West Virginia Setting Nationwide Trend in Absentee Voting

Everyone Counts provides secure voting to overseas voters

Story by Gil McClanahan 

CHARLESTON -- Master Sgt. Robert Barker has spent time overseas during elections here at home. He's learning how in upcoming elections his vote will definitely be counted no matter where in the world he may be.

"Having that kind of security, being online and you have a way to check it and monitor it and not have to mail out something and wonder if it gets there really is much more reassuring than something like a paper ballot," said Barker.

Everyone Counts Inc. of San Diego developed the Web site. They've taken many steps to make sure votes are secure.

"Each voter will be provided with a unique pass code that they will be able to use to log in, and in addition to that they have to enter in personal information that's known only to them so it can verify they are who they say they are before getting access to the ballot for voting," said company spokesman Jared O'Brien.

In previous elections paper ballots have arrived back in the states too late to count. "It's heartbreaking, because everyone has the right to vote and every vote should count, that's the way we feel, and once the election is over and that ballot arrives, it is a little disheartening," said Kanawha County Clerk Vera McCormick.

She said the system is not costing the county any money. The company is working with the federal government to get it implemented. Kanawha County will use the system for the upcoming election.

Besides Kanawha County, Wood, Jackson, Marshall and Monongalia counties are all using the Web site for their absentee voting.