‘It’s a very secure process’: Spokane Co. Elections Office not concerned about voter fraud

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SPOKANE, Wash.– Washington has been voting by mail for more than 15 years now, but as more states take that route because of COVID-19, some people have questioned voting security.

That includes President Donald Trump, who says voting by mail will lead to voter fraud.

People in Spokane County have been voting by mail since 2006, and that is why the Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton is confident every ballot will be counted correctly.

Dalton has been running Spokane County’s elections for more than 20 years now. She and her team are no strangers to voting by mail.

“We know what we’re doing,” Dalton said. “We have it down, and it’s a very secure process.”

Dalton said ballots only go out to registered voters.

And every ballot that comes back is checked one-by-one, making sure each signature on the envelopes actually came from the right person. It also goes through a machine which captures each signature on each envelope.

The process is actually so extensive that about one percent of returned ballots end up not being counted. That is typically because a signature is missing or the one on the envelope does not match up with what is on file. In that case, the elections office will try reaching out the voter.

But, if the voter doesn’t try to correct the issue before 8 p.m. on election night, then their vote will not count.

“So, if someone does intercept your ballot, and tries to forge your name, we’re gonna catch that and that ballot will not be counted,” Dalton said.

Voting by mail is actually one of the few things that is normal about this election. Same day registration looked a bit different in an effort to keep everyone at a safe distance from each other.

Results will also take a little longer to report this year, because COVID-19 restrictions have limited the amount of places where ballots can be counted.

Still, the elections office plans to count about 85,000 ballots by 8:15 p.m. Tuesday night.

“An election will happen,” Dalton said. “It will happen well, and it will be secure even with covid.”

The Elections Office expects a 40 percent voter turnout for the primary, which would mean about 335,000 people voting in Spokane County.

Find results from Tuesday’s primary here.