CLEVELAND (WJW) – Days before the November election, the FOX 8 I-Team just took a camera for a look at what voters never see.
We saw what’s happening to tens of thousands of ballots sent in by mail to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.
We found the process loud and dizzying with so many human hands involved, so many machines and so many steps in the process.
Every day, workers are picking up bins of mailed-in ballots from the post office.
From there, the ballots go through an assembly line of workers and equipment opening ballots, checking signatures and information, sorting and scanning the ballots into the system to be counted on election night.
“Our processes are safe, secure,” Board of Elections spokesman Mike West said.
We asked how he can reassure voters’ mistakes would not be made with a process that looks complicated and even a bit chaotic.
“Every step of the way we have checks and balances,” West said. “There are barcodes machines read and human beings that double check things like match the return envelope with the ballot stub. We keep track of how many ballots we give out and who we give them to.”
So, how often do those workers spot problems with ballots sent in by mail? So far, 260 times.
Most common problems involve no ID provided, an invalid ID and no signature.
It takes all this to process your vote, but consider, the Cuyahoga Board of Elections is now doing it with just one-third of the employees needed before. The County is doing more with automation and technology.
Voters we met say they have to have trust in the system.
“We have to have faith. If we do not have faith we’ve lost everything,’ Michael Hawkins said.
Cuyahoga County could process nearly 150,000 votes sent in by mail.