Counting mail-in ballots across the KC metro

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Posted at 6:00 AM, Oct 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-29 23:56:08-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Election boards throughout the Kansas City metro and across the country are reporting record numbers of ballots cast by mail. Now, people are asking how those votes are counted.

41 Action News checked in with the Jackson County Election Board to learn more about the tabulating process when it comes to mail-in and absentee ballots it receives.

"Those are kept securely, and we mark in our database that we have received them," Director Corey Dillon said. "Then, on Election Day, Election Day morning, we will process them. We all work really hard to make sure that we can get all those absentee envelopes opened and all of those ballots counted before the polls close at seven. That's our goal."

Although the actual tabulating process doesn't start until Election Day, most election workers take steps to make sure the ballots that come in are ready to go.

Johnson County Election Commissioner Connie Schmidt said residents are "excited to learn" about the process for counting mail-in ballots, from how they are tabulated to how they are kept secure.

"The more transparent we can be to the voters and to the candidates, the more trust we have in the whole operation," Schmidt said.

Bipartisan teams review each ballot in detail to ensure that everything matches and the envelope is signed. Once that step is complete, they're secured until it's time to tabulate.

Dillon said he wants voters to have confidence in every ballot.

"Here at the Election Board, we have 10 democrats and 10 republicans," Dillon said. "At the polls on Election Day, the election workers are equally divided. When we do processing for absentee ballots to get the ballots out to people, those are bipartisan teams. When we do the processing for the absentee ballots once they're received, those are bipartisan teams. So there are checks and balances all the way."

41 Action News is committed to providing comprehensive information on the 2020 primary and general elections with an emphasis on several key issues — the economy, the COVID-19 pandemic and race relations. Count on us to provide news and information to help you make an informed choice at the polls.