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What happens to your ballot after you vote in Washington?

Here's what happens after you leave your ballot in the drop box.

Editor's note: The above video is from previous reporting on how to fix a challenged ballot which aired in November 2020. 

What happens to your ballot after you drop it off at a voting center or a ballot box?

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

The first step is to verify that the signature on the ballot matches the signature on that person's voter registration card. Voters will be contacted to "cure" or fix the signature if it is missing or doesn't match the signature on the voter registration card. 

Once the signature is verified, a person's ballot is marked as "accepted" and the voter is credited for participating, ensuring only one ballot is counted per voter. Voter's can check their ballot status online within three to four days, according to the Washington Secretary of State's Office. 

After ballots have signatures verified, return envelopes are opened and security envelopes or sleeves are removed and passed on to a separate polling worker ensuring the secrecy of each person's vote. The ballot will then be reviewed for possible scanning errors before they are scanned and securely stored. 

On election night at 8 p.m., ballots that have already been scanned are tabulated and results are reported. 

Ballots continue to be processed, cured and tabulated until the election is certified. 

To track your ballot, voters can use the tab connected to their ballot to look up that information or visit vote.wa.gov to ensure their ballot is processed. 

Voters have until 8 p.m. on election night to drop their ballots off at one of all most 500 drop-off boxes or voting centers around Washington State. Find a ballot drop box location near you through your county elections office