It is essential to the integrity of an election that ballot processing be accurate and transparent, while maintaining your right to a secret ballot. After you return your voted ballot, your county elections department follows this ballot counting process:
Path of a ballot - Vote-by-mail Washington State
- Your signature on the outer return envelope is checked against the signature on file in your voter registration record to make sure they match.
- You are credited for voting in that election. This ensures that only one ballot from each voter is counted.
- The outer return envelope, which identifies you, is then separated from the inner security envelope, which contains your voted ballot. Your ballot cannot be traced back to you, ensuring the secrecy of your vote.
- All ballots are inspected to make sure the tabulating machine will be able to read all votes. Tabulation equipment is tested before every election to make sure it is working accurately.
Elections are certified 10 days after Special Elections, 14 days after Primaries, and 21 days after General Elections. Preliminary election results are released on election night after 8 p.m. and are updated as additional ballots are counted.
The above steps continue with all ballots until the election is certified.
You are welcome to observe ballot processing. Contact your county elections department