CLEVELAND — As ballots went in the works on Wednesday at the Cleveland elections board, poll workers were logging them and tallying them, handed to them by voters who were still alive.
“This is nuts,” said Tom Stevens, 63, a retired postal worker who voted at the board. “But they have to do it.”
Mr. Stevens was among a handful of die-hard vote-counters who have vowed to keep counting votes until the last person gets a ballot.
The crew, who keep in touch on social media, started counting ballots on Tuesday, when the last voter in the state of Ohio cast his ballot.
“Everybody wants to win, but if someone can win more votes for your candidate than a rival or challenger, that’s good,” said Mr. Stevens, a Republican who supports Mr. Trump.
Mr. Stevens will stay awake all night Monday because, he said, he can not stand the thought of people being treated this way.
“We have to protest the process by which we do it,” he said.
The various teams tally ballots on computers, and none of them watches the vote-counting process on television.
Each team has about half a dozen people. Mr. Stevens said his group is made up of about 20 people.
And it’s not just people in Ohio who believe they have a right to vote. Across the country, voters are saying that they would be willing to cast a ballot if they are still alive and could get away with it.
In Portland, Ore., the campaign of Evan McMullin, who is running as an independent candidate, is using vans to catch people as they are casting ballots at the polling station for their municipality.
“Tell everyone you know that even if they’re alive, they need to vote,” the vans read, with images of U.S. flags.
In Kansas, where Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer is running for re-election, city council member Larry Plaza plans to camp out overnight outside the polling station to demand a recount of votes.
Mr. Plaza said the local Democratic headquarters was advising residents not to do it. But as a volunteer, he thought it was his responsibility to make sure every vote counted.
“I’m not going to go to jail for doing something right,” Mr. Plaza said.
Michigan is home to a long tradition of people keeping ballots, even if they die and do not know that they have been voted for.
Ken Anderson, 64, lives in Lansing, and he said he first kept a ballot in the 1960s. He set aside a ballot in case he would meet someone who told him the poll worker didn’t count the votes.
He signed it with his name and some notes. “I keep a book of that stuff,” he said.
Every two years, he takes out the ballot and looks over it, making sure that all the candidates are added up. “It was the kind of thing where when I got up, there I was, and I took the envelope with the numbers and put it in my purse,” he said.
Marjorie Conley, 70, of Southfield also will seek to cast a ballot for her friend, Marvin Douglas, who is on dialysis. Mrs. Conley also said she plans to vote early, as she has for years.
“I don’t think it’s right,” she said. “But I’m a lady of my word.”
It seems that many die-hard voters are conflicted about counting ballots. One voter, Krista Bert, said she wasn’t voting for President Donald Trump, but didn’t believe that Washington could take “trouble” to count all of the votes.