name as doing so. This is done so they cannot vote a second time.
If signature and all information match the voter is given a poll stub to go to the voting machine to cast their ballot.
At the end of Election Day, the poll workers collect the votes on the Master PEB (Programmed Electronic Ballot), then they Re-Collect the votes on a Supervisor PEB. This is done in case one of the two PEB’s would not read properly when returned to the County Clerk’s office. Once poll workers arrive at the Courthouse on Election night the County Clerks staff reads the Master PEB on a Supervisor terminal and compares that number with the statement of ballots used paperwork filled out by the poll workers from that precinct with the count from the voting machines and poll slips. If the count matches, then the report and PEB from that precinct are taken upstairs to another reader to be checked a second time and if correct then a report is run and tallied votes are put on a screen for the candidates.
We do this process for all precincts. At the end of the night, we have totals from all precincts for all candidates.
Then we have the Canvass the following Monday after the Election. At the Canvass we go over the Provisional Ballots that were issued on Election Day to verify if those are to be counted or not. We hand count one precinct by unrolling the paper rolls from all voting machines used at that precinct on Election Day. We have two teams that tally which are made up of one representative of each party affiliation and one team reading the votes cast off the paper rolls. Once this is done these numbers are checked with the paperwork and reports that were run on Election night. At this time that would be three different checks we have done to make sure the numbers of votes match.
Then we get the Flashcards that was in each voting machine used for Absentee, Early Voting and Election Day which is about 120 machines. The flashcards are another backup that collects the votes on each voting machine. We read the flashcards on a special reader and make sure that they match the statement of ballots used filled out by the poll workers, the paper report from the hand count and the PEB report that was done on Election night. So now we have four different counts and reports that are done and checked verifying that the Election results are accurate and match. I can honestly say we have not been off on any of our counts even during the Pandemic of 2020. My poll workers, County Clerk’s staff and I take pride in running a safe and secure election for all candidates. I can assure you that no voter will cast more than one ballot in Greenbrier County.
I hope this helps anyone that might have concerns about their vote and elections in Greenbrier County. This process is done by all 55 County Clerks in West Virginia. Greenbrier County is secure and will continue to do so.
If you should have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call the Election Department or the County Clerk’s office at 304-647-6604 or 304-647-6602. We are more than happy to go over anything with each and every one of you.