PASCO, Wash.-- Election Day is Tuesday, when your ballot will finally get counted, but what many people don't realize is how much work goes into processing those votes.
Monday on a tour of the Franklin County Elections Center we found out everything it takes to make your vote count and it's quite labor intensive.
Sending in your ballot is just the beginning. From there, it goes through scanners, computers, hands and locked boxes. And the auditor encourages you watch it all.
Ballots were coming in by the thousands Monday and people at the Franklin County Elections Center are racing against the clock.
"We receive them in. We verify signatures and then we process the ballot, which means we open and inspect it so that it's eligible to be tabulated on our tabulation machines," said Matt Beaton, Franklin County Auditor.
Barcodes on ballot envelopes are scanned to verify voter signatures. Then they're opened to look for flaws. Next, they are separated by precinct and locked in a security room until the Election Day count.
"There's a lot of passion involved in elections and a lot of people disagree that might otherwise be friends will disagree on an issue. So you have to have a common element and that's the integrity of the process," Beaton said.
The Franklin County Auditior's Office takes their integrity very seriously and has installed multiple security cameras. Voters can watch video from the viewing area at the center or online. But Election Day isn't just about counting. Many voters stop by the Election Center on the big day.
"It's a mad rush. Voters are trying to get their ballots if they didn't receive them or if they damaged them they want replacements. Sometimes voters like to wait till the last minute to try and make a decision on who they want to vote for," said Diana Killian, Franklin County Elections Administrator.
The result is often described as organized chaos. The machines are counting, workers are processing ballots still coming in and people are voting up to the last minute.
"It's not unusual to get a huge load of ballots on election day and the voters that are dropping them off on that day, we could get up to five thousand, maybe more. I mean you just don't know," Killian said.
Franklin County will start counting ballots at 10am Tuesday. Their tabulating machine can tally about 3,000 ballots an hour.
All the ballots that come in on Election Day or later won't be counted until the day after they're received because they need to be processed and certified first.
Tuesday, March 11 2014 2:36 AM EDT2014-03-11 06:36:47 GMT
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