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Q&A: Here's what you need to know about voting in Spokane general election

The general election for Spokane County and consolidated election for Kootenai County will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 2.

SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. — The general election for Spokane County and consolidated election for Kootenai County will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 2. 

The races included on the ballot in Spokane County include Spokane and Spokane Valley City Council, along with Spokane Public Schools Board and Central Valley School District Board of Directors positions. In Kootenai County, voters will cast their ballots for mayoral, city council and school board trustee races, among others. 

Ballots for the Spokane County election were mailed out by Oct. 15, according to the Spokane County Elections Office. Election results will be available after 8 p.m. on Nov. 2.

KREM 2 talked with Spokane County auditor Vicky Dalton about best voting practices. Dalton oversees elections across Spokane County and she will discuss how to make sure that everyone's vote gets counted. 

Q: How can people check their ballots?

A: "People can check their status on votewa.gov. When we talk about when you might get an issue, you'll see either that it was accepted or that it wasn't. If a ballot envelope is challenged, it's most likely challenged because the signatures missing or the signature on the envelope does not match what we have on record. Either way, we will, within 24 hours, send a letter out to the voter explaining what the issue is, and how to resolve it. So if you go to vote wa.gov, and you see that there's an issue with your ballot being accepted, wait for that letter, follow the instructions in the letter. 

Right now less than seven tenths of 1% of the ballots that have come back to us have any kind of an issue."

Q: There are a number of write-in candidates this year, does this make counting the ballots more difficult or take more time?

A: "It makes it a little bit more challenging, but we have some very clear rules in the state of Washington on how to handle write-ins. If they could possibly win the race, then we will go through and we will tally the names that are on the write-in line. So just make sure that you write the name clearly and legibly for us on that write-in line and fill in the bubble if you want to do a write-in candidate."

Q: Once the clock strikes 8 p.m. on election night, then how long does it take for all the ballots to be counted, and then for you to get those final results out to the public?

A: "Well, pretty much any ballots that we've received, all the way even through Tuesday morning, we will get those processed, signatures verified, the ballots open and put through the tabulation machines and included in the election night result. Traditionally, that's gonna be about 50% of all the ballots that will be returned to us. So we'll keep processing because we have all those ballots that come to us on Tuesday and come to us in the mail on Wednesday and Thursday. So usually it's about Friday before we have most of the ballots counted."

Q: If I'm a procrastinator, what's the latest I can register to vote or even cast my ballot?

A: "You and a lot of other people! So, to register to vote, you can register all the way through 8 p.m. on election night. But now you have to do it in person. So come see us at 1033 West Gardner at 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on regular days. Then, until 8 p.m. on election night. We also have a center open at Mirabeau Park Center place on Monday and Tuesday of election week."