With Georgia’s sixth congressional district special election Tuesday, one that’s garnered national attention this year, voters are heading to the polls to cast their votes.
But whether or not you’ll be voting on April 18, you may be wondering what exactly happens after voters casts his or her ballots.
Here’s how it works:
Once voters push the “cast ballot” button on their machines, the choices are copied to a memory card and saved on a hard drive inside the machine as backup.
As the polls close at 7 p.m., election workers and volunteers take the memory cards from the machines and seal them in a bag.
Then, they hit the road with bags in hand to each county’s election office, where ballots from the memory cards are loaded to a tabulation computer called the Global Election Management System.
The tabulation computer has display lights that change from red to green as precinct votes are counted.
And throughout the night — multiple times — county officers will copy precinct results to a secure USB flash drive before uploading them to the Georgia Secretary of State’s website. This helps the public see real-time results.
But the actual accounts are kept in each county and never make their way to the internet.
Mailed-in absentee ballots are fed into scanning machines, one at a time.