Tricks of the Ballot Trade, And How to Check On Yours

I've had a couple of people ask me over the last few days if their vote will still count even though they forgot to stick it in the security envelope before putting it in the big envelope and mailing it off to King County Elections. The answer, according to Elections spokesperson Kim van Ekstrom, is yes! "It will still get processed," she assures.

The idea behind the security envelope is to separate your signature from your ballot. The ballot is supposed to be confidential so the person who verifies your signature on the back of the big envelope removes the security envelope but doesn't open it. Then all the secured ballots, which now don't have names, go to someone else for processing. If you didn't put your ballot in the security envelope, the person who verifies the signatures and opens the big envelopes could potentially look at who you voted for.

Still, van Ekstrom says, it doesn't hurt to check online to see if your ballot has been received. You can confirm your ballot made it to Elections and the signature checked out (as Slate-founder Michael Kinsley discovered, it doesn't always) on the Web site. If your ballot doesn't show up as received within a few days of mailing it, van Ekstrom says, call 296-VOTE.

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