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I am a poll worker in Virginia and work at the absentee precinct, where we receive all the absentee ballots for the county. We process the paper ballots and run them through an optical scanner. Self-printed ballots (typically received from military overseas), ones with tears, and ones unreadable by the scanner are put aside for handcounting. This is typically less than 20% of the ballots.
For small elections, the hand counting process can take 1-2 hours, depending on the number of races. In 2008, that process took over 7 hours because of the number of ballots involved (thousands).
While we can process and feed the ballots all day, we're not allowed to start tallying until after the poll closing time (7pm). I cannot imagine how long this process would take if all ballots were paper and hand tallied. Easily days. If you thought the 2000 presidential election stretched on too long, imagine not knowing who won for a week.
And this is not including the in-person absentee ballots received the month prior to election day using computer polling stations (we just print out the totals from each station).
A lot of libraries use Meebo chat embedded in their website to provide reference services-particularly because it was free and thus fit their budget. It required nothing extra on the users' end. Now what will they use?
If the journal is in one of the bundles that your institution subscribes to, then it is 'free' to the end user. If it isn't, then you pay $30 or so, and this comes out of your grant, which means filling in extra paperwork.
Does your institution not have interlibrary loan?