An inside look at a local elections facility - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

An inside look at a local elections facility

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PASCO, WA - With general elections only a day away, local election offices are already in full swing.

Reporter Rex Carlin visited the Franklin County Elections Facility to find out what happens to your election ballot when you drop it off.

The first stop for each ballot is the processing room, where representatives deliver the ballots to election workers who compare the signatures on the ballots with each individual's signature at the time they registered to vote.

This is one step in avoiding voter fraud.

Franklin County Auditor Matt Beaton says another common policy also ensures fairness at the election center.

"When we open ballots, when we're working with them in any manner, when we unload ballots from a ballot drop box location, when we pick them up from the U.S.P.S., we always do it in teams of two," said Beaton.

When the signatures are compared and confirmed, the ballots are organized by precinct and locked in the security room, which is monitored by closed circuit cameras 24/7 and has a motion sensor that lights up the room and alerts anyone monitoring the cameras.

Finally, the ballots are brought into a room where election officials work in pairs to run the ballots through the computers, which is another layer of precaution. The computers aren't connected to the internet or any server outside the building. These officials release the results - or at least the latest of what they know of the results - at 8:00 Tuesday night.

"In the state of Washington, we require election workers, and here in Franklin County, have an election certification by the secretary of state," said Beaton, "so they hold training annually and you have to keep that certification up. It creates a uniformity in the way these ballots are handled in the state of Washington."

Beaton has one last piece to add if you still haven't turned in your ballot yet: Drop your ballot off at a drop box, don't mail it this late in the game.

Since the USPS facility is located in Spokane, if you mail your ballot back it will go there first, and there's a chance if you mail it in at the last second your ballot won't be postmarked in time for it to count. Since it must be marked on or before the 8th, there's always a chance that if you mail it in on the 8th that USPS won't see it until the 9th and by then your vote won't count.

And if you want to see all this for yourself, there's a public viewing area at the Franklin County Elections Office for you to check out everything that's going on on Election Night.

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