Election Laws & Security

ERIC
Albert Sensors
Integrity
RCW 29A
WAC Title 434

Election Laws


Election Security

Reforms to WA State Elections Since 2004

Well over 500 election law and rule changes have been made since 2004. These changes include:

  • Electronic voting devices are required to have a voter verified paper audit trail.
  • ID must be confirmed prior to vote being counted.
  • Ballot tallying equipment is certified by an independent testing lab approved by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission before it can be used in Washington State.
  • County auditors must contact voters if their ballot signature does not match the voter’s registration signature.
  • The Secretary of State identifies and removes voters who are currently under the supervision of the Department of Corrections.
  • County Auditors must account for every ballot received. This reconciliation must be presented to the county canvassing board when the election is certified and made available to the public. If there is a discrepancy, the county auditor must provide an explanation.
  • State Patrol signature verification training is required by election staff comparing ballot signatures.
  • In person disability access voting must be available 18 days before an election. The county auditor must either compare the voter’s signature or check identification before voters may use these units.
  • A random check of ballot tabulation equipment is performed upon mutual agreement of the political party observers or at the discretion of the county auditor. A manual count is compared to the tabulated results to verify the accuracy of the equipment.
  • County election procedures are reviewed by the Secretary of State. The auditor or county canvassing board must take corrective action for any problems uncovered during the review. The Secretary of State must verify that corrective action was taken.
  • Several increases in penalties for election-related fraud.

Protections Against Cyber Attacks

Washington employs the recommendations raised by security experts, and have done so for years, such as paper-based systems, including voter verifiable paper audit trails; independent testing; pre- and post-election audits; and physical security of tabulation equipment. The VoteWA system is secured by highly skilled Office of the Secretary of State IT staff and Security Operations Center, using state of the art equipment and following IT industry best practices. We have embarked on an unprecedented opportunity to work collaboratively with the Department of Homeland Security to ensure that our election systems remain secure. This partnership allows us to work together, elections and IT experts, working hand in hand to ensure our systems are secure.

Visit the Washington Secretary of State for more about election system security.

Protecting Election Integrity

Washington employs the recommendations raised by security experts, and have done so for years, such as paper based-systems, including voter verifiable paper audit trails; independent testing; pre- and post-election audits; and physical security of tabulation equipment. Before a tabulation system can be used in Washington, we require testing at a federally approved independent testing lab. These expert testers include security reviews as a part of their overall testing efforts.  Then, systems are tested here at the state level and reviewed by our own voting systems certification board, comprised of technology experts, accessibility experts, and certified county election officials. Counties must then perform acceptance testing and logic and accuracy testing prior to every election. In addition, we conduct post-election audits, where we draw precincts and races at random and compare the vote totals from the tabulator to a hand count of ballots before the election is certified.

Preventing Voting More Than Once an Election

Each voter has a single active record in the statewide voter registration database (VoteWA). When a ballot is received by the Election Division, the signature is compared to the voter’s registration and the voter’s record is marked as having returned a ballot. If the voter attempts to return an additional ballot, the system warns the election official that a ballot has already been returned.  Election workers report that information to the canvassing board, who in turn reports it to the Prosecuting Attorney if further investigation is warranted.