We will count every vote
By: Mary Hall

Friday, November 6, 2020

For election officials, November 3 is a big day. 
But November 24 is even bigger.  
Thats the day we will certify election results. And the election is officially over. The time between election day and certification day gives us time to make sure we've allowed voters to cure signature issues and for us to count every valid vote. 
If you're interested in watching us work all the way up to Certification, you can by tuning into our live steams here. 
There are three main reason we may tabulate a vote after November 3: 
  • Ballots post marked by November 3 are valid if they’re received up to the day of certificationMost of these late ballots are from military voters stationed overseas or young adults away at college. We send these ballots weeks before local ballots. But any ballot post marked by November 3 is valid and counted, as long as we get it by November 23. 
  • Voters can return their ballot in any drop box across the state. We receive boxes of valid Thurston County ballots from counties across the state. Especially counties with large colleges/universities. Plus we have universal registration in Washington State. This means voters can register in any county in the state and receive a ballot for the county they live in. For example, we registered a lot of Pierce County military voters on election day and issued them Pierce County ballots. 
  • Voters have the opportunity to cure signature discrepancies. We have stringent signature rules in Washington State, but we also allow people to update their signature if it changes. 
Washington law does not disenfranchise any voter because the mail was slow or their signature changed. 
We will also hold three Canvassing Board meetings after the election. These open, public meetings will be livestreamed to allow for easy access. You will be able to see the chair of the county commission,  the prosecuting attorney and myself conduct a number of important tasks: 
  • Determine the validity of provisional ballots 
  • Determine voter intent 
  • Rule on the validity of late ballots 
  • Be the final word on signature discrepancies and challenged ballots. 
You can find the canvassing board schedule here. We’ll provide more information on live streaming soon. 
Lastly, after election day we conducted a post-election audit. During the post-election audit we counted ballots from random precincts and races. We then compared the vote totals from our tabulators to a hand count of those ballots. They matched exactly. 
I want to congratulate all Thurston County voters. By any measure, this has been a historic election. But we’re not done yet. Please be patient as we continue our work. You can follow along as we get closer to certification on November 24.