Processing Vote by Mail Ballots

Lynda Roberts, Registrar of Voters, Elections

Watch the video and read below to learn what happens once your voted ballot is sent in.

Once vote-by-mail ballots are returned by mail, by drop-box, or vote center it goes through a series of steps

  1. The ballots are run through a ballot sorting machine that does the following:
    1. Reads the barcode on the outside of the yellow ballot return envelope that is connected to the voter and acknowledges that ballot as returned
      1. If the voter has already returned a ballot, it will challenge the ballot, so no voter can vote twice
    2. Compares the voter’s signature on the outside of the yellow return envelope to the signature on the voter’s registration file
      1. If it accepts the signature as a match, it sorts the ballots into precinct specific bins for further processing
      2. If it does not accept the signature as a match:
        1. Election workers do a visual comparison between the voter’s signature on the return envelope and their voter registration
          1. If it is determined a match, it is ready for the next step in the process
          2. If it is not a match or missing a signature, the voter is sent a letter to correct their signature
    3. Lastly, it slices open the yellow return envelope to prepare for ballot removal
  2. Ballots are confidentially removed from the return envelope by election workers and prepared for counting
  3. The ballots are then run through the tabulator machine that counts the votes to be included in election night and final certified election results

Ballots counted by Election Day will be the first results posted shortly after 8 p.m. on Election Day. Ballots received less than four days before the election, on Election Day, or in the grace period following the election will be counted and results posted after the Election Day.