With over 2 million ballots now in, Washington doubles down on election security

Oct 26, 2020, 12:07 PM
wyman election...
Washington Sec. of State Kim Wyman during a press conference. (TVW)

Washington officials gathered Monday to deliver an update on what the state is doing to strengthen its election security and snuff out efforts to spread disinformation.

Sec. of State Wyman: Never seen this level of vitriol in elections

“We want to make sure our voters have the right information so they can participate in this election,” Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman said.

Wyman detailed state and local efforts to ensure that election security is strong, and not just when it comes to warding off hacking attempts.

“Our preparedness extends way beyond cyber-security,” she noted, pointing to an incident over the weekend as proof, when a semi-truck slammed into a Mill Creek ballot box.

The box was dislodged and bent, but all ballots inside were safe and remained uncompromised. That same box was also hit by a vehicle in September, which local officials are blaming on an adjacent traffic circle that “seems difficult for trucks to navigate.”

Meanwhile, several counties have enacted more stringent security measures of their own. In Clark County, an additional firewall has been installed specifically for its election office, as well as a physical security system on all the windows and doors at the office.

“We are very sensitive to security issues and feel really confident in what we’ve done,” Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey said Monday.

Many of these efforts date back to at least 2016, with county election offices spending the last four years ensuring that ballots can be turned in and tabulated without complications.

“Washington state is ahead of the curve on many aspects,” Benton County Auditor Brenda Chilton said. “We don’t have the same general worries other states have at this point in time.”

That’s seen in how the state tabulates its results once ballots are received. Results from each of the state’s 39 counties are counted from paper ballots, and then transferred to an air-gapped machine (i.e. a computer not connected to the internet). The results are then transferred to a flash drive, which is plugged into an internet-enabled computer to transmit the final results.

King County shatters record for early ballots turned in at drop boxes

County election offices have also had to adjust for the ongoing pandemic, both in terms of how they interact with the public, and how they manage their own staffs. In Stevens County, that’s actually led to hiring more trained workers, sorting them into several teams, and then keeping those teams separated at all times.

“If one team has a positive [COVID] case, I have two or even three backup teams that can continue on,” Stevens County Auditor Lori Larsen said.

The state has already seen unprecedented levels of voter turnout, with more ballots continuing to pour in every day.

As of Saturday, over 2 million ballots had been turned in across Washington, totaling 41.7% of all voters. At that same point in 2016, 265,726 ballots had been turned in, totaling just 6.2% of the state’s registered voters at the time. The state didn’t hit that 41% benchmark in 2016 until four days before Election Day.

Local News

Echo Glen...
Dalton Day

Echo Glen youth detention center, site of recent escape, understaffed, underfunded, report says

A 2018 report indicates that employees of Echo Glen insist that the detention facility is short staffed, and that its counselors are not sufficiently trained.
24 hours ago
Washington voting...
Nick Bowman

Washington weighs significant changes to how (and when) it votes in 2022

A trio of proposals related to how Washington conducts its elections could bring dramatic voting changes to the state by the end of the legislative session.
24 hours ago
Paine Field 5G...
KIRO Newsradio Newsdesk

5G concerns, fog lead to more cancellations at Paine Field

More Alaska Airlines flights out of Paine Field were cancelled Thursday, citing issues created by the combination of 5G signals and fog.
24 hours ago
catalytic converter...
MyNorthwest Staff

Competing proposals for catalytic converter theft crackdown up for Thursday vote

Competing proposals from Democrats and Republicans to crack down on catalytic converter thefts are set for committee votes on Jan. 27.
2 days ago
Gov. Jay Inslee, long-term care tax...
MyNorthwest Staff

Gov. Inslee approves 18-month delay on long-term care tax

The Washington State Senate voted to delay implementation of the new long-term care payroll tax on Wednesday. 
2 days ago
Rideshare companies...
Nick Bowman

Rideshare companies pour millions into PAC ahead of push for Washington ballot initiative

Rideshare companies have poured over $2 million into a new PAC, in what appears to be the precursor for a Washington ballot initiative. 
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
With over 2 million ballots now in, Washington doubles down on election security