Election officials already deep into counting Oregon ballots - KPTV - FOX 12

Election officials already deep into counting Oregon ballots

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Election workers in Washington County are already processing, sorting and counting ballots ahead of Tuesday’s Election Day deadline. (KPTV) Election workers in Washington County are already processing, sorting and counting ballots ahead of Tuesday’s Election Day deadline. (KPTV)
BEAVERTON, OR (KPTV) -

Thousands of ballots are being returned all across the state ahead of Tuesday’s big election.

So far, statewide turnout is just over 50 percent, and nearly 1.3 million ballots have been cast across Oregon.

While voters’ jobs are done when they bring their ballot to a drop-off site that is when things just get started for election workers.

Inside the Washington County election office Monday, ballots from those drop-off sites were brought in, kept inside locked boxes before going through a machine that takes a picture of each envelope, looking at things like the barcode and the signature.

Elections workers then verify signatures by hand, comparing what's on the envelope of the ballot to what's on file for a voter's registration.

If there are any questions or concerns, the ballot is flagged for review. If there are no issues, the ballot moves on to another machine sorting process where the ballots are organized by precinct.

After that, they're finally opened by a group of people representing both major political parties. From there, the opened ballots are loaded into scanning machines.

The scanning machine vendor has to be certified by the secretary of state's office and a public test is done before any ballot is counted. The scanning machines count about 3,000 ballots per hour, which breaks down to a ballot every 1.2 seconds.

Even with the high number of votes already submitted, election officials say they still expect to see many voters turning in ballots Tuesday.

"We will see a lot of activity spike here during the commute hours, so it’s best if you can plan ahead,” Washington County Communications Officer Philip Bransford said. “Take a look at those web pages, see where there's an official ballot drop off site near you and try and make your way there."

While hundreds of thousands of votes have already been scanned all across the state, the first round of results won't be revealed until 8 p.m. Tuesday when ballots are due.

Elections officials add that once the election is over, ballots are kept for two years in there would be a case of a recount.

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