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Behind the Scenes: How Ballots Are Counted in Contra Costa County

All hands are on deck at elections offices across the Bay Area as voters cast their ballots in some highly contested races.

Contra Costa County is doing all it can to make sure people have confidence their vote will be counted.

Some voters are still skeptical of voter fraud and not too comfortable with the current process.

“Now we stick them in a metal box where they can open it up and take the ones they don’t like and disregard them,” said Paul, a voter. “That’s not secure. Not secure.”

NBC Bay Area went behind the scenes to see how ballots are handled and those in charge said they “got a complex process of checks and balances in place.”

If you’re dropping off your ballot at a drop off box, the county assures its a safe practice.

“They are bolter to concrete,” said Helen Nolan, Contra Costa County Assistant Registrar of Voters. “They are 500 pounds. It would literally take a tank to knock them off their post.”

Before they even open the ballot, envelopes are run through a scanner which captures an image of the signatures. Each signature is verified by a set of eyes.

“It’s brought up on a computer screen and they compared side-by-side what is on the envelope and what is on file,” a registrar of voters worker said.

It’s run through the scanner a second time, then removed from the envelope before being boxed up and taken into the tabulation room.

If the machine can’t determine how the voter intended to vote, teams of two must review it and agree on how the vote was cast.

The entire process is monitored by surveillance cameras.

Contra Costa County wants this process to be entirely transparent, and to achieve the goal they have an observation deck any member of the public can go up to and watch the process themselves.

“Our workers have sworn oath of allegiance, undergone a background check,” said Nolan. “We know they are here to be part of democracy and not for the wrong reason.”

Source: NBC Bay Area

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