How Votes are Counted

Tabulator Count. The tabulator counts all the votes on the ballots. If a ballot cannot be read because of an over vote (more votes for a candidate than allowed) or the ovals are not correctly filled in then that ballot is placed in the auxiliary bin. At the end of the day, any ballots that were not read by the tabulator are counted by hand by two election officials.

Write-In Votes. The tabulator counts the total number of votes cast for write-in candidates in each race, but cannot determine which write-in candidates received the votes. The tabulator separates ballots containing a write-in vote from the other ballots and drops them in the Write-In Bin. At the end of the day these ballots are counted by two election officials. Only the votes for registered write-in candidates are counted, along with any write-in votes cast for a candidate whose name is already on the ballot for that office.

Absentee Ballots. Absentee ballots are counted at a central location by a bi-partisan team of election officials. A tabulator is used for all absentee ballots in the same manner as a polling location. A separate tally is made for each precinct.

Provisional Ballots. Provisional ballots are ballots cast by persons who believe they are properly registered to vote but whose name does not appear on the official voter registry list. Ballots are placed in an inner envelope to preserve ballot secrecy and in an outer envelope labeled with the name, address and other information about the voter. The registrars examine each case separately to determine if the voter is, in fact, currently registered to vote in Bristol. If so, the ballot is counted.

Election Day Registration. If you are registered in another town and now reside in Bristol or if you live in Bristol but are not registered, you may go to City Hall on Election Day (between 6:00 am and 8:00 pm) to register and vote. Persons wishing to do so must have a valid I.D. and current proof of Bristol residency (30 days or less).