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NASEDorg46 karma

I can! Washington has used voting by mail for ten years, so I have a lot of first-hand knowledge about how this works. Washington State has spent years building in security measures to ensure the voting process remains accessible, secure, and fair, and we’ve been working with other states throughout the pandemic to share our experiences and guidance.

Here, every election, ballots are sent to all active registered voters, and we have over 4.7 million voters. We provide transparency through ballot tracking on VoteWA.gov which empowers voters to ensure their vote counts.

The signature on EVERY envelope is checked against the voter’s registration record. The staff that conduct signature verification receive annual training from the Washington State Patrol. Any time someone flags a signature as a mismatch, a second staff member must review the signatures before confirming that the signature should be marked as not matched.

Once a voter is credited for returning their ballot, an additional ballot cannot be processed for a voter. If a county receives a second ballot from someone who has already been credited as having voted, the ballot is set aside for the county auditor to conduct an investigation.

Ballot processing must be completed in teams of two. No one is left alone with the ballots. And, ballots kept under lock and seal when not being processed. Observation of processing is allowed, and political parties may have official observers present.

Our tabulation machines are kept in a secure environment, and are not connected to the Internet. These systems are tested by county election officials and Office of the Secretary of State staff.

Vote by mail provides a reliable paper audit trail. Ballots must be reconciled at every step of the process and audits are conducted post election. In close races, recounts here are mandatory.

Every state does it a little bit differently, but every election official is working to ensure the integrity and security of ballots cast by mail.

NASEDorg19 karma

While the focus on election night is on who won and who lost, remember that election night results are always unofficial - election officials don’t call races, the media do. This year, with more ballots than ever before cast by mail, results on election night will be more incomplete than in years past. In the days and weeks following November 3, election officials will count every eligible ballot within the bounds of state laws, including provisional ballots, mail ballots, and ballots cast by military and overseas voters. Some races will be close and may require a recount or a recanvass, depending on the state, but every eligible ballot will be counted as cast.

NASEDorg15 karma

Each year, hundreds of elections are decided by one vote or even result in a tie. Try telling those candidates that one vote doesn’t matter! It’s important to remember that there’s a lot more on your ballot than just the presidential race, and you don’t have to vote for every race on the ballot. Just make sure you follow the instructions and only vote for the right number of candidates in a given race.

NASEDorg14 karma

What works in one state, might not be the best solution for another. In Washington, we have both automatic voter registration and same day registration (and pre-registration and voting by mail!), but those work for us. It took us time to build up to these solutions, we didn’t do it all at once. I think it’s important to have a strong technology foundation before you move to policy solutions.

Balancing access and security is a challenge for election officials - we have to make elections 100% secure AND 100% accessible and every state approaches that a little differently. In Washington, we’ve done that by making sure that there are multiple different ways for a voter to cast a ballot - by mail, at a dropbox, in person - and we verify the signature on every single ballot that is returned to us. We also do regular voter registration list maintenance to make sure that we are keeping up with voters who have moved or changed their name. Washington is a founding member of the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), which helps us with that.

NASEDorg14 karma

Elections happen all the time. We always say that if it's Tuesday, it’s Election Day somewhere. Election officials plan for big general elections like the one on November 3rd for years - we started planning for 2020 in 2016! The process is also transparent - this year is a little harder because of COVID, but you can observe logic and accuracy tests (how election officials test and verify all voting equipment pre-election), canvassing boards, and so much more! If you have questions about how things are run where you live, get involved, either by watching the process or even by serving as an election worker.