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Election clerk ensures security for residents' ballots ahead of election night in Kootenai County

The elections office has done everything from setting up a live stream in the counting room, to implementing a system that prevents duplicate ballots.

KOOTENAI COUNTY, Idaho — The Kootenai County election clerk insists that once voters turn in their ballots, they are secure.

To ensure this, the elections office has done everything from setting up a live stream in the counting room, to implementing a system that prevents duplicate ballots from getting counted.

Kootenai County Elections clerk Jim Brannon takes the security of your ballot very seriously.

"We have long taken security as a very important function of the elections office, because every illegal vote nullifies a legal vote," Brannon said.

For starters, Brannon said Kootenai County Elections office uses watermarks and timing marks on ballots to secure the authenticity of your vote.

"So, if a ballot would show up, it would be impossible to duplicate the ballot because it wouldn't have the watermark," Brannon said. "We also have timing marks on the outside of the ballot, so that they cannot be duplicated. So otherwise, they won't run through the tabulators."

On election night, three ballot tabulation machines will count all the ballots in the county.

In fact, you can watch staff open, count and store ballots on the county's 24/7 live stream. In an effort to be transparent and build trust in its voting system, the elections office set up three cameras for the live stream two years ago. You can find the live stream on the Kootenai County elections website.

Brannon said even the counting room where ballots are counted is locked down to only a couple staff members at a time.

"The counting room, everyone signs in every time they come and go," Brannon said. "There is a keypad on the door. And as clerk, I don't even have this code. We have four different keypads in various ballot areas, and different members have different code."

If you still need to register to vote, you can do so at your polling place tomorrow. To find your polling place, visit the Kootenai County elections website.

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