Opinion: ‘We want to help every eligible person register to vote and every registered voter to receive their ballot’

Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey addresses the voting process for the upcoming November general election

Editor’s note: Opinions expressed in this column are those of the author alone and do not reflect the editorial position of ClarkCountyToday.com

Clark County voters should be confident that election results accurately reflect their choices.

Greg Kimsey, Clark County Auditor
Greg Kimsey, Clark County Auditor

Election administrators understand they are a key part of the foundation upon which our democratic republic rests. Our most important responsibility is to work to maintain and improve people’s confidence in the integrity of the process and accuracy of results. 

Washington’s vote by mail system has evolved over decades. This has provided the opportunity to enact laws, develop systems and install equipment to improve security, increase access and to quickly and accurately process large numbers of ballots.

For example, the law which prevented ballots from being counted when voters had written their names on them was eliminated. The statewide voter registration/election management system www.VoteWa.gov allows us to register people to vote on Election Day and issue them a ballot for that election while being confident they are not registered elsewhere in the state. The use of high-speed sorting machines and scanners allows us to process ballots promptly.

The best test of the accuracy of an elections system is a recount.  Clark County has had 10 recounts since 2005.  In addition, we conduct an audit of each election by manually counting votes on about 600 ballots for one office and comparing those results with the machine count.  These recounts and audits have shown that vote-by-mail elections produce extremely accurate results.

Ballots for this general election will be delivered beginning Fri., Oct. 16.  Voters who haven’t received their ballot by Wed., Oct. 21 should contact the Clark County Elections Office.

The earlier voters return their ballot the more time they will have before Election Day to confirm their ballot was received by the Elections Office and its status.  That information can be found online at www.VoteWA.org , by calling the Elections Office at (564) 397-2345 or via email to Elections@clark.wa.gov

In order to create the appropriate “social distancing” during this coronavirus pandemic we have reduced the number of people who are processing ballots each day. Returning ballots early improves our ability to process ballots promptly and issue meaningful preliminary election results on Nov. 3.

We now have 22 ballot drop boxes available 24 hours a day until 8 p.m. Nov. 3.  Another ballot drop box is available in the Elections Office building (1408 Franklin Street, Vancouver). Ballot drop boxes are very secure and ballots are removed on a regular basis by teams of two Clark County Elections Office employees who follow a very precise “chain of custody” process.  Locations of those can be found at www.VoteWA.org under “Voting Centers” and also on page 75 of the voters’ pamphlet.

We encourage voters to deliver their ballot via the U.S. Postal Service, or an official ballot drop box.  We strongly discourage voters from giving their ballot for delivery to anyone other than someone they personally know and trust.

We want to help every eligible person register to vote and every registered voter to receive their ballot.  The earlier the Elections Office is contacted by people who need a replacement ballot, want to register to vote and receive a ballot, or have related issues the more options there are to provide assistance. We don’t want voters to have to wait in lines like these on Election Day:

Greg Kimsey
Clark County Auditor

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