Rigorous safeguards in place for election security

If some distressed fellow citizens believe that the election has been stolen, I invite them to observe the ballot counting process as a volunteer in the auditor’s office, as I have many times.

When they make this observation, several procedures will be noted. For example:

1. Bar codes on every ballot mailed by the county auditor can verify that fake ballots were not received and counted.

2. Secrecy sleeve for hiding voting results when the sleeve is separated from the mailing envelope. There is no way to tell what ballot came from what voter after that.

3. Secure drop boxes where ballots are picked up periodically so there’s no time for the destruction of ballots.

4. Verification of voter signatures first by image-matching by computer, then by specially trained election staff. Any signatures that have changed from registration time trigger a phone call or letter for a conversation before that ballot is counted.

5. Counting of ballots by teams of election workers from both political parties. Workers are paired up so there is no opportunity for errors or manipulation of ballots.

6. Finally, post-election audits of a substantial number of randomly chosen ballots to assure that the numbers of ballots and votes cast by precinct, legislative district and political jurisdiction tally up in agreement, to verify each other.

These steps assure that however the voters cast their votes, the votes will be counted correctly and can be verified – regardless of the final result. Having a paper ballot is an even greater security rather than an electronic paper strip that fades in weeks, as I experienced in Arizona. I feel confident that the election process in Washington is actually a secure, well-thought-out process with integrity.

If one is set cross-ways with the result of an election, remember there is always another election coming up in a year or two – as long as we live in a functioning democracy.

Donna Branch-Gilby

South Kitsap