How to track you ballot and how your ballot is counted

Learn the basics of how your vote is counted and how to track your ballot.

WASHINGTON – Election season is upon us.

Voters in Washington have until August 2 to mail in or cast their ballots.

According to a poll in WA, nearly a third of voters have serious doubts about the voting process and say they have little or no confidence in the state’s postal voting system. Although more than 40% of respondents have high confidence in the system, it never hurts to learn more about the process.

Here’s how to track your ballot and a summary of how your ballot will be counted:

How to track your ballot

Anyone can track their ballot during an election. To do this, you must visit Your ballot should be updated as soon as it is received. It usually takes between three and five business days for your ballot to be mailed upon receipt.

According to the Washington Secretary of State, your ballot goes through three steps:

  • POSTED: The district has marked your ballot as sent (the day you see may be in the future, it’s not uncommon).
  • RECEIVE: Your ballot has been received and all that is left is a signature check.
  • ACCEPTED: Your vote will be counted; Your signature has been verified and you have been marked as a voter for this election.

Keep in mind that it is possible for a ballot to be rejected and instead rejected or contested. If your signature or ballot is disputed, the county election officer will contact you.

There are a few codes while contesting your ballot.

  • STOP: This happens when a voter sends in an old ballot. In this case, your ballot will be counted if the ballot style is the same as the current ballot. If not, your ballot will be retained for seven days after the election, after which it will be duplicated into an eligible ballot unless the current ballot is returned.

  • REVIEW: Your ballot signature is currently being verified.

  • There are several reasons why your ballot could be challenged. In all these cases, the district returning officer will contact you.
  • UNSIGNED: This happens when there is no signature on the return envelope.

  • SIGNATURES DO NOT MATCH: This happens when the signature on the envelope does not match your signature on file.

  • ID REQUIRED: This happens when voter registration has failed the ID check. In order for the ballot paper to be counted, an ID card is required.

  • OTHER THAN VOTER: This happens when the signature on the envelope does not match your signature on the file and it appears to be someone else’s name.

  • POWER OF ATTORNEY: This happens when the signature on the envelope has been completed by someone other than the voter and that person is identified as the Power of Attorney. The voter must mark an “X” and have two witnesses.

Be careful with your signature. Make sure it’s the same one you used on your driver’s license or ID card.

How your ballot will be counted

  • SORTING: Ballot papers are sorted by machine; They are organized by numbered piles, and the same machine takes a picture of each signature on the ballot.
  • SIGNATURE VERIFICATION: With these captured images, the poll workers then compare each of the signatures on the envelopes with the archived signatures. Most often they compare it to signatures on driver’s licenses. If the signatures don’t match, they will contact you to confirm that the ballot is indeed yours.
  • OPEN, CHECK AND SCAN: This is the busiest part of the process. Poll officials open each ballot and make sure it’s filled out correctly. If they are not filled out correctly, they will contact you. Finally, the workers will run the ballots through a scanning machine. It’s the machine that records the voices.
  • SAFETY: Poll workers must check their personal belongings at the counter before the start of their shift. As a uniform, they wear color-coded lanyards and are monitored by cameras.
  • Anytime someone without a district token opens the door, an alarm goes off. For added security, some rooms can only be opened by certain employees, who can only open the door with their fingerprint. There are also additional measures against hacking.
  • MONITORING: Representatives of political parties walk through the room and watch the goings-on. They are trained election observers who are familiar with the process.

If you want to see the ballots being counted, you can take a tour or follow the process live via webcams. How to track you ballot and how your ballot is counted

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