The journey of a mail poll: How your vote will get counted


The overwhelming majority of San Diego voters forged their ballots by mail, whereas others submit them in individual or in drop packing containers. So what occurs to your poll after you‘ve forged it?

Beneath the brand new mannequin in line with the California Voting Rights Act, voters can forged their poll in individual at any of San Diego County’s 218 vote facilities by mail or in an official drop field.

All registered voters started receiving mail ballots the week of Oct. 10. They’ve till Election Day, Nov. 8, to return them — however the earlier the higher, mentioned Cynthia Paes, the county’s registrar of voters.

“We’re asking voters: Don’t delay, don’t wait till Election Day,” Paes mentioned. “Go forward and make your decisions, seal your poll inside your safety envelope.”

Voters can place their ballots in a poll drop field, submit them at a vote middle or mail them to the registrar by way of the U.S. Postal Service. “Signal your title to that envelope, and mail it again promptly,” Paes mentioned.

When you’ve forged your poll, right here’s what occurs to it.

Ballots are sorted

Batches of ballots arrive day by day on the registrar’s workplace, the place they’re despatched to the mail sorter — nonetheless sealed of their envelopes — for processing.

There, rows of machines scan the signatures on the envelopes and drop them into trays of 100 to 200. These trays go right into a safe storage room, and the picture on the envelope is shipped to the signature verification group.

For every poll, members of that group pull up the signature scanned by the machines and examine it with the signature from the individual’s voter file, as recorded of their registration file.

“We’ll have a group of skilled election staff that undergo every signature on every envelope and do a side-by-side comparability,” Paes mentioned.

If a signature doesn’t match the one on file, the registrar sends a letter to the voter explaining the state of affairs and asking them to signal and return a kind verifying that the signature is theirs and that they did in reality vote with their poll.

As soon as the signature has been verified, it’s despatched to the extraction room, the place staff take away ballots from envelopes both manually or utilizing extraction machines, then field them up and take them to the tabulation room.

If a poll is broken — say, torn or stained with espresso — election staffers remake it so it may be scanned. Working in groups of two, they duplicate the precise decisions of the unique poll on a recent sheet.

“They’ve one which calls out the competition, whereas the opposite marks the poll,” Paes mentioned. “Then they swap locations, and so they confirm the work. As soon as the poll’s full, they print it out.”

The unique poll and remade poll are each coded, she mentioned, “so throughout a recount or a problem, that authentic can at all times be pulled out so you possibly can see the voter’s authentic markings.”

Votes are counted

Subsequent, ballots are tabulated by machines that depend the votes. Over the course of the weeks, the ultimate counts are scanned into the system however aren’t seen by anybody — even the registrar — till election evening. Shortly after the polls shut at 8 p.m., the primary outcomes are launched.

In the meantime, ballot staff from the county’s 218 vote facilities are packing and delivering in-person ballots, in addition to mail ballots submitted at vote facilities on Election Day. These ballots are counted and reported afterward election evening, and the remaining outcomes can be tabulated and launched over the approaching days.

Voters can observe their ballots on the registrar’s web site at material/rov/en/elections/wheres-my-ballot.html. Every step of the method entails groups of two staff to make sure accuracy and safety.

“And bear in mind, each step of this course of is publicly observable,” Paes mentioned. “Observers from campaigns, from the political events, from organized teams or simply people can are available in and observe these processes.”

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