#4ThePeople: We bring your ballot security questions directly to the source

SPOKANE, Wash. — Less than 50 days until the election and we know you have many questions. Questions about the issues, the candidates and your ballot.

With all that 2020 has thrown our way, we know this election is going to be big, so we can’t cover it the way we always have. That’s why you are part of the process more than ever, asking us the questions that matter to you.

We asked you what questions you have about your ballot’s security. Everything from how to track your ballot to what you should do if you move.

#4ThePeople: What issues matter to you most this election cycle?

“The more informed you are about the election and your ballot, the better you’ll feel with the security of the election,” said Lisa Cox, a registered voter.

She was one of many people who sent 4 News Now a question about her ballot.

“How would you be able to track your ballot and what are the statuses that people are looking for online?” Cox asked.

It’s actually quite simple. You first go to voter.votewa.gov. Type in your full name and birthday. After, you’ll click on ballot status. You can see where your ballot is, when it was sent, returned and if it was approved.

You also asked what you should do if you move before you get your ballot. 4 News Now brought your question to Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton. The first thing you need to do is call the elections office.

“And depending upon the time in the cycle that they’ve called, we’ll either mail you a ballot and it’ll go out First Class,” Dalton said. “Or we’ll give you instructions on how to print a ballot off from your computer that you can then mail into us.”

Dalton said out of the 335,000 registered voters in Spokane County, 90% are expected to return their ballots.

Washington has been a vote by mail state since 2011. You asked how trustworthy is this system. Dalton said it’s more secure and accurate than the poll sites.

“It’s in your house. You vote it and you either return it to us through the Postal Service or through one of our ballot drop boxes,” she explained. “Again, both of those methods are very secure in getting your ballot back to us.”

Dalton said there are two employees at a time handling ballots, and no one is left alone with the ballots.

Results are going to take longer than normal this year, she said.

“This year, we expect to count only about 25% of what we would normally receive,” she said. “First of all, volume. It’s going to be twice as much as normal. It takes time to process.”

Dalton is encouraging everyone to get their ballots in as early as possible. On Oct. 16, ballots will be sent to voters. She said you should get it by Oct. 21 or 22. If you don’t, call them immediately.

“You need to put it into the mail stream in order to get it post marked by Election Day or you need to put it into one of our drop box collection bins by 8 p.m. on election night,” she explained.

Once the office gets your ballot, they’ll check to make sure you’ve done everything correctly. If it’s challenged due to a missing signature or other reasons, Dalton said you’ll get instructions in the mail to correct the issue.

You have until Oct. 26 to register online. If you miss this deadline, you have to register in person by Nov. 3. The Spokane County Elections Office will open back up on Oct. 16.

4 News Now will continue our coverage for you, and we’re committed to getting the answers to your questions that matter to you.

“I really appreciate KXLY for having this segment to ask the questions and ask the people what they would like to know,” Cox said.