Spokane elections office ready to count ballots

Spokane elections office ready to count ballots

SPOKANE, Wash. - There's a calm intensity inside the Spokane County Elections office, just over a day away from the conclusion of a presidential election. There's no shortage of rules, regulations and sign-in stations - all crucial elements in a successful ballot count, but far from the most important.

"We could not do an election without our seasonal employees, who come back to us over and over," exclaimed Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton.

The 140 seasonal employees come to work for Dalton for a variety of reasons, but for retired accountant Herman Bernards, it's simple; "You just can't do gardening every day."

Fortunately for Dalton, Bernards' green thumb takes some time off during election season.

"Herman is just like the Machine Whisperer. Every Machine works beautifully for Herman," explained Dalton. "We have other people who are so good at the small details that are so essential in elections processing."

From sorting mail to filling out damaged ballots, there's no shortage of small and crucial tasks in the building. While the rest of the country is preoccupied with the politics surrounding an election, Dalton and her seasonal staff focus on the process.

"Whatever our political leanings are, when we walk through the door into the elections center, we set those aside," declared the County Auditor. "We're here simply to count the ballots, make sure voters are registered to make sure the process works, that the process is accurate and the process is fair."