Ballots are in the mail |
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Wednesday morning the Spokane County Auditor's office mailed the first batch of ballots and Spokane County voters can expect to find their 2012 Ballots in the mail over the next two days.
"There are so many that it takes two days to send them all out," said Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton.
More than 280,000 people are registered to vote this year in Spokane County.
"I wouldn't be surprised if we hit 290,000," said Dalton. "The last day for a new registration in person is Monday, October 29."
The election office has an area set aside this year for those who are waiting to the last minute to register.
"We'd really like to stress not to wait," said Dalton.
Counting of the ballots will be performed a little different this year than in the past.
"This year ballots will get to be run through the machine on Monday," said Dalton. "But we can't hit the totals button until eight o'clock Tuesday."
When the ballots are returned, they are run through a machine that reads the bar code and then calls up the voter's signature that's on record. The signature on the ballot envelope is then put on a computer screen next to the signature on file so they can be compared.
"We'll check every single signature," said Dalton.
Once the signature is verified, the envelope is opened and the yellow security envelope containing the ballot is removed. The outer envelope is discarded and the yellow envelope moves down the line where the ballot is then removed, ensuring the secrecy of your vote.
"We never have a ballot and an envelope," said Dalton.
If a ballot is returned in just the outer envelope, it's removed, placed in a yellow security envelope and then moved down the line. Dalton said that your "secrecy is guaranteed."
Dalton wants to remind everyone that it must be one ballot for one envelope. Doubling up ballots in one envelope slows the counting process.
"The fewer times we handle something, the better," said Dalton.
Dalton also says it's very important for voters to get their ballot returned quickly so they can count every ballot.
New, larger drop-off boxes will be used this year and emptied several times on Election Day.
"Mark your ballot, get it in, don't wait until 8, don't be late," said Dalton, urging people to make sure their ballots are counted.