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Spokane County is taking extra steps to ensure ballot security in primary election; here's how

The Spokane County Elections Department has taken several steps to ensure every resident's ballot is secure.

SPOKANE, Wash. — The Spokane County Elections Department takes ballot security very seriously and has taken several steps to ensure every resident's ballot is secure.

To ensure all ballots get where they need to be, the elections department said it is important to make sure all ballots are put inside their security envelope. Additionally, it is important to ensure the outside of the ballot is signed and dated.

Ballots taken to the white drop boxes are always collected and transported by teams of two. The ballots are then put into a bag that is secured with a padlock before being transported to the Spokane County Elections Office.

The elections office staff then run the ballots through an envelope sorter that takes a photo of the barcode and signature on the outside of the ballot. The signature is checked against voter records to ensure the signature matches.

Once the signature is confirmed, staff can begin opening envelopes. Staff eventually separate the ballot from the signed envelope, which prevents the markings on the ballot from being tied to the name on the outside.

New in 2022, signatures are now confidential to ensure election ballot security is at the highest standard, according to Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton.

"Up until late last year, technically it wasn't protected under the Public Records Act, and now it is," Dalton said. "It's important because theoretically someone could have requested all of the images of the ballot envelopes and they would have had the signatures of every single person who had returned a ballot."

If you never received a ballot in the mail or lost the one you did receive, it's important to go to the Elections Office on West Gardner Avenue before the 8 p.m. deadline.

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