Security and accountability
King County Elections has a number of cutting-edge election security measures in place and works with formal groups and partners who provide oversight to ensure the counting process is secure.
The public is invited to take a tour of the process. During an election, visitors are free to walk “the loop” in the Elections office where they can watch the entire journey a ballot takes, from the time it enters our mail sorter to when it is scanned into the system for tabulation.
Observers from both political parties are requested to be on site for every election as added assurance of oversight and accountability. If you would like to be an observer, please contact the political party with which you affiliate. Elections are also monitored and formally reviewed periodically by the Secretary of State’s office .
The Citizens’ Election Oversight Committee monitors county elections and advises on a variety of issues. The 14-member committee is appointed by the County Council and includes representatives from the state, county, parties and organizations.
The Canvassing Board, with representatives from the County Council and Prosecutor’s Office, meets throughout each election to review challenged ballots and certify results. The Canvassing Board schedule is posted for each election.
Every ballot returned to and received by King County Elections is accounted for at several points during its processing journey. Elections staff reconcile and account for every single ballot in the building on a daily basis. This reconciling process allows us to know exactly where each ballot is in the process, track trends and patterns, and identify and troubleshoot any potential issues. Each election is fully reconciled before certification and reconciliation reports are available online on each election’s results page. King County Elections has a long track record of complete reconciliation for each election without no discrepancies or unaccounted for ballots.
Cutting-edge security measures
A few of the security measures for each election:
- Ballots and ballot processing areas are safeguarded by key card access and biometric controls that check fingerprints.
- All staff, observers, visitors and media must be credentialed and wear a badge at all times. Color-coded lanyards allow for quick identification of security clearance.
- Staff and party observers participate in a Logic and Accuracy Test to ensure equipment will function properly in preparation for each election.
- More than 50 security cameras monitor the building 24 hours a day.
- Building alarm systems are on doors and high security areas.
- Coordination of site and ballot security with the Sheriff’s Office.
- Ballots have a batching and tracking system.
- A formal chain of custody process supports all movement of ballots.