#4ThePeople: Ensuring voter security on ‘Decision Day’

SPOKANE, Wash.– The Primary Election is here, and the Spokane County Elections office is busy collecting ballots.

The office says the voter turnout will be close to 30 percent this year, and that the public can have confidence that your ballot won’t be tampered with.

“It’s reviewed and investigated to see what happened, and we go back and explain the reasonings for that,” said Mike McLaughlin, Spokane County Elections Manager.

Spokane County Elections workers are verifying ballots six times in the opening process to make sure each vote is accounted for. As they continue to get even more ballots, ballot security remains a top priority.

“We always have two people with the ballots,” McLaughlin said. “When they come in, we get them through dropboxes where two people pick them up and bring them back to our office. They are sealed envelopes with voter signatures on the outside. Then we run it through our scanner.”

After each envelope is scanned, workers check each signature on computers and match it with signatures on voter registration.

There are over 90 election observers for this election, which are appointed by major political parties or candidates.

Election Observer Susan Sawyer said she appreciates how secure ballots are.

“Ballots are always separated from anything that can identify them,” Sawyer said. “A person sits and looks at each and every signature, and if they don’t like it, it’s questioned, and someone else looks at it.”

Observers go through training on signature verification guides, as well as how ballots work.

“The system has been designed to ensure every ballot is counted,” McLaughlin said. “One ballot per voter is counted.”

You can track the status of your ballot on votewa.gov or at the Spokane Count Election’s website.

Follow along with the election results HERE

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READ: #4ThePeople: Everything to know for Washington’s August Primary