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What happens to your ballot after you vote in Washington?

Several steps have to happen to verify your vote in Washington state.

PORT ORCHARD, Wash. — The life of a ballot is one of the most important processes when it comes to elections. 

Because Washington is a mail-in voting state, ballots our sorted and processed in batches. 

The first step is to verify that the signature on the ballot matches the signature the elections office has on file.

"Ballots are tabulated but we don't get the results of that until 8 p.m. on election night," said Paul Andrews, the Kitsap County Auditor who is also in charge of elections. 

The computer storing the results cannot be accessed until that night. 

Then, after ballots are processed they are physically stored for safe keeping.

To track your ballot, remember to keep the tab connected to your ballot. Or visit vote.wa.gov to ensure your ballot is processed.

"It gets in you blood," Andrews said. "You are part of a system that is part of the community and part of the country. And that's really cool."

The Secretary of State's Office said Saturday 67.6% of the state's more than 4.8 million registered voters have already cast their ballot. Four years ago, just over 41% of voters had returned their ballots by the weekend before the election. 

Voters have until 8 p.m. Tuesday to drop their ballots off at one of almost 500 drop-off boxes or voting centers around the state.

Track election results and analysis with KING 5

On Tuesday, Nov. 3, watch NBC coverage of the 2020 election on KING 5 from 4-11 p.m. to follow national election results and analysis.

Tune in to western Washington election coverage from 8-11 p.m. on KONG and 11 p.m. to midnight on KING 5. Local coverage will also stream live on king5.com and the KING 5 app.