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What are all those barcodes on your King County ballot?

The barcodes are to help the elections department and the voter track their ballot from start to finish.

If you received your King County ballot, you may have noticed there are several barcodes on the original and return envelopes. So, what are they for? 

Some KING 5 viewers have asked if any of the barcodes are to identify a voter's party affiliation. A King County Elections spokesperson said none of the barcodes have anything to do with party affiliation.

They do have everything to do with helping the elections department and the voter track their ballot. 

You may see up to four barcodes on your ballot. Two of them are specific to the Ballot ID and voter ID, which is a unique number assigned to that ballot and that voter. 

Both of these barcodes help the elections office track the ballot and the voter's ID in case the ballot is sent back. 

Credit: King County Elections
A sample ballot envelope showing the various barcodes and what they are used for during the voting process. October 2020.

The third barcode is one used for quality control for the elections print vendor. 

The fourth barcode is new and is the Intelligent Mail Barcode. It allows election officials to track ballots through the mail stream in both directions, similar to how shoppers can track an online package. Voters can also take advantage of this and track their ballot when they put it in a drop box or mail it in. 

Once your ballot is in the mail, you can track its progress online.

King County voters can track their ballot by visiting the King County Elections website

Voters can also go to Washington state's voter website to check the status of their ballot.