… and observers are needed!
Have you ever wondered how ballots are collected from Lopez and Orcas?
The relevant law is found here: WAC 434-250-100: Ballot deposit sites.
On Lopez and orcas, the ballots are usually picked up two to three times per election. The Box can only be opened with two people present, per state law. They open the box, move the ballots into a secure container (see picture), sign the log with the proper ID number (corresponding to the seal) and place it INSIDE the container with the ballots, attach a padlock, and then secure a plastic seal (see picture). The seal has a number on it, and it must align with the log that is inside the container.
The key to this system is the seal. Much like a wax seal in the middle ages or the seal on a container of a yogurt/bottle of juice, it is very easy to see if the box has been tampered with — assuming it’s used properly. If the padlock is opened, the seal breaks. It cannot be resealed, whereas a padlock can simply be simply be closed. It would be like trying to make a ziptie look like you didn’t cut it.
In Friday Harbor they are kept in in a metal cage, only two official full time election workers have access to it. They must sign a log when doing so. It is kept out in the open at the elections office to help avoid impropriety.
Camolyn is the current elections supervisor following Doris’s retirement. She has been forthright and helpful. Their office agreed to observers when the ballots are picked up on Lopez and orcas. But we need people who are willing to do it.
We may also observe in Friday Harbor, though this is the least vulnerable part.