Dan of the County: To be clear, no ballots are counted early, period. It took two solid days of 8-10 people working to open just the absentee ballots that KC received this time. As it was, every available election worker worked until after 5 a.m. the next morning. I can't imagine how long it would have been if they hadn't already at least opened the absentee ballots even with the write-in issue. It sounds like a good compromise would be to still allow watchers but who are located in a separate room with a video feed of the overall process but not in enough detail to see marks on the ballot or at least make them be well back from the process if you can't trust them not to violate the process of ballot secrecy. More below.
Question: Any other questions re: Election Night for Dan?
Given the growing number of absentee ballots and the pure person hours involved to open them (especially in Ada and Canyon and other large counties) I will be very surprised if the legislature restricts the early opening under strict guidelines.
I believe they will confirm what is already in the code, that the Secretary of State is the Chief Election Official and already has the authority to issue directives on these activities.
Another change in the code would be to change the existing law that says once you start counting you can't stop until all are counted. You could start on Election Day and then work for a set number of hours before you send people home to rest and come back at it day by day. I really wonder if people would be happy with that though and you'd really have a security nightmare.
But hey, I've been wrong before, like on Tuesday when I thought I actually stiill thought I had a chance of winning…:).