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Senate explores ways to speed election returns

Published On: Jan 29 2013 05:28:00 PM CST

OLYMPIA, Wash. -

Lawmakers are looking for ways to accelerate ballot counting on Election Day.

A state Senate committee began considering a bill Tuesday that would reject ballots that don't arrive to the auditor's office by 8 p.m. on the night of the election. Republican Sen. Pam Roach says she wants to find ways to speed up the process so that the results of the election come sooner.

Washington currently counts ballots so long as they are postmarked by Election Day, and that means many ballots arrive in the days after the election. Election administrators say they also have to follow strict protocols, such as inspecting each ballot, which add time to the process.

The secretary of state's office says it has concerns about the strict deadline proposed in the bill, but the office wants to work with county auditors to develop new ways to make the process more efficient.

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