We vote by mail in Washington – and I miss the cookies – but my vote is still counted.

When I first started voting, I would go to the local elementary school on election day. I’d stand in a short line, get my ballot, mark it, then put it in the box. And on the way out, there would always be a big stack of homemade cookies for the voters to sample, brought by the election workers.

Since we now vote by mail in Washington, I miss the cookies. But I still feel an added sense of pride in my country every time I fill out a ballot and put it in the mail.

Lately, I read of ill-informed rumors that voting by mail might not be secure, that there might be fraud in such a system. I am writing this to try to put those rumors to rest – by providing first-hand facts instead.

As Whitman County’s prosecuting attorney, I’m one of three people who make up the county canvassing board. We oversee the ballot counting process in every election in the county. Part of that process involves examining every envelope by hand and matching signatures between envelopes and voter registrations. It is a painstaking process, but one I’m glad to be a part of.

This process has been in place in Washington state for years now, and it works. There is simply no fraud. That’s my clear view from the front-line of ballot counting. It’s also the clear view of the office of the Secretary of State, which recently released the results of a thorough statewide review. Of more than 3 million votes cast in 2018 in Washington, 142 were identified as possibly involving fraud – a rate of 0.004 percent. None was in Whitman County.

I think it’s vital that folks know these facts — so you can recognize fiction when you see or hear it. You can know that fraud plays no part in our vote by mail system and we can have faith in the results of our elections.

Please vote, knowing your vote will be counted fairly, along with everyone else’s. But I still miss the cookies.

Denis Tracy is Whitman County’s prosecuting attorney.

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