You vote and return your ballot, but what happens next? The process starts when teams of two Snohomish County elections employees retrieve ballots from the drop boxes, Secure them for transit and deliver them to the County. Upon arrival ballots are faced in trays and scanned to identify the voters who have returned ballots. Trays of scanned ballots are then staged for signature verification. The signature on the outside of the return envelope is compared to the signature from the voters record. Every signature is checked to ensure only eligible voters are casting ballots. After all signatures on the envelopes in a tray are verified the tray is secured for transfer to the next work group. Upon arrival the ballots in each tray are scanned again to ensure each ballot has made it to this next stage. Then the outer envelope is sliced open. Working in teams of two ballots still in their secrecy sleeves are removed from the signed return envelope. The return envelopes are removed from the workstation breaking the link between the voter and their ballot. Only then does staff remove the ballot from the secrecy sleeve. Next ballots are inspected and prepared for scanning. Ballots are processed on high-speed scanners capturing and storing an image of the front and back of every ballot. Scanned ballots are stored in boxes with a uniquely numbered seal and safely kept for any recounts. Votes from the ballot images are tallied no sooner than 8 p.m. on Election Night. Ballots postmarked or received by 8 p.m. on Election Day are processed and tallied for up to 20 days after election day, ensuring all properly returned ballots are counted.