I-TEAM: Here’s what happens to your ballot after you vote in Cuyahoga County

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-Team went behind the scenes to  investigate what happens to ballots mailed in and dropped off before the big election next month.

We went inside a Cuyahoga County Board of Elections warehouse to get a glimpse of what voters never see. And you may be stunned at what it takes to make sure your vote counts.

All ballots mailed or dropped off go through a very large room buzzing with machines and dozens of people.

In one area, ballot envelopes get opened. Across the room, ballots get sorted. And, in another section, employees check ID’s and birth dates and confirm ballots turned in are legit and should be counted.

The Board of Elections understands you may see all of that and want to know how nothing gets lost. Workers say you should trust the system.

“We’ve honed it down to a very effective system,” said board spokesman Mike West said. “We have checks and balances every step of the way. The machines are a big help and a tool to make things go fast. But, there’s some things we need human beings to do.”

One voter dropping off a ballot told us, “I completely care what happens to my ballot. I just asked the gentleman was he sure my ballot would be counted?”

Many of you are dropping off or mailing in ballots, and then checking online, clicking on track-my-ballot. Wondering, did it get there? You should know, it may take a couple of days to process your ballot. And after a look behind the scenes, you see why.

We also saw a worker on the phone talking to voters about problems with their ballots. For instance, maybe no signature.

The I-Team has reported, in Cuyahoga County alone, tens of thousands of ballot applications and ballots already have been rejected. The county makes calls and sends letters trying to help voters fix those problems.

Another voter dropping off a ballot told us, “I give a lot of thought about what happens to my ballot. But, I trust the system.”

Ballots with no problems are already getting scanned into computers to be counted. They won’t be added up until Election Day. But, somehow, after what one worker called “organized chaos,” those votes will be counted.

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