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By Lou Marzeles

The painstaking task of processing ballots


November 14, 2018

Lou Marzeles

OPENING & SORTING: Each yellow ballot envelope is opened: the pink envelope is removed. the yellow envelope is set aside. Signature are individually checked against voter registration signatures on record to authenticate the voter.

The Klickitat County Assessor's office expends extraordinary time and effort to process the ballots each election. The procedure is summarized here. The top photo shows volunteers opening each envelope by hand; they open them as they come in, but tabulating results can't start before 8 p.m. on Election Day. The next picture shows a correction to a vote, but the line goes through the bar code, which necessitates it being corrected by hand. Next, the sole scanner in the county runs the ballots through and processes the votes. A computer then checks the ballots for overvotes, undervotes, damaged content, and write-ins-and every write-in must be typed in manually, an enormously time-consuming process, since the machine does not read written content. "It's awful sometimes," says one Assessor staff member, "when people write disgusting things for write-ins." Finally, results for the county are printed out. Votes in the county can take weeks to completely process.

Lou Marzeles

BALLOTS CHECKED- FIRST ROUND: Envelopes are collected in Batches. The Holes are examined in batches to ensure no ballots were left inside. Pink envelopes are shuffled twice for voter privacy.


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