What happens to a ballot from the time you leave it at an official ballot drop site and the time it is counted? Many Oregon counties have used uniformed officers to transport your votes. But Washington County has used Kiwanis club members or volunteers to transport them. Cascade Policy Institute obtained a sworn affidavit from two women who were pressed into service in May to transport ballots in the trunk of their car. They never signed for them, and when they delivered the ballots were never asked who they were. There was no chain of custody, no supervision and no assurance as to how, when or if the ballots would arrive for counting.
Following my inquires John Montoya, a Washington County official, said they are changing this in November and paying temporary workers to transport ballots. Still no chain of custody, no accountability. Montoya cited the locks on the boxes as enough security.
Washington County should follow the example of other counties and have their deputies transport the ballots. They have uniforms, guns and official cars more suitable for this type of work. I contacted the Brink’s Company, who told me they would provide the service to the county for a nominal cost, possibly less than the County is planning to pay its temporary workers. As a Washington County resident, I would feel better knowing my ballot is secure from when I turn it in to when it is counted. I would hate to think that my ballot was in the truck of someone’s car with soccer balls and muddy shoes.
© 2008, Cascade Policy Institute. All rights reserved. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided the author and Cascade Policy Institute are cited. Contact Cascade at (503) 242-0900 to arrange print or broadcast interviews on this topic. For more topics visit the QuickPoint! archive.