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What happens to your ballot when it leaves your hands

Posted at 6:48 PM, Feb 13, 2024
  • Video shows the process through which a ballot makes its way from your hands to the elections office, and how it's secures.
  • From the moment the ballot leaves your hands, efforts are underway to maintain it’s integrity.
  • Ballots are regularly recovered from drop-off boxes and handed by two people at all times until they are delivered to the elections divisions where the envelopes are reconfirmed and secured.

The Primary Election is coming March 5 and you may have already received your mail-in ballot from the Kern County Elections Office, filled it out, and sent it in. Now once your ballot leaves your hands, there’s a strict security process it goes through up until election day.

From the moment the ballot leaves your hands, efforts are underway to maintain it’s integrity.

“We’re just trying to make sure that all of our I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed,” said Kern County Registrar of Voters Aimee Espinoza.

Espinoza said one of the new measures they’ve taken this year is the addition of surveillance cameras to all of Kern’s 19 drop-off box locations.

“Just an added layer of security,” she said.

The security cameras record the drop-off boxes, ensuring their integrity without filming the identities are voters.

Ballots are regularly recovered from drop-off boxes and handled by two people at all times until they are delivered to the elections divisions where the envelopes are reconfirmed and secured. A similar process to what will take place on election night.

“We’ve heard from observers who come to observe our signature checking,” Espinoza said. “They’ve had concerns about being able to see screens and so we’ve kind of redone our layout.”

As for election night, voters can observe the ballot and signature checking process with more set to come in the general election.

“We do have observation in our office, which was the original plan,” Espinoza said. “After that there was a request for live-streaming. There are other counties which do have live-streaming, [we started] looking into that for the November election but for this election we have cameras up and a plan in place.”

To help speed up the certifying process, the elections division purchased a second ballot sorter. These sorters also take a photo of the signatures on the ballots to compare to county record and ensure the ballot signature matches what is on file. If the signature does not match, the voter will be notified. If it does match, the ballot will continue to be certified.

If you'd like to track your ballot, you can do so here.


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