San Bernardino County election officials share process behind ensuring integrity of drop-off ballots

Leticia Juarez Image
Thursday, November 3, 2022
IE election officials share process of ensuring integrity of ballots
In San Bernardino, early voting is underway at the County's Registrar of Voters Office and election officials are collecting drop-off ballots to dispel misinformation about election fraud.

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (KABC) -- In San Bernardino, early voting is underway at the County's Registrar of Voters Office and election officials are collecting drop-off ballots to dispel misinformation about election fraud.

Officials invited Eyewitness News inside on Wednesday to see how the election ballots are being processed.

"We like to share the journey of the ballot with the voters to show them how transparent, accessible, and secure the process is," said Stephanie Shea, the Interim Assistant Registrar of Voters.

Every step of the process is carefully monitored by cameras to ensure election integrity for those who are skeptical of the drop-off ballots.

READ ALSO | Orange County using new technology to make sure ballots are safe and secure

As more voting centers are set to open throughout Orange County, officials are using new technology to make sure your votes are safe and secure.

The ballots are collected in seal boxes and when they're full, they sign for it, bringing the ballots to a sorting machine inside the county's voter's office.

"Our sorting machine basically takes the unique bar code from the envelope and the voter's signature on the ballot envelope and it captures those images where ultimately we are comparing with on file," said Shea.

Every single ballot is then examined by trained election workers in the signature verification team.

Once signatures are matched, they are sent ahead to the next step in the process.

"The ballot extraction team removes those ballots from those envelopes and then they just review the ballots to make sure the ballots are not damaged and there is no additional stubs on there at the top," Shea said.

Finally, ballots run through a scanner and are processed for the first release of election night results once the polls close.

"If the scanner cannot interpret the voter's intent, they are sent through adjudication. Adjudication is a process where teams of two view those ballot images in areas where there may be an overvote or there may be a blank ballot."

A two-person team makes a determination of ballots that have write-in candidates or that are incorrectly marked.

One more thing the registrar's office wants voters to know: Machines are not connected to the internet and are air-gapped, reassuring voters that the machines and the process are secure.