Skip to main content
King County logo

See how ballots are processed by watching our live election cams.

Sorting, opening, and scanning ballots do not happen every day or at all hours of the day. If we are not currently processing ballots, our virtual tour video will give you an idea of what we do.

Election Service Center

This camera is experiencing technical difficulties

web-cams-ESC

Watch Elections Service Center livestream

The Elections Service Center provides accessible voting and voter registration services. It opens about 20 days before each election to provide in-person, accessible voting for all voters, and specifically those voters who require assistance to vote privately and independently.

Staff working at these stations during an election also perform regular administrative duties in between serving voters who visit the center. If there is no live stream or no activity, please check back again at another time or day.

Drop Box Sorting 1

This camera is experiencing technical difficulties

web-cams-Drop-Box-Sorting-1

Watch Drop Box Sorting 1 livestream

When drop box ballots are returned to King County Elections they are prepared for the sorting machine. Secured transport bins are opened by a team of two and then sorted into mail trays by drop box location for the sorting machine. The team will also place any non-ballot materials or out-of-county ballots in a separate tray for processing. Ballots from other counties or even other states are packaged and sent on to that county or state for processing.

Ballot drop box sorting does not happen every day or at all hours. If there is no live stream or no activity in the ballot drop box sorting area, please check back again at another time or day.

Drop Box Sorting 2

This camera is experiencing technical difficulties

web-cams-Drop-Box-Sorting-2

Watch Drop Box Sorting 2 livestream

 

Sorting

This camera is experiencing technical difficulties

web-cams-sorting

Watch sorting livestream

When ballots are delivered to King County Elections, the signature on each envelope is scanned by our mail sorting machines and sent electronically to the signature verification team. Once the signatures have been reviewed and accepted, we prepare envelopes for the opening process by cutting the top of the envelope for easier ballot extraction. Ballots with signature issues are held in secure storage and cannot move forward until the signature is verified. This is the first stage of ballot accountability.

Sorting does not happen every day, or at all hours. If there is no live stream or no activity in the ballot sorting area, please check back again at another time or day.

Alternate Format

This camera is experiencing technical difficulties

web-cams-alternate-format

Watch alternate format livestream

Ballots returned by email or fax from service and overseas voters, as well as any ballots returned in something other than the King County Elections issued return envelope, require special handling.

These ballots are compiled and reviewed by a specially trained team to ensure voter privacy and authenticity. Processing these ballots often requires additional time as the process is more manual.

Alternate Format does not happen every day, or at all hours. If there is no live stream or no activity in the alternate format area, please check back again at another time or day.

Signature Verification 1

This camera is experiencing technical difficulties

web-cams-sig-ver

Watch signature verification livestream

Before any ballot is counted, the law requires that we visually compare the signature on every returned ballot envelope with the voter’s signature on file. Trained specialists look for general similarities such as height and spacing of letters or slants. If the signatures match, the ballot packet is approved to move forward to opening. If the signatures do not match or a signature is missing, the ballot packet is flagged and sent for further review.

Signature verification does not happen every day, or at all hours. If there is no live stream or no activity in the signature verification area, please check back again at another time or day.

Signature Verification 2

This camera is experiencing technical difficulties

web-cams-sig-ver

Watch signature verification livestream


Envelope Review

This camera is experiencing technical difficulties

web-cams-envelope-review

Watch envelope review livestream

Envelope review is the second step of the signature verification process. When a ballot packet is flagged for a mismatching signature, it gets another look at Envelope Review.

This team conducts additional research on the signature and the voter to ensure that before a ballot is challenged or accepted, there is evidence to support that determination.

Approximately one to two percent of ballots returned in each election have a problem with the signature, which is referred to as a “challenge.” This requires the voter to resolve the issue before their ballot may be processed. The majority of challenges are simply because the voter did not sign the envelope. Many signatures on the envelope do not match what is on file. While there are many reasons this could happen, common reasons include the length of time since the voter first registered to vote or a voter initialing instead of signing. We contact voters by letter, email and phone with instructions on how to resolve the issue and they have until the day before the election is certified to respond.

Envelope Review does not happen every day, or at all hours. If there is no live stream or no activity in the envelope review area, please check back again at another time or day.

Opening

This camera is experiencing technical difficulties

web-cams-opening

Watch opening livestream

Opening is a three step process:

  1. The security envelope, containing the voted ballot, is removed from the signature envelope and separated.
  2. Once all signature envelopes have been emptied and set aside, staff open the security envelopes and remove the ballots.
  3. We visually inspect the ballot to determine if the votes as marked by the voter can be properly read by our scanning equipment. Ballots that are physically ready for scanning and tabulation proceed. Ballots with physical damage or unclear voter marks are sent to Ballot Review.

Ballot opening does not happen every day, or at all hours. If there is no live stream or no activity in the opening area, please check back again at another time or day.

Ballot Review

This camera is experiencing technical difficulties

web-cams-ballot-review

Watch ballot review livestream

A team of two people visually inspect the ballot to determine if the votes as marked by the voter can be properly read by our scanning equipment. Teams use the Voter Intent Manual   produced by the Office of the Secretary of State which ensures consistent determination of voter intent.

If voter intent cannot be determined by use of the manual or other established directions from the Canvassing Board, ballots are forwarded to the Canvassing Board for final determination.

Ballot review does not happen every day, or at all hours. If there is no live stream or no activity in the opening area, please check back again at another time or day.

Scanning and Tabulation

This camera is experiencing technical difficulties

web-cams-scannning

Watch scanning and tabulation livestream

Once a ballot is ready for tabulation, a machine scans the ballot and stores the images on a secure and closed system.

Tabulation occurs after 8 p.m. on Election Night and results are produced and made public. Scanning and tabulation continue until all eligible votes are counted and the election is certified. The tabulation server is secured in a room that is monitored by security cameras, biometric controlled access and tamper evident seals.

Scanning does not happen every day, or at all hours. If there is no live stream or no activity in the scanning area, please check back again at another time or day.

TTY: Relay 711

Sign up for email or text notifications