How thousands of primary elections ballots get counted

Copyright 2019 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without prior permission.
Tens of thousands of ballots are waiting to be processed at the Spokane County Elections Office.

Tuesday’s primary election is nearly here. You have just hours left to send in your ballots for Spokane County’s Primary Election. If you haven’t sent yours in yet, there are more than 20 different drop-off locations in the area. You can also mail it in, but it has to be postmarked by 8 p.m. Tuesday.

The Spokane County Elections Office had more than 72,000 ballots in, as of early Monday. It expects about 100,000 to send in ballots. That’s about 30% of voters in the county. They said that’s about average for a primary election.

Your votes don’t count themselves. They do go through a bit of a journey before it finally gets processed. When it gets to the office, it goes through several stations before it even comes out of the envelope.

Your ballot first gets put into batches with thousands of others. From there, it gets sent through a sorter that reads the barcodes. This is to verify your ballot before it gets tabulated at a different machine.

“If it’s not, it’ll kick it out. It also verifies that each ballot has been accepted before going down to be sent for opening,” said Mike McLaughlin, elections manager for Spokane County. “Each tray is about 350 ballots, so it’ll do about 8,000 ballots on this run.”

The final stop for your ballot is the actual machine that will tabulate your ballot, which essentially means count your votes. The information gets put into a system, however no one can see the results until they’re released Tuesday night.

You still time to get your ballot in, and because elections can be stressful, 4 News Now has made it really easy for you to learn everything you need to know about your candidates.

Click HERE for all your Campaign 2019 coverage.

We will have all your campaign coverage Tuesday on 4 News Now.

The office is reminding everyone to sign your ballot. Every election a handful of people will miss that step. You put all this work in to vote and get that ballot in on time. But if you forget to sign it, your vote can’t be counted.