SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. – Spokane County Elections Office has just announced the addition of a new $42,000 motion-detecting security surveillance system.
Financed through a federal and state grant, the system was turned on in mid-October at the start of processing ballots for 2022 General Election. Cameras record access to the Spokane County Elections office, but are masked from recording any confidential voter information, such as email addresses, signatures, and votes, that might be viewed on screens or at workstations.
“Cameras ensure that only authorized access is allowed,” Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton said, noting that surveillance video is recorded, not streamed, to document access during the election. “Doors and any other access points are all monitored, 24 hours a day.”
The surveillance system was purchased with funds allocated through passage of the congressional Help America Vote Act. The Act awarded Spokane County about $398,000, which can be spent through 2024.
Spokane County Elections this year mailed out more than 358,000 ballots, which voters can sign and return (postage free) by mail or place in any of the county’s 25 secure drop box locations. Ballots are processed and tabulated at the Elections office, 1033 W. Gardner, one block north of the Spokane County courthouse.
About 140 fulltime and part-time workers this year are overseeing ballot processing, and another 212 public observers have been trained to help keep an extra set of eyes on the election process.