“There are a lot of checks and balances that we have,” says Tommy Gong, a County Clerk Recorder for San Luis Obispo about accounting for voter ballots.
It’s a meticulous process to make sure every ballot casted is accounted for correctly. For people living in San Luis Obispo County, voting this election year, is only step one.
“My staff goes through the ballot and inspects them to make sure there are no tares or stray marks that count count as an over vote,” says Gong.
Ballots are grouped into chunks of 50, then put through a counter machine, to make sure everything going in is coming out.
The counter machine feeds to a stand alone server not connected to the internet. Then they are sealed and marked that they have been counted.
“Ballot inventory is critical for us regarding the integrity of the election,” says Gong.
Gong says there is always room for human error. Since 1999, the county has been using a reliable computer system to tabulate the votes that are coming in. They are then sent via a secured FTP site to the State.
“We are required to do a 1% sampling of the ballot casted at the polls and of the batches we counted here and therefore, we double check, we hand tally that and be sure it matches the same ballots we counted through the tabulation system,” says Gong.
As the votes get casted for the Presidential Election and races like the State Assembly, they are then reported to the State so they can compile all 58 counties and get statewide results for those particular races.
“By election night we should be ready to roll and everything has been tested for accuracy,” says Gong.
For people looking to cast their ballots, there will be extended office hours on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the county office.