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Government and Politics

What Happens To Your Ballot Before It's Counted?

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Chris Lehman
/
Northwest News Network
Trays of returned ballots at the Marion County Elections office.

Oregonians are returning their ballots at a faster pace so far than either of the past two presidential elections. But what happens to all those ballots before they get counted?

The Ballot Processing Room at the Marion County Elections office is mostly quiet now. A few workers are scanning bar codes on newly received ballots. That scan registers that a person has voted. The ballots will be opened and counted starting November 1.

Marion County Clerk Bill Burgess said they're stored in a room that very few people have access to.

"It's very important that we have control of the chain of custody and integrity of the ballots once they come through this door,” Burgess said.

He said security is so tight even the custodians don't have a key. That means elections workers have to take out the trash and vacuum the floors.